Rooney: Representation and Reality
Ok, let's cut to the chase. If England are to have any chance of winning the forthcoming World Cup, we will need Wayne Rooney firing on all cylinders. While Beckham, Owen, Lampard et al, are all fine players, Rooney adds that little bit of je ne se qua to the equation.
And yet, the nation, or at least the popular press seem hell bent on his destruction.
Wayne Rooney is headline news. Rather like his United predecessor, Beckham, it would seem Rooney only has to fart to attract the attention of the rabid tabloids. However, coverage of the two men is very different. Beckham is the wide boy turned glamourpuss, Rooney still very much the wide boy.
This divergence certainly isn't founded upon tabloid writers exercising an informed assessment of the duos varying characters. No, the real reason is the fact tabloid editors encourage their writers to express themselves in straight lines. Elaboration and over-complication are the strictly forbidden tools of the nancy-boy set. When I was working at the now defunct 'Sportfirst' weekly, my editor stormed into the office one evening to object to my use of the word 'superfluous'. If I may quote his rant in full:
"F****** superfluous!!!!! I'll show you f****** superfluous, you f****** superfluous twat!!!!!Do you really think Barry, Gary and Kevin know what the f*** superfluous means!?!"
I'm sure you get the message. Anyway, the point of this particular elaboration, is to illustrate that such journalists are prone to paint a simple picture. After all, why bother analysing Rooney's character, when your editor/ readership would prefer him to be cast as little more stereotypical pantomime villain.
Now, even I, the most ardent of Reds, can't deny that this representation has some basis in reality. Rooney certainly is a very hot-headed young chap. His overwhelming competitive spirit drives him to acts, which, outside the context of competitive sport, can only be regarded as thuggish. However, I've seen much worse and I'd say there are dozens currently plying their trade in the Premiership, who'd have Rooney for breakfast.
Answer this question: How many times has Wayne Rooney been sent off this season? I'll tell you at the end of the post.
Back to the post: How does this representation affect Rooney? The clash between Rooney and Tal Ben Haim, the Bolton Wanderers player: Rooney’s intemperate hand-off, Ben Haim’s melodramatic reaction, provides a case in point. Rooney received a three match ban for what was little more than a trivial incident. In fact, in my opinion, Haim's crime was morally graver. The travesty of it all so moved me, that several weeks later, I even managed to alienate myself from my fellow Man Unt fans down the local, when, upon witnessing Drogba grab Fortune by the throat, Immediately and repeatedly shouted: "Three match ban, three match ban!!!"
Before I launch into a tirade about the injustices served out to United, (unless you have hours to spare, don't ever mention the Ferdinand fiasco in my presence), I wish to conclude by imploring all sensible people to get behind Rooney and ignore the tabloid tosh. He is, after all, our only hope.
P.S. Rooney hasn't been sent off this season.