Wayne Rooney's statement, which is about as odious a thing as I have ever read, should see his career at Old Trafford brought to a shuddering close.
In it, he implies that his decision to consider moving to Manchester City is not simply a financial one but, rather, brought about by his fears that the club lack the ambition which he has, and that it is unable to attract the kind of big stars he feels should play around him.
He is attempting to disguise his avarice and rampant greed as, somehow, a nobler thing. To suggest that he is not merely being tempted by financial reward, but that he is being forced to leave one of the world's most successful football clubs because it lacks the ambition which he possesses. It's an insult to the entire team he plays with.
He then states, "for me it's all about winning trophies", and he says this as he proposes moving to club which has won far, far, fewer trophies than the club he is leaving. And yet, he wants us to believe that this is not merely about financial rewards.
Alex Ferguson is to hold a meeting this morning in response to Rooney's disgraceful and insulting press statement.
"Have I won 30 trophies or what?" the manager said. "I have every confidence in the future of this club.Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in British football's history and yet he is now being asked to justify his ambition to a 24 year old wanting to leave the club for money, and seeking to present his avarice as a noble cause as he does so.
If money is what matters most to Mr Rooney, then he should just say so. What makes this repellent is that he seeks to insult his team mates as he makes for the door, implying that it is not financial reward that propels him to do what he is doing, but a desire for trophies which his team mates, somehow, lack.
Ferguson has hinted that Rooney's days at Old Trafford are nearing an end.
"The important thing is that we put it to bed," Ferguson said. "We have a meeting at 10am when we will assess the whole situation. David has already spoken to the owners, which is important. We don't want this carrying on. We don't want a saga and we don't want it becoming more important than the team. It could affect morale. If we carry on with one individual dominating the headlines and our thoughts we would not be doing our job."And, of course, Rooney is ignoring the fact that there was once a day when his own potential was doubted by some.
The manager was particularly aggrieved by the suggestion that his younger players might not be up to United's standard. "That's the trouble with potential. People don't identify potential – they're very poor at it – whereas I've identified it all my life. Others don't. I had a player once who said to me Rooney and Ronaldo weren't good enough and he was not prepared to wait until they were good enough."But, of course, we are going down Rooney's side road to even pretend that this is about the potential of his team mates. This is about the fact that Manchester City are prepared to offer him £260,000 a week. He would like us to believe that this is the last thing on his mind. Only a fool would believe him.
Ferguson's annoyance at the way this is becoming all anybody will want to talk about is evident here.
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