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Sunday, 15 February 2009

Wayne Rooney: The Way It Is

Wayne Rooney

The Way It Is

“Coleen bought me an Aston Martin from her own money.
It was a birthday present that she gave me before the big
day. On my actual birthday she gave me a Jacob watch,
inscribed with my name and date of birth. I love watches.”
And so on, and so forth. Who on earth is this actually aimed
at? It’s not an autobiography; it is a prospectus for Paul
Stretford’s Proactive Sports Management Ltd. It’s also an
insult to the intelligence of the reader, although quite frankly
anyone who buys it after seeing Rooney posing on the cover
wearing a Coca-Cola T-shirt – he has a contract with them
– probably hasn’t got that much grey matter to offend.

The book ostensibly traces Rooney’s career to date, from
boyhood scamp at Everton through to what he is now: an
England player and cash-cow marketing vehicle. Along the
way it touches lightly on the many controversial incidents
that have befallen the Manchester United striker in his short
career, and tries ever so hard to place the Proactive-approved,
positive spin on them.

For instance, the tensions between Rooney and David Moyes?
The Everton manager was jealous of the attention that the
youngster was getting and was put out that he wasn’t invited
to his 18th birthday party. And while Rooney has a poor memory
concerning certain matters – such as who actually introduced
him to the bookmaker with whom he ran up a debt of over 50
grand, or the details of the contract dispute that saw Stretford
dragged to court – he can recall every single negative thing
about his time at Goodison. It’s really no surprise that Moyes is
taking legal action.

The incident with the grannies in the brothel is skimmed over –
it’s something that all young lads do, apparently – although he
manages to get in another apology to the ubiquitous Coleen.
Surely the ghost-writer, Hunter Davies, could have suggested if
people want to read about her dress sense or that she was in the
school production of Bugsy Malone they can go and buy her book.
She has written one, apparently. It must be fascinating.

Who would have thought that, 35 years after he wrote The Glory
Game, Hunter Davies would be trying to pass off the following as
the words of a 21-year-old footballer: “That is why we have a
publicist. We need to monitor dialogue with the papers and we
need someone who can speak to them when stories are wrong or
misrepresented.” There really is little else. All the moderately juicy
bits that Proactive have allowed, like the fact that he likes to sleep
with the hoover or the hairdryer on, have all been serialised to
death already.

The only thing that surprises with this sort of wretched tome is that
the people handling the players do not use the opportunity to at least
try to make them seem somewhat likeable and, well, normal. Rooney
used to seem more normal than most but, droning on here about his
cars, his holidays and his property portfolio, he looks like just another
unashamedly crass gobshite who happens to be lucky that he’s good
at kicking a ball around a field.

But who knows, some people may enjoy reading it.

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