The Modern Footballer – Are We Too Quick To Forgive & Forget?

I remember reading about Nobby Stiles crying as he announced that he was selling his World Cup winner’s medal from 1966. To leave his sons an inheritance he was willing to give up a World Cup final medal along with the medal he got when the Babes won the European Cup in 1968. Keep that in mind whilst you consider whether today’s footballers will have to make that same sacrifice when in their golden years.

It’s not going to happen of course. Footballers today have the benefit of knowing that if they retired from playing tomorrow there are plenty of TV channels willing to pay out plenty of £’s to have an ex footballer on their show. Never mind that most of them know nothing about the game beyond having the ability to kick a ball. Those who haven’t spent all their money on escorts and cars bound for the scrap yard may even find they’re able to retire completely. Football has increasingly become a game ruled by money and some players earn more in a year than most do in a lifetime. It really is no wonder that we’re saying a goodbye to any hopes of loyalty, and a bittersweet hello to yet another aspect ruining the game.

Football fans have the uncanny ability to selectively forget or ignore any negative occasion when it involves a player on their team. Every time Manchester United play Liverpool we remind their fans that their beloved Steven Gerrard may have kissed that scary looking bird on his chest, but he still handed in a transfer request in 2005 (and supposedly another two since). He wanted a move away from his “beloved” Liverpool and onto the greener, more financially able, fields of Stamford Bridge. Liverpool fans, of course, still adore Stevie Me as if he was the second coming of Christ, although I doubt it the (supposed) son of God would punch a DJ.  John Terry never handed in a transfer request, but a couple of years ago he was in talks with his advisors about leaving Chelsea for Manchester City. Although a set of fans who boo Wayne Bridge for having the audacity to let the mother of his child sleep with a married John Terry, probably do not much care whether Mr Chelsea himself was considering the temptations of the new richest play pen.

I admit that not much surprises me when it comes to footballers. Sleeping with escorts, cheating on their wives, doing their little soft porn tapes and accusations of being rapists at times takes up more column space than the actual football news. When United signed Wayne Rooney from Everton in 2004 I was absolutely ecstatic, the new golden boy of English football and he wanted to come play for us? Yes please. He didn’t let us down either and no one can argue, however much they may hate him, that when on form he is a world class player. Of course there’s been the odd controversy, what with his (now improved) temper, sleeping with grannies and cheating on his wife whilst she was pregnant (I don’t care who you are, that’s just dirty, and not in a good way). However, we’ve always stood by him.

I was gobsmacked when Wayne handed in a transfer request in October last year. When he kissed the badge I actually thought it was because he loved the club, not because of the millions of pounds we have thrown at him over the years. With the memories of players ranging from Paul Ince to David Beckham leaving the club on less than favourable terms, I was convinced that Sir Alex wouldn’t stand for it. To be honest I was expecting him to send the boy packing to some lower league Uzbekistani side that no one had ever heard of. I was wrong of course and Fergie even defended Wayne, saying he had received some “bad advice”. I didn’t understand how Rooney could stay at United, nor could I see the fans ever forgiving him. As it turned out I was wrong, and being proven wrong makes me feel about as good as Charlie Sheen will when he finally gets off his high.

I would never boo a Manchester United player, that’s not me. I’m not spending thousands of pounds a season on travelling and tickets so I can stand there and boo someone who wears the shirt I love. Admittedly I wanted to punch Wayne Rooney out cold, but boo him, not a chance. Other fans did though. They booed him loudly, and two weeks later they were singing about the White Pele as if nothing had ever happened. I bet Colleen wasn’t that quick to forgive him. Some fans have forgiven him and moved on; some have said they can’t forgive him for disrespecting the club. If truth be told, I think perhaps I’m angrier with myself for being naïve about his loyalties more so than anything else. I will never feel the same way about him again, and it has nothing to do with him earning a new contract that could pay for even the most expensive of brothel habits. If United fans are so forgiving about Rooney’s mid season transfer request, surely they should no longer be taunting Liverpool fans about a six year old Steven Gerrard saga? Just because a player wears our badge on his chest, it doesn’t make him exempt to the way in which you judge any other player.

Now I’m trying to look at this a bit more neutral than what my feelings for Rooney are, and I still do not think he is worth the money. However, I don’t believe any player is worth a minimum salary of £160k a week, in fact I’m a big supporter of bringing back performance based pay. If the money for their expensive clothes, fancy cars and ladies of the night depended on it, would players not be more likely to put on more consistent performances? Rooney did hand in a transfer request in the middle of the season, and he did hold the club to ransom. Although he should not be booed for this, he shouldn’t be so quickly forgiven either. If everyone in his life are constantly ignoring his mistakes, how is he supposed to learn from them? It seems he could nuke a medium sized country and people would still turn up at his door begging him to sign any severed limbs that they may have found. Can you even imagine how much an ankle blown up by Wayne Rooney would go for on EBay?

Football is changing, hardly for the better, and I suppose fans should change with it. Perhaps it’s time that we accept the fact that players are only there to do a job. A majority of them don’t care if they’re doing it in England, the US of A or Saudi Arabia as long as they get paid handsomely. However, as the saying goes, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. After the big fu**ing stones we’ve been throwing around, I wouldn’t even consider walking around without big, fat construction boots.

About Steve Ferguson 886 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.


  1. Ha Ha.Footballsexrocknroll.Interesting you leave out drugs.Thats the probem we have here, when we discuss United.Its a drug the only team in Manchester, no the World.We as fans dont consider being disloyal to our Club or what the history of the Club represents.Effectively we are caught, hook line and sinker.In the keep net.To wish for our players to display the same devotion to Manchester United as fans or the likes of Ryan Giggs,Paul Scholes and as an example Darren Fletcher,Darron Gibson to all be one Club players is unrealistic.Once a Blue always a Blue,springs to mind rather easily and slips of the tongue with ease and spoken from the heart,surely.Do not get me wrong,I like the author, adored Wayne Rooney,I defended him as best as little old me could, during the skulduggery over, out of marriage activities.That was not my “buisness” to me the press and general media would do enough damage to him and his lovely family without a nobody like me giving him on a United forum more grief.
    What I could not abide or tolerate, Rooney questioning Sir Alex (That man who has devoted 25 years to United) publically contradicting “the ankle injury” double dealing on Uniteds ambitions to side with the Glazer,simply to appear like the fans voice.
    For me, I cant shout against him Rooney, in fact I personally have mellowed of recent and even have called him Wayne/Wazza on forums etc.I think I am forgetting my principles when I do this,but I believe its more important for the Club to win everything currently in our so close grasp.That for me demands I set aside vendettas and distaste towards him.Club before individual.He can go a long way to build bridges and I want him to play the part that we saw last season prior to the Bayern game in Germany,up to that point in time,he had simply been “world class”.
    On part of the topic, the wages the players earn, means not a jot to me,they operate in a world we can only dream and watch in awe and imagine what it must be like to enjoy that lifestyle and play and train to perform a “sport” we all love.My weekly wage is less than £150, I only mention that to highlight,money is not everything and happiness is not achieved with money.As I think Rooney is struggling to cope with,although has some very deviant people advising him.
    The media will do their worst to destroy Rooney as we have witnessed over the last few days,to hang him out to dry.I cant accept this from outside the United family, he is ours.We can discuss him and be balanced and fair when measuring him at United, not like “ABU’s” who just are determined to bring down the whole United machine.
    I note you say, the players when they finish at their respective Clubs, can get a job in TV! Are you meaning Robbie Savage, that vile of putrid “pundit” on ESPN.Now there is someone to easily through up over, and you would not wish to stop slapping. lol

  2. As usual a spot on article hun! Of course players nowdays are totally different from the past is not usual to find players like Ryan Giggs, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Del Piero spending their entire career in a single club, and when you find a player like this you know they doing it cos of the love for the club and the game, not for the amounts of pounds they can get! (well of course money are part of it).

    All we get from the papaers, is which players slept with or which players has been charge for this and that…As you said papaers they care more to talk about the trash stuff rather than football.

    When we signed Rooney i was over the moon, i mean we were buying the new brighest star in english football, and that game v Everton that kiss made me love him so so much! I’m ashemed to say so but i was in doubt on which shirt to buy, Giggsy or Rooney one? (please don’t slap me!!!).

    When the news came out last October, i felt betrayed by him, there’s not better place to Manchester United to win trophies, so i coulodn’t really understand why he set a reaquest to leave! Make up some extra money to pay the “miss” he slept with while his wife was pregnant? Ahhh what a bad taste that choice.

    I was angry, neither when Ronaldo left i felt so betrayed, at least i was preparared to see him go, i knew he wanted to leave , leaving a huge hole in our team.

    But still i adore him and consider Ronaldo a true United legend cos he won and made us won a lot!

    As for Rooney, personally is not about forgiving for me, is about being able to cheer up for him, supporting him while playing for us.
    When United announced he would had stay i refused to celebrate for any goal (even if was a winner) he scored.

    Im not going to forgive or forget, but i feel the need to sign his name and support the team which include him as well.

    But in the whole story its damn weird how Fergie dealed with it! it’s very unusual he let someone beheave like this.

    Having said that, respect for the lad is gone for now and i can’t deny i hope in some way he win it back.
    But players old style are not anymore, but still we lucky enough to have people like Scholes and Giggs, is going to be a a year of tears once they retires!

  3. I don’t think we are too quick to forgive and forget, but some may be too easily persuaded that such occurances in football are almost impossible. Football is a business. In the main, the manager who you adore, the player you worship, they could all leave.

    The European Cup winning striker who goes to play for that lot over the other side of the City… AND the other European Cup winning striker who used to be assistant manager for us and still made the move to the other side of the city… it all happened and it will again. The only constant, the ONLY constant, is ironically enough… the Faithful (I’m here all week). The United fan. They never leave, except for when they do and they start up a breakaway team and well….erm… Splitters!

    The problem isn’t Wayne Rooney. He possibly had his eyes on a better paypacket in a similar job, close to home where he wouldnt have to move far. He’s taken the same step before, Wayne ‘Once a blue…” Rooney is not above sniffing out a better deal. It’s how we got him from Everton in the first place, you could say. United arent above paying him their own better deal to keep him. Football is business.

    The problem is perhaps a naivety amongst United fans, especially if they never in their heart of hearts see these things coming. I wouldn’t want to knock the idealistic view out of those fans, but it may well lead to the same reactions somewhere down the road.

    I felt the same about Eric Cantona, was devastated when he flew back to France in a strop. I was happy when Ferguson talked him into coming back. Manchester United football club isnt about any one player.

  4. @Sportmonkeyx Yikes you were around when Brian Kidd played in the 68 final.You must be able to tell a story or two!
    As you say the football club is not about one player!

  5. Denis Law asked for more money and wanted to leave if he didn’t get it. Busby lied and told everyone he had put the Lawman on the transfer list.

    The truth is Busby paid the Lawman what he wanted and let everyone think he had put him on the transfer list making him look strong.

    No one has ever or will ever muck the club about more than George Best. Ruud wanted to leave after his first season at OT Robbo was desperate to leave United but for injuries and the foreign player rule it would have happened. Keane held the club to ransom to get his 100,000 a week.

    The Law man is still the true king, Robbo and Best two of our greatest ever players along with Rooney.

    I have a lot of respect for Rooney, he made a mistake, he corrected it, apologised and is carrying us on his back again. What he said was the truth we do need major rebuilding.

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