We can all remember the date: 19th October 2010. It was a Tuesday, with on and off rain in Manchester if memory serves, nothing new there then. Most Reds were still lamenting two dropped points at home to lowly West Brom the previous Saturday, when the news that the word ‘bombshell’ doesn’t even do justice to broke: ‘Wayne Rooney wanted to leave Manchester United!’
It was a truly shocking moment, like the time we signed Eric or Andy Cole, except not nearly as uplifting. I was immediately dispatched to Old Trafford by the radio station I was working for to get some reaction, the responses I received from fans ranged from disbelief to incredulity to anger and even disgust. The next few days were spent with Rooney making a statement, Sir Alex -looking somewhat shellshocked – responding to questions he seemed at a loss to fully answer and the press gleefully announcing Wazza was on his way to City.
My own time was spent deconstructing Rooney’s statement -if you fancy a read feel free HERE and tweeting h0w as long as he wore the Red shirt I’d still support him.
As we all know Rooney had cited the clubs seeming lack of ambition rather than any excessive wage demands as the reason for his reluctance to sign and the club duly restored his faith in their ambitions by giving him a bumper pay rise. Rooney then assured everyone he was happy and money obviously hadn’t been the motivating factor. Depending on who you believe Rooney’s new contact was worth anything from 175-200 thousand pounds a week. The amounts were reported on throughout every national paper and news channel and you’d have to have been comatose not to realise the United striker was now on big, big money.
My own thoughts on Rooney’s contract were -and still are- that his demands despite being high weren’t that ridiculous, after all he could feasibly get more if he did actually join City, my problem was the way he went about getting them, using silly excuses about winning trophies and making Sir Alex look actually gutted and at a loss for words at one point in a press conference, a sight I never thought I’d see nor wish to ever see again. Rooney could have said via his agent ‘if I don’t get this amount of money I’m not signing’ rather than the public elongated way he went about it.
Recently there have been reports that Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison have demanded around £30,000 a week which has been rejected by the club as being well over the £12,000 a week offer they’re willing to pay the youngsters.
Naturally most hard-working Reds are angry to see two players that have less first team appearances than Owen Hargreaves had between them have the temerity to demand such high wages. My question is this ‘did Rooney’s public transfer demands and the clubs eventual capitulation to them play a part in the youngsters expectations?’ After all, you could easily imagine their agents’ saying “look Ravel/Paul, twelve k is a lot of money, yes, but it’s still less than a tenth of what Wazza’s on. Surely you’re worth at least 20% of what he earns.”
There’s also the case of my own personal favourite Danny Welbeck, who’s reportedly asking for £60k a week, there’s a link to the story via the Mail HERE the club reportedly offering him around the £45k a week mark.
Now I’m not suggesting players should hold the club to ransom but I don’t genuinely think Welbeck can be criticised too much for asking for what is arguably a third of what his strike partner earns. Welbeck’s an established first team player who’s also a full England international so he’s right to expect big money, not ridiculous money but the sort of wages he would get if he was at Chelsea, Arsenal or any of the big foreign clubs – if he was at City he’d probably get £800,000 a day but they don’t count. When another member of his team earns around the £200,000 a week mark, then can we really call Welbeck greedy for asking for £60,00o a week?
I’ll admit a lot of these contract disputes are based on conjecture and rumour rather than hard facts, there’s no solid evidence as to exactly what has gone on behind closed doors, and today Sir Alex scotched stories that there was even a problem with Welbeck’s contract.
I may be being too harsh on Rooney and theres a good chance that even if he’d have quietly signed whatever deal was offered him, then Morrison and Pogba’s agents would still be making silly demands, but I cannot help thinking, such a public acquiescence by the Old Trafford hierarchy may have led to the younger players expecting more than they’re really entitled to.
Have I gone in off the deep end? Is it totally unfair to even mention Rooney when it comes to the younger players contract disputes? Have I made a rare valid point that deserves considering? Answers on a brick through the usual window- or comment below if you’d prefer: