Month October 2010

Month October 2010

Reds edge past Wolves to reach Carling quarters

October 26, 2010 Tags: , Matches 27 comments

Sir Alex Ferguson’s reserves scraped past Wolverhampton Wanderers to reach the Carling Cup quarter-final. Javier Hernández scored a 90th minute winner as United overcame the spirited Midlanders for the second season in a row, with Park Ji-Sung and full-debutant Bébé earlier twice giving United the lead at Old Trafford.

The second period was as entertaining as the first dull, as United edged the best of five goals scored after the break. Ferguson’s side twice took the lead only for the visitors to peg the home side back, with the Reds once again careless at the back.

It almost cost United a place in the next round but with plenty of youngsters featuring Ferguson will feel positive about the Reds’ work on the night.

“It was a very open game in the second half and both teams played really well. It was a really good cup tie in the second half,” said Ferguson, who also praised United’s match-winner Hernández.

“We tend to build up heroes very quickly here but the boy is justifying the praise he’s getting at the moment.

“He’s first in and last out at training and his goal scoring is impressive.

“His touch and control of the ball is improving and his vision is improving too. That’s because the training is intense and we make sure players do improve.”

Ferguson offered a number of younger players the chance to impress, with Gabriel Obertan, Bébé and Federico Macheda spearheading United’s youthful attack. In goal 20-year-old Ben Amos made only his second start for the firs team ahead of the more experienced Tomasz Kuszczak.

Yet, the morgue-like atmosphere at Old Trafford was matched by a flat opening half, with only Macheda’s curling shot forcing a save from Wayne Hennessey in the visitors’ goal.

Indeed, Ferguson must have been disappointed with the penetration and urgency of his team save for Bébé on United’s right-flank. The £7.4 million forward showed glimpses of the pace and skill that persuaded United to spend lavishly on a player Ferguson has not previously seen in action.

But precious little else provided entertainment for the sparse – officially announced – 46,083 Old Trafford crowd. In truth far fewer appeared to turn up, with East second tier and North third completely shut on the night.

Ferguson’s side started the second period much as it finished the first, although Carrick’s long-range effort and Macheda’s curling shot at least threatened the visitors’ goal.

Park, largely disappointing during the first half, should have scored but shot straight at Hennessey when through on goal.

Bébé again looked the most progressive of United’s attacking quartet, forcing the free-kick from which Darron Gibson lashed a 30-yard effort straight at Hennessey.

Indeed, it was the Portuguese who forced the opening goal, beating Steven Mouyokolo for pace on the right before the winger’s angled shot deflected up and over Hennessey and just over the line.

If that should have been the catalyst for Ferguson’s young side to win the match, then inexperience told as Wolves’ corner was headed home by George Elokobi minutes later, with Amos failing to deal with the centre.

United almost regained the lead as Bébé centred for Macheda, who shot high on the half volley. The Italian wasted the opportunity as chances flowed in a far more entertaining second period.

United finally reclaimed the lead as Park exchanges passes with Macheda and stroked home from 15 yards. It was a rare moment of end-product from the South Korean in an otherwise horrendous season for the 29-year-old midfielder.

But United has made a habit of losing leads this season and Darron Gibson dwelt on the bal in his own half, enabling Ebankes-Blake to work an opening for right-back Kevin Foley to score through Jonny Evans legs and beyond Amos.

Twice Obertan could have given United a decisive lead with minutes to go, first failing to convert substitute Hernández’ cross and then firing over when a pass might have been the better option.

Then the winner, with Hernández starting and wonderfully finishing a flowing United move. The Mexican turned from right to left and finished past Hennessey in the final minute.

Cruel on Wolves perhaps but a mark of quality from the young Mexican.

“It was a good game all round. We did really well considering the players we played. Some of them hadn’t played in a while,” added Wes Brown.

“We thought we’d won it when we got the second goal with five or six minutes to go. Chichi got us the goal in the end. We want to win this competition for a third time.

“There were a lot of young players there and they’ve got a lot to prove for the future.”

One of those players, Hernández, has become an instant Old Trafford hero.

Match Facts

United – 4411 – Amos; Brown, Smalling, Evans, Fabio (Neville 74); Bebe (Hernández 81), Carrick, Gibson, Park (Morrison 90+5); Obertan; Macheda.

Wolves – 442 – Hennessey; Elokobi, Berra, Mancienne, Mouyokolo, Foley; Hunt, Jones, Jarvis (Doyle 85); Ebanks-Blake (Bent 80), Fletcher.

Attendance – 46,083
Man of the Match – Bébé

Possession: United 53% – 47% Wolves
Attempts: 17 – 15
On target: 10 – 7
Corners: 4 – 6
Fouls: 12 – 6

Fergie’s fringe takes up Carling challenge

October 26, 2010 Tags: , Matches 141 comments

Michael Owen will start as Manchester United’s fringe players take up the challenge of winning a third Carling Cup in a row at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side faces Wolverhampton Wanderers in the competition for the second year running. Danny Welbeck’s goal handed United victory in last year’s third round.

Owen has largely been ignored this season amid Javier Hernandez rise at the club and Dimitar Berbatov’s excellent goalscoring form. But the 30-year-old, who is out of contract in June, scored twice as Ferguson’s side beat Scunthorpe United in round two last month.

The former Liverpool player failed to make the bench for United’s victory over Stoke City at the weekend but has scored seven goals in his last nine appearances in the Carling Cup.

Although the temptation to retain two-goal Hernandez is strong, the in-form Mexican is more likely to feature against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.

Owen could partner Italian teenager Federico Macheda in attack, while Bébé is set for a first start for the club following a surprise £7.4 million summer transfer. The Portuguese Under-21 international has made just two substitute appearances for the club to date.

Meanwhile, French winger Gabriel Obertan, Anderson and Darron Gibson could all feature in the Reds’ midfield as United seek a third final in a row.

Perhaps the most exciting proposition among United’s younger players is Ravel Morrison, who has been handed a squad number a may play tonight. The 17-year-old, dubbed one of the most talented players of his generation in some media quarters, is able to perform in a variety of midfield and forward positions.

However, the player’s progress is threatened by off-the-field issues, including an arrest amid newspaper allegations of involvement with illegal drugs and firearms.

Although Ferguson will continue the now long-held policy of fielding principally fringe players until the semi-final, the Carling Cup represents a realistic chance of silverware this season with other leading clubs also fielding weaker sides. Indeed, with Chelsea favourites to retain the Premier League and United probably short of the quality to challenge in Europe, the Carling Cup is arguably more important to United than ever.

Meanwhile, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy may also rotate his resources, although not necessarily resorting to the 10 changes he made in last season’s Premier League fixture at Old Trafford. The Irishman made a calculated gamble on his squad’s freshness. It was a decision that helped the Midlanders retain a place in the Premier League last season. The ridiculous £25,000 fine handed out by the Premier League is now made a complete mockery by the 25-man squad system introduced this season.

McCarthey’s men, who lost to Chelsea at the weekend, face United twice, Manchester City and Arsenal in a daunting series of fixtures over the next fortnight. It makes a Carling Cup run all-the-more important, says McCarthy.

“At this moment in time, wouldn’t it be great for us to have a cup run?” said the affable McCarthy.

“Everyone knows about the games we’ve got. We’ve just been beaten by Chelsea, we’ve got Man United in the cup, (Manchester) City in the league, United in the league then Arsenal in the league.

“So wouldn’t it be great to have a victory of any sorts amongst all of those? And if it’s going to be in the Carling Cup, let’s have it.”

It will take a monumental effort, despite United’s fringe squad, as Wolves have not won at Old Trafford in 30 years.

Wolves – 4-4-2 – Hennessey; Stearman, Mancienne, Mouyokolo, Elokobi; Foley, Jones, Milijaš, Hunt; Ebanks-Blake, Bent.

Subs from: Van Damme, Edwards, Craddock, Henry, Fletcher, Ward, Hunt, Jones, Berra, Jarvis, Zubar, Mujangi Bia, Doyle, Foley, Guedioura,

United squad
Kuszczak, Amos, Smalling, Evra, O’Shea, Rafael, Fábio, Brown, Anderson, Carrick, Gibson, Hernández, Macheda, Hargreaves, Owen, Park, Eikrem, Dudgeon, Gill, Morrison, Brady, Bébé, Obertan.

Referee: L S Mason
Assistant referees: A I Halliday & S Burt
Fourth official: P T Crossley

United – WWDWDW
Wolves – LWLLDL

Rant Cast 44 – special: Rooney signs!

October 25, 2010 Tags: Rant Cast 14 comments

In this special episode of Rant Cast regulars Ed & Paul eat humble pie as Wayne Rooney signs a new £10 million-a-year contract with Manchester United. We ponder why the ‘White Pele’ signed, talked summer transfers and discuss the bitter taste that is left in the mouth by the saga. The pod also looks back on United’s victory over Stoke City.

Stream this episode of the podcast using the player below or click here to download the podcast (right click & save as).

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Little Pea strikes to give Rooney food for thought

October 24, 2010 Tags: , Matches 36 comments

Relief came at the Britannia but this time it had nothing to do with Wayne Rooney’s ladies of the night. Instead, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side won away from home in the Premier League for the first time this season, breaking a sequence of three successive league draws. Javier Hernandez scored twice, including a late winner, after a week of very public turmoil.

On this evidence Rooney’s biggest challenge may not be regaining the trust of his manager, colleagues and the fans but getting back into the United side. Hernandez’ brilliant double – the first an outrageous back-header, the second a late poacher’s strike – takes the Mexican’s tally to five in five starts this season.

Yet United so nearly threw three points away again, following Sanil Tuncay’s superb 82nd minute equaliser. United, so dominant in the first half, was again careless in letting a lead slip, although the midfield’s now routine wastefulness in possession was evident.

This time, much to Ferguson’s delight, Chicharito came up with the end-product that Rooney has so often lacked this season.

“We got careless with possession,” the United boss told Sky Sports.

“They never gave in and that’s a quality this club has had for many years now.”

“He’s [Hernandez] got a great attitude to the game, he’s got a wonderful demeanour about life and wonderful manners. He speaks the language well, trains really well and he’s coming on great.”

Rooney may have been the central figure in the past week’s drama but the 24-year-old will miss the next four matches with a Paul Scholes-induced ankle injury. It mattered little as United began with Dimitar Berbatov and Hernández in attack. The pair nearly created United’s opening chance, with the Mexican heading back and across the Stoke box with Berbatov unable to latch on to his partner’s centre.

United was ahead inside half an hour though, as Nani and Patrice Evra worked a short corner, with the Portuguese’s cross headed home with the back of his head by Hernández. Brilliant, instinctive and memorable; in the Little Pea, Ferguson may well have pulled off the transfer coup of the summer.

But United ended the half fortunate to retain a full compliment after Gary Neville, on his 600th appearance for the club, espcaped a second yellow. The veteran defender was unlucky to pick up a first caution for a foul on Matthew Etherington, but only good fortune prevented a second for a wild tackle on the Stoke winger.

Tony Pullis naturally focused on the incident in the post-match media round, although the Stoke manager failed to bring up the cast-iron penalty referee Andre Marriner failed to award United for Rory Delap’s crude barge on Evra in the second period.

As the game descended to Stoke’s level in the second period, Pullis’ side clawed its way back into the game. United’s passing and composure faded badly – the third Premier League game in a row that United’s midfield has been culpable.

With the vociferous Britannia support urging its side forward, substitute Tuncay cut inside John O’Shea and smashed a wonderful left-foot drive into Edwin van der Sar’s top corner with 10 minutes to go.

With minutes to go Hernández volley just inches wide as United chased a seemingly unlikely winner. This time, however, United didn’t capitulate and with four minutes to go Hernández stabbed home Evra’s shot from six yards out.

Relief at last; an away win at last.

“We were very happy with the result. We know about Stoke’s style and are delighted,” Hernández told Sky Sports.

“I’m working a lot because I want to stay here a long time and win a lot of tournaments.”

“I jumped and saw the ball behind me and tried to head it towards the goal. I don’t remember doing it in training. It’s a good goal but the most important thing is the result.

“Here there are no heroes, it is about the team. My team-mates trust in me and all the staff too. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for me to play with the biggest team in the world.”

Messy the performance may have been but any result at Stoke is truly a team effort. In that, Rooney should take note.

Match facts
United – 442 – Van der Sar; Neville (Brown 46), Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, O’Shea (Carrick 70); Nani, Scholes (Obertan 87), Fletcher; Berbatov, Hernández.

Stoke – 442 – Sorensen; Huth, Collins (Higginbotham 57), Shawcross, Faye; Wilson, Pennant (Gudjohnsen 78), Delap, Etherington; Jones, Walters (Sanli 66).

Attendance: 27,372
Man-of-the-match: Hernández

Possession: Stoke 47% – 53% United
Attempts: 6 – 12
On target: 2 – 5
Corners: 5 – 6
Fouls: 6 – 13

Ferguson stokes fires ahead of Potters clash

October 23, 2010 Tags: , Matches 63 comments

Sir Alex Ferguson says that keeping Wayne Rooney will kick-start Manchester United’s season after five draws in the first eight Premier League fixtures this season. The United manager is without Rooney for the trip to Stoke City on Sunday but says that his side will now begin chasing Chelsea in earnest, with the Londoners eight points ahead.

Rooney will miss the next three weeks, possibly returning for the Manchester derby on 10 November, so Ferguson is likely to persist with Dimitar Berbatov as a lone striker at the Britannia. Javier Hernández is in contention, although the smart money is on the Mexican starting on the bench against the tough-tackling Midlanders.

Although Rooney questioned United’s “ambition” this week, Ferguson ordered the player to apologise to his team-mates as the Scot attempts to repair his fractured squad.

“We have to start making up ground quickly,” Ferguson admitted.

“We can only do that with everyone on board. With no one jumping ship then we can see the real Manchester United.

“It has been a turbulent few days, we have important issues ahead, starting with Stoke City on Sunday.

“We have been hurt by events but Wayne has apologised to me and the players. He will do so with the supporters too.

“I always feel it is a quality in a person when they say they are sorry and realise they have made a mistake.”

Rooney reportedly clashed with Ferguson over United’s midfield this week, lambasting the manager over his failure to capture Rafael van der Vaart ahead of Tottenham Hotspur.

It’s a mistake Ferguson may yet rectify in the coming window by adding to United’s creative options in midfield. For now Paul Scholes will return despite United being over-run by Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion recently.

Chalkboard v StokeOne of Michael Carrick, Darron Gibson, and Anderson will join Scholes and Darren Fletcher in United’s engine room. Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen and Jonny Evans miss out through injury.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the spin over the past seven days Ferguson faces one of the most difficult challenges of his managerial career. With fans and players angered by Rooney’s actions, Ferguson must now rally his troops for one of United’s most demanding away fixtures of the season.

But Full-back Patrice Evra, who suggested Rooney should no longer be picked if he cannot trust his team-mates, is confident United will turn a corner in the coming weeks.

“Anyone can talk about Manchester United, but nobody has beaten us. The problem is just Manchester United because no team has played better than us,” said the Frenchman, who has begun the season quietly.

“People may think I am crazy to say that, but it is true. We have played many games and been 2-0 up and then drawn or made things difficult. The problem is just us because when we defend like we can, we show we are a strong team.

“No-one can tell me we have played badly against anyone. I believe that. I think we are playing well. We are just doing some silly mistakes. That is the true problem.”

“We can be the Manchester United everyone wants to see.”

While defensive errors have contributed to United’s problems, the ‘real Manchester United’, the team that attacks with pace and verve, has largely been held in reserve save for Berbatov’s brilliance against Liverpool and Nani’s newly found consistency.

Indeed, it’s hard to see where that might come from against Stoke, with Tony Pullis’ men expert at breaking up the opposition play, although United has claimed victories in five of the last seven league games at the Britannia. Indeed, the Potters’ last league win against United was on Boxing Day 1984.

Still, with “nobody jumping ship” the trip represents a real opportunity to demonstrate a newly united front.

Stoke, meanwhile, will welcome back striker Ricardo Fuller, despite the striker aggravating a shoulder injury at Bolton Wanderers. Midfielder Dean Whitehead is banned.

Stoke (4-5-1): Sorensen; Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins; Pennant, Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Walters; Jones. Subs from: Begovic, Higginbotham, Wilson, Wilkinson, Fuller, Gudjohnsen, Whelan.

United squad
Van der Sar, Kuszczak, Amos, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, O’Shea, Rafael, Fabio, Brown, Anderson, Nani, Carrick, Gibson, Fletcher, Hernández, Berbatov, Macheda.

Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistant referees: Mike Cairns & Martin Yerby
Fourth official: Mike Jones

Stoke – WDWWWL
United – WWDWDW

Hate Rooney if you want, just hate the Glazers more

October 23, 2010 Tags: , Opinion 37 comments

Wayne Rooney’s infidelity in the past week – no, not the one with the £1,200-a-night hooker – may be forgiven the next time the 24-year-old striker scores but it will not come easy to Manchester United’s supporters. Rooney’s hardball tactics won an offensively lavish new contract but it came at the expense of the striker’s reputation and credibility.

In truth Rooney can never truly regain the respect and love United fans have shown the Scouser in six years at Old Trafford. This autumn’s events have damaged the relationship between player and fan and no amount of goals – or indeed badge kissing – will change the fact Rooney willingly courted a transfer to Manchester City for the past four months until United came up with a contract offer large enough.

Love, they say is blind, but then so is the hurt caused when somebody you love betrays you. Emotive words perhaps but then there is nothing rational about fandom. Rationally, there’s nothing wrong with an employee seeking the best deal possible, especially in a career which is short but there’s that irrationality of football fandom again.

After all, the mess of the past week is almost entirely the fault of Rooney and his agent. History and reputation dictates that fans should blame Paul Stretford but Rooney put his name to the negotiating tactics employed by the former vacuum cleaner salesman.

Rooney has shown disrespect to his manager, players, fans and the club and its entirely unacceptable. The apology, which Sir Alex Ferguson promised is forthcoming, should be forthright and totally unconditional.

However, Rooney’s antics did at least highlight once again the mess that is the Glazer ownership, even if some supporters would rather sell their souls to the devil than admit the damage the American carpetbaggers have done to a 125-year-old institution.

Rooney lost the public relations battle because Ferguson superbly tugged on the fans’ heart strings, painting Rooney as a greedy mercenary; the scourge of the modern game. But, objectively, Rooney is right that United has lacked the ‘ambition’ – read money – to compete with Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona over the past five years. The black and white facts show that the club has spent less in the transfer market and pays less in wages than the aforementioned quartet.

Under-spending will factor into the club’s success – in fact United is successful despite the economics of the club in recent years.

The cynic might suggest short-term spending to placate the protest movement is likely. In truth the heavy spending next summer predicted by many media outlets only pushes back financial problems to another date. Unless Payment-in-Kind (PIK) debt is paid down or bond debt bought back, United will need to pay back, directly or via its parent company, £1.1 billion in 2017. There’s no getting around that stark truth.

More realistically United must refinance in the medium term, with the Glazer family showing no desire to deleverage soon, if ever. In the short-term player sales are inevitable if the family is to enable Ferguson to freshen up the squad while paying down PIK debt.

Indeed, it would be no surprise if Rooney moved on late next summer, with the close season providing shelter for the Glazer family from protest and the damaging financial effect of further season ticket boycotts. Some critics believe that the next three years represent Rooney’s best years in any case. That off-the-field distractions and the player’s lifestyle will lead to an early peak and inevitable decline.

In that scenario United’s best strategy might be to sweat the asset for all its worth now and then sell Rooney to the highest bidder before 2013. Cynical perhaps but then that is the very same game Rooney has played with the club in the past week. Finances might dictate it happens sooner.

Perhaps the best estimate: United will spend around £60 million in the summer 2011 transfer window on a replacement goalkeeper and an experienced central midfielder, plus perhaps one or two younger squad players. This budget will include player sales: Michael Carrick, Wes Brown, Park Ji-Sung, Tomasz Kuszczak and hopefully Darron Gibson.

It is not spending comparable to United’s place in the world but it will placate those fans happy to be bought off by spin and some shiny new players.

Fundamentally, the economics of spending more do not stack up. That PIK debt is growing by the day is beyond doubt; the only calculation the Glazers will make is what spending is required to keep United in the top four and ensure supporters sign on the dotted line when season ticket renewal comes round next summer.

In that regard Rooney’s signature is a welcome relief for the Glazer regime, backed to the hilt by Ferguson. Fans though must look beyond the superficial and remember the long-term problems ahead.

Read United Rant and other bloggers on Rooney at the Republik of Mancunia.

Rant Cast 43 – sex, lies and Wayne Rooney’s contract

October 22, 2010 Tags: Rant Cast 26 comments

In this episode of Rant Cast – recorded before Wayne Rooney signed his new contract today – regulars Ed & Paul talk about the ongoing saga: is it a case of player greed gone mad or the Glazers’ poor investment in the first team squad? What are the morals of demanding £250,000 a week to play with a pig’s bladder?

We also review the West Bromwich Albion and Bursaspor matches this week, and look forward to this weekend’s tough fixture against Stoke City at the Britannia.

Stream this episode of the podcast using the player below or click here to download the podcast (right click & save as).

We welcome your input – send all feedback to or comment below.

Follow Rant Cast on Twitter @UtdRantCast

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Obertan: the forgotten man

October 22, 2010 Tags: Opinion 36 comments

When Gabriel Obertan signed for Manchester United, little was known about the graduate of the prestigious Clairefontaine academy. Injury held the player back initially before a dash for the first team came last October. But generally since the player’s £3.5 million transfer from Girondins de Bordeaux at Old Trafford, little has been seen of the 21-year-old.

Turning 22 next February, it is an important time in the French under 21 international’s career. Like Federico Macheda and many others at the club, Obertan must now translate promise into reality if he is to win a long-term future at Old Trafford.

It should be the perfect time for Obertan to break into Sir Alex Ferguson’s team. The deeply unfortunate injury suffered by Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia against Rangers last month opened up a spot in Ferguson’s team. Fast-forward a month and there have still been no significant outings for the Frenchman save for a substitute appearance against Bursaspor this week.

After all Obertan’s competition is mixed at best. An ageing Ryan Giggs has been in and out of the United side with injuries, and even a fully fit Welshan cannot be expected to play more than a game a week.

South Korean Ji-Sung Park remains about as effective as England World Cup 2010 campaign. Park is lost, a man of whom much is expected but has proven undeniably useless when United’s need for creativity is most apparent this season. Park’s transformation from the player most-often seen in United’s crucial fixtures to desperately giving away the ball this season is stark.

Obertan is surely next in line but either Ferguson appears to have changed his mind on his acquisition, or he is biding his time and will introduce the Frenchman when he has no more cards to play.

After overcoming a back injury last season, Obertan has become a regular fixture for the reserve team. Playing either upfront or as a winger, the 21-year-old offers pace and dribbling ability. But despite featuring in the Carling Cup time against Scunthorpe United in September, he was immediately called back to play for the reserves.

Such a rapid demotion to the stiffs suggests Obertan is further away from the true first team picture than ever.

Obertan’s last memorable outing for the first team came during last season’s Champions League away trip to Wolfsburg, where he superbly set up Michael Owen to regain as United regained the lead.

The other memorable occasion for Obertan last season was an utterly appalling performance in the home FA Cup Third Round defeat to Leeds United. Obertan was not alone in performing badly but displayed all the traits that are worst in the youngster – his end product is poor, even when the winger beats a man he frequently loses the ball.

United fans can only hope that Obertan’s performance in Germany translates promise into a future reality.

Rather more ominously his former coach and former United player Laurent Blanc warned that United may fail with Obertan where others have already dared to tread.

“Manchester United have been tracking him for a long time,” said Blanc last August.

“They certainly hope to advance him, something that Bordeaux and Lorient have failed to do.”

One thing is certain, despite the inconsistencies of Obertan’s performances the winger must get a chance in the coming weeks or he will stagnate.

United’s stock of wingers remains depleted. Save for a miraculous resurgence in Park or the now infamous Bébé makes a meteoric rise in the coming weeks, it seems that Anderson and Darron Gibson may be utilised on the flanks more.

It’s not a picture that Obertan can welcome.

Picture special: fans protest against Rooney

October 22, 2010 Tags: Shorts 18 comments

Manchester United fans are a passionate bunch but nothing riles quite like a star player demanding a move out of Old Trafford. Since stories broke last weekend of Wayne Roone’s decision to reject United’s offer of a new contract, the PR battle has ebbed and flowed but the fans seem to have chosen only one side.

United supporters held up banners at the recent Champions League match versus Bursaspor at Old Trafford. One asked ‘Who’s the whore now, Wayne?’ while another said ‘Coleen forgave you, but we won’t’.

Rooney whore

Around 20 United supporters – dubbed the Men in Black – visited Rooney’s Wilmslow mansion last night. The fans, carrying a banner that warned “Join City and You’re Dead”, spoke to Rooney before the United striker called the police. The protest dispersed without arrests.

Men in Black

This Manchester city centre Nike advert was defaced with another stern warning for Rooney, who is believed to be considering a £260,000 per week offer from cross-town rivals City.

Rooney Nike Advert

Recalling the terrace plea from a small child for United to buy Rooney in 2004, one Twitter user had a novel message for Sir Alex Ferguson this week.

Lifetime United fan Paul Scholes had a novel approach to the Rooney-protest: he clattered the striker in training. Longsight-born defender Wes Brown appears to see the funny side.

Rooney Injury