As an avid reader and first time contributor to this magnificent website, I thought I’d begin by playing it safe – Should we forgive Wayne Rooney?
Having read Rooney’s recent red shite- hating comments – once a blue, always a blue???- and the discussions on whether “Judas” deserves to be included in the top 50 Everton players of all time, I thought I’d contribute my thoughts.
1) Contribution as a player. As an impact sub in his first season, in a team that somehow fought its way to that fourth place, he was superb, but that second season when the rest of the team relied on him to do everything, he couldn’t handle the pressure and we saw the first signs of his temperament problems. Everton slumped to their worst ever season under Moyes and the over-reliance on Rooney was a major factor in this. Rooney left... our performances improved.
On the international stage, Rooney’s performances against Turkey in qualifying and in Euro 2004, before his injury, I still regard as the best football I have ever seen him play and some of my proudest blue moments. He was at the peak of his commercial value, he had the agent from hell, and his relationship with Moyes was deteriorating. £30m for a player with a disruptive influence on the team, seemed a good deal to me, even though I was gutted to see him go.
2) Financial value Ok, true transfer fees are difficult to evaluate these days, what with undisclosed fees and fees increasing on future performance etc. If we are to assume that Everton have received in the region of £30m then this has roughly covered the transfers of the following players; Howard, Neville, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines, Pienaar, Arteta, Cahill, Gosling. Ok, I know we bought Cahill a few weeks before Rooney went, but its close enough. Now I think many Evertonians would be very content to see those names on the teamsheet every week, even with Gosling still in the early stages of development. So would you swap the core of our current team back for one player: Rooney? I wouldn’t.
3) Personal feelings The sense of betrayal was a direct result of the joy he had given us in his first season, and the pride of watching him carry the whole England team at the age of 17. Did we feel betrayed by Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball or Richard Dunne? Did we ****!
So I guess what I am saying is summarised by my answers to the following questions. Do I believe that a 17 year-old kid being advised by a dodgy agent, should be hated forever for wanting a move from a team fighting relegation to one of the most successful clubs in Europe? No Am I glad I witnessed his finest moments as a blue and England blue? Yes Would I swap Rooney for all of Howard, Neville, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines, Pienaar, Arteta, Cahill, Gosling? No. (I’m not sure I’d swap him for Cahill alone!) Do I hope he scores a hatrick against the Red Shite, in a performance driven by his hatred of them? Yes. Do I hope he gets sent off in the FA Cup semi in the first minute? Yes Do I think he deserves to be placed in the top 50 Everton players of all time? Probably not, given the limited period and impact of his time in a blue shirt. Do I celebrate his sublime skills when I watch him in an England shirt or for united playing against anyone but us and feel proud that he was spawned by our great club? Yes Have I forgiven him? Yes Should You?
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