Wayne Rooney. I well remember him leaving. I heard confirmation on Radio Merseyside, rang my mate John and had a blazing row. I was disappointed but already wondering who we could buy with the money, particularly as I was of the view that the four decent quality players it might produce would, overall, be of more value to a squad badly in need of a lift. John, as ever a much more scholarly Bluenose, vented his spleen and proceeded to devastate my argument with facts and figures yes, but more emotionally shouted, most unlike him, down the phone about the loss of a decade of goals, huge world class potential and the simple fact that we’d very easily said goodbye to a player who would light up the league for a long long time.
He was right of course, well about the potential and the lighting up thing. Later that night the other key partner in our blue triangle, Allen, told me I’d hadn’t a clue about Rooney and that he would lead England and we would be a laughing stock for letting him go. Somehow my further, and I thought rational argument, about how do you stop him ? fell on deaf ears. The emotion of the apparent betrayal from a lifelong blue was way too raw, and remained so for a long time.
It hurts that I can’t call up my two closest friends in the world to apologise for being very practical and dull, and celebrate the return of a hero. Both have passed away, I miss them every day, both would have been made up to see Wayne back and without doubt John would have showered me with stats about what even a now 31 year old could bring to our exciting new project.
If my mates and even I can forgive and forget, then any blue can. Sorry, but it’s time to be practical. Rooney’s return makes a great deal of sense. One disappointing season at Utd, part of two years worth of a poor Utd squad and a poor bit of management from two guys who in truth didn’t get much of a chance at Old Trafford, well that doesn’t make Rooney poor.
He will improve the squad, significantly. He will offer hugely valuable experience, creative options and Koeman’s much required ‘productivity’. He will score a lot more goals than in his last two years at Utd. Not that difficult I accept and not anything like the moron we’ve just let go. But it’s clear Korean expects goals to be shared around the squad, not just from one very clever but horribly disrespectful player. Rooney will help younger players along. He will add much to the clubs already booming public relations and increase our profile abroad. He’s still a star. He has to behave like the consummate professionals we love to have at our great club. He will work hard I know. He loves us, of that I’m sure and it shines out in every smile just what it means to him and his family that he’s back home.
So, Rooney is back and it’s time to put aside any doubts. Accept it for what it is. A smart move, hopefully, but just part of what feels like a genuine revolution in which, suddenly, every day is about Everton and quality and a new stadium and, well, a lot more besides. Rooney is back but so are Everton. It really is happening and now all that’s needed is to translate all this excitement to a dawn that isn’t false. I’m with the project and so should all blues be. It’s about time I eased up on the practical stuff and just let the emotion take over and enjoy the ride !