After keeping the baying press packs waiting outside Old Trafford all day with the promise of a resolution to the uncertainty clouding Wayne Rooney‘s immediate future, the Manchester United hierarchy delivered an almost inevitable anticlimax at around 19:00 BST last night – releasing a fairly non-committal statement to announce that ‘no significant developments’ had been made during a morning spent negotiating with the player’s representatives .
The deflating update, posted on the club’s official website, read thusly:
“We are aware that there is intense public and media interest on the club at the moment, but there are no developments of note to report.
I can confirm a number of meetings have taken place, including with the player’s representative.
The outcome of those meetings will become clear in the near future. In the meantime, fans are asked to be patient.”
It could be construed as United attempting to gradually quell the furore that has built up around Rooney’s current state of self-imposed limbo by diluting the news over an elongated timescale, but it’s just as likely that no conclusions were forthcoming due to the player’s reportedly excessive whims and demands.
The salient truth is that anything being speculated beyond United’s admission of stalemate is just that – speculation.
A matter of hours after the release of the disarming statement, a group of 30-40 (according to police sources) balaclava-clad protesters descended on Rooney’s Cheshire mansion armed with a banner reading ‘If You Join City You’re Dead’ – which they intended to plant outside the property.
The mob was said to have been made up of members of United’s notorious ‘Men In Black’ hooligan firm, who congregated outside the property in Prestbury with the intention of voicing their barely comprehensible anger and to intimidate Rooney out of a move to bitter rivals Manchester City.
According to The Sun‘s report, the gang arrived in a convoy of cars then began to repeatedly press the player’s intercom, saying through the speaker grille that they only wanted to talk to Rooney and that they had no desire to do him any physical discourtesy – with one member apparently telling the tabloid:
“We don’t believe what Rooney said about his reasons for leaving the club. We want answers. The club is struggling for money but it was struggling for money four months ago – so what’s changed?
He has got himself in a mess in his private life and we understand if he wants to run away abroad, but the least we deserve is that he’s honest with us.
If he joins City it’s going to go off and he’ll be seeing us again. We’re not here to scare him – we’re fans, not thugs – but I can tell Wayne one thing, he wants to forget joining City.
That really wouldn’t be a good thing to do.”
The police then arrived ten minutes later and successfully dispersed the mob, leaving no offences to be disclosed – eventually leaving the scene when six members of United’s private security firm CES presented themselves.
The sudden hemorrhaging of affection toward Rooney is begrudgingly understandable given his conduct toward the club, but it hardly necessitates pseudo-militant action.
Along with the ‘who’s the whore now?’ banner that was unfurled against Bursaspor on Tuesday night (the sentiment was malicious, even if the execution wasn’t), it’s this kind of feeble, moronic tribalism which percolates within the tiny minds of your below-average football ‘fan’ that I find both reprehensible and indefensible.
I find it hard to understand how people singularly fail to disconnect with such an ultimately pointless sport.
There’s being passionate about the welfare your club (which, contrary to popular misconception, doesn’t require any violence or abuse) and then there’s common, bog-standard delinquency which is tied tenuously to any given football club in order to provide a dubious excuse for the germination of a inane, thoughtless gang mentality.
This, I’m afraid, falls into the latter catergory.
These ‘Men In Black’ (and their counterparts all over the globe) have little comprehension of what they’re fighting for but, as long as they’re fighting something, their half-witted lives are bestowed with a sense of purpose – however misplaced it may be.