While Rooney was pondering the fall-out from several hours of high-level talks at Old Trafford, a 40-strong group of United supporters, many wearing balaclavas and hooded tops, had travelled to his home in Prestbury, Cheshire to warn him off any move to Manchester City. Witnesses reported a gathering outside his house, with a banner reading "If you join City you're dead".If he wants to leave then let him bloody leave. The team is larger than one player, even though that player is engaging in an act of utter betrayal.
Yesterday, I thought Ferguson would dismiss him very quickly, but the noises coming from Old Trafford suggest that I have got this wrong.
The club's chief executive, David Gill, spoke to Stretford to reiterate Sir Alex Ferguson's belief that the player could be on the verge of making the biggest mistake of his professional life.
City are willing to pay Rooney £260,000 a week, which would make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League, but there is a desire among senior figures at Old Trafford to keep him. The fact he was not transfer-listed today suggests at least that there are attempts behind the scenes to resolve the matter. Gill had an hour-long meeting with Ferguson at lunchtime and spoke to the club's owners, the Glazer family, by telephone.
Rooney's position had begun to look untenable when he released a statement on Wednesday confirming that he wanted to leave Old Trafford, citing a concern that the club were in danger of stagnating at a time when they no longer appear to be in a position to sign the more expensive players on the market.
Ferguson had responded by saying his priority was to "put it to bed" today.Normally, Ferguson would have fired him by now. It's an indication of Rooney's importance that there are obviously still attempts being made to keep him, despite his derogatory press statement.
But, important as he is to Manchester United's plans, there really is no need for gangs of thugs to descend on to his doorstep.
Now he's shocked everyone by suddenly signing a new five year deal.
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