Monday 25 October 2010

How not to negotiate a new contract, by Wayne Rooney

It’s been over two months since the football season began, and I haven’t written a single football blog.

I think after the World Cup, I didn’t have much enthusiasm for writing any football posts.

There’s been some big football stories recently, which I haven’t commented on, but following the stuff that’s been going on with Wayne Rooney and Man Utd this last week, I knew I had write something.

Rooney might have signed a new contract, but nobody has really come out of this with their reputations enhanced.

The whole episode has left a very sour taste in the mouth.

I've excepted over the years that football has evolved from a professional sport to a multi- billion pound industry.

There's a certain cynicism you can develop towards the game when so much money is involved but even my level of cynicism didn't prepare me for what happened last week.

When I first heard that Rooney wasn't going to sign a new contract, I dismissed it as nothing. Surely it would only be a matter of time before he signed?

I was both right and wrong. After Alex Ferguson amazing press conference where he told the media Rooney wanted to leave, it really looked as if his Old Trafford career was over.

By last Friday, just when I was really coming to terms with the fact he was leaving and wondering which club he would end up at, it was suddenly announced he'd signed a new 5 year contract.

It was as if the entire football world had been taken for idiots. I didn't like it at all. If the exercise by Rooney was simply to get a pay rise, then the way he went about it was totally wrong.

It was one of those moments where I thought, I don't really like football. I don't like what this game's become. Everything about the week's events were unsavory.

On the surface it looks like a good deal for everyone, but from Wayne Rooney's point of view the whole exercise has been a PR disaster.

To rubbish your team mates and question the ambition of one of the biggest clubs in world football was a complete miscalculation.

He's now faced with the task of winning back the support and confidence of this teammates and many of the club's fans.

I actually agree with many of Rooney's concerns over the strength of Utd's squad,but much of what was said in public should have been said in private.

The next few years will be critical in the club's recent history. The old guard of Scholes, Giggs, and Neville will all be retiring and the midfield will need to be revamped.

Utd will need a new keeper as Edwin Van Der Sar will be retiring at the end of the season and they probably need a new striker as Michael Owen isn't really the player he was.

I'm sure Ferguson knows this, but it was wrong for Rooney to hold the club to ransom by looking for a pay increase, and demanding assurances that the club would remain competitive in the transfer market.

Judging on Rooney's form for England and Man Utd in the last 9 months you could argue that's it's him that should be offering assurances that he can still perform at the highest level.

I read a great piece on Rooney last week, by the former England Rugby star Brian Moore writing in the Telegraph.

He argued Rooney may be overrated, a flat track bully, as his record in World Cups and the latter stages of the Champions League hasn't been that impressive.

Perhaps he needs to pay more attention to improving and developing his own game, rather than doubling his salary and questioning his club's ambition.

I've read so much about the rights on wrongs of Rooney's actions over the last week, many against Rooney, but some in support for him.

For me, there's a way in which you conduct yourself both personally and professionally and Rooney's conduct hasn't been right.

He may have achieved his original aim, but he's got no credibility left and lost a lot of respect from people.

This week's events have reminded me that Rooney's just another one of England's star footballers whose talent I appreciate and admire, but for whom I have very little affection or respect for.

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