Full Time

So, farewell then Wayne.

This is not intended to be the outporings of a bitter Man United fan, and it’s not like it’s a sudden realisation either, but the current furore about Waybe Rooney’s decision to leave United kind of sums up what’s happened to football since the mid 1990s. Rooney has released a statement today following Sir Alex Ferguson’s press conference yesterday, explaining that the reason he wants to quit the club is due the lack of assurances he got from the manager in August about United signing the top players. Wayne wants to win more trophies, he says, and moving to a richer club who can afford to buy the best players in thre world is the way to do that. United fans (and I’ve been attending matches at Old Trafford since United v Brighton in 1982) can’t be too upset though can they? He’s only doing to us what he did to his boyhood team Everton six years ago.

Obviously for United fans this is a bit of a shock. Some might say that’s pretty rich, and some might say it’s well deserved, it couldn’t happen to a nicer club etc etc, and there’s no doubt that United have done well out of all the money that’s been sloshing around football over the last fifteen years. United expanded the ground due to winning trophies in the 90s, benefitted from huge TV money income and selling shirts to muppets home and abroad. On the other hand it takes a bit of getting used to- although we’ve spent massive amounts of money on players (Ferdinand and Berbatov to name but two) we’ve also had more than our fair share of successes in bringing players through from youth level, and for a while a good few local lads. The fact that three of them are still turning out regularly over fifteen years later, one-club men, is the exception rather than the rule- but it still made some United fans think there was a little bit more to the club than just the nine year old boy/top trump/tabloid newspaper/Sky TV/transfer market/fantasy football model which is what the whole thing has turned into. I’m not going to sit here and say that Chelsea or City are to blame either. They’re just symptoms of the way the game has changed. In a world where there are no rules, no regulations, how a club gets it’s money doesn’t really matter does it? If football was any other industry, almost every club in the country would be bankrupt and forced to cease trading.

Sky and the Premeir League together with almighty The Champions League, have created this beast, and players’ agents now spend their entire time whispering in their clients’ ears about the money they can make by moving. So we’ve got Super Sunday and Judgement Day every weekend and the same clubs playing each other in mid-week European matches evry season, and the same clubs winning every trophy at home. Maybe City will break it up. Maybe Liverpool’s foreign owners have stuffed them. Maybe the Glazer’s will stuff United. I’m not sure I care too much anymore.

Equally I know that clubs have always bought and sold players, but there seemed to be less of it, no 24 hour rolling news with rumours to fill it with, fewer agents and hangers-on, the players weren’t multi-millionaires at the age of 22, and the transfer fees were far, far smaller. It seemed a little less obscene. More players made it from local youth teams, more time was spent building a side, and the whole thing seemed less mercenary. Maybe that’s just naivete on my part though.

As I said I don’t intend this as a bitter Red rant, (I’m not bitter, honest) and I don’t want to come out with a load of the internet comment board style rubbish I’ve seen over the last two days, but modern football has precious little that feeds the soul in any way, and this episode is just another nail in the coffin.

Song choice- The Smiths’ Money Changes Everything, featuring the wonderful guitar work of Johnny Marr (who’s a City fan in case you’re wondering. Nice touch eh?).

money changes everything.mp3#1#1