Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughRooney will leave United - When Fergie’s done with him - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Rooney will leave United - When Fergie’s done with him - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Rooney will leave United – When Fergie’s done with him

The latest episode of the Wayne Rooney soap opera took a new twist this week, when newspaper reports emerged that Sir Alex Ferguson is set to cash in on his prized asset this summer, despite Rooney signing a new contract as recently as October, having declared his wish to leave Old Trafford just days earlier. The deal was immediately met with scepticism, with some believing the club were extending the remaining 18 months of Rooney’s contract, in order to raise his transfer value for a later date. While this suggestion was immediately dismissed by Manchester United, recent speculation will have only re-opened the debate.

When Rooney originally announced his desire to leave the club, the age-old debate of player power reared its tabloid-inflated head once again. Some had even suggested that the great Sir Alex had been dictated to by one of his players, in what would have surely been the biggest suggestion yet, that players were becoming the face of an army of agents and advisors, dominating the game with financial demands and commercial exploitation. However, if anyone was to take a stand, it would be the wily old fox that has been seeing off the challenges of inflated footballing egos, since his appointment at United in 1986.

History will show that should Rooney depart in what would undoubtedly be the big transfer of the summer, it would not be the first time Sir Alex has disposed of a key player, seemingly in their peak years, often when a player is believed to have an over-inflated sense of his own importance.

In the summer of 1995, with United licking their wounds after seeing Blackburn pip them to the Premier League crown on the final day of the season, Ferguson would set about re-inventing his side to reclaim the title. At this point, Sir Alex had had reportedly endured a tempestuous relationship with Paul Ince, believed to have stemmed from an altercation after United’s 4-0 drubbing at Barcelona the previous year, where Ferguson was less than subtle in his assessment of Ince’s apparent self-worth. Ferguson later said in his autobiography, Managing My Life, “He’d attached a rather silly title to himself: ‘Don’t call me Incey, call me the Guv’nor’. That didn’t go down too well.”

He would then cash in on Ince, with the self-styled ‘Guvnor’ moving to Intermilan for £7.5m, a move which was met with criticism from all angles, as he followed United legends Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis out of Old Trafford. Ferguson, however, would back his instinct and promote his youngsters, with Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt and David Beckham all pushing for first team places at the start of the 95/96 season. This would of course lead to Alan Hansen’s infamous ‘You’ll never win anything with kids’ comment after United lost their opening fixture at Villa Park, before a trademark United new year surge saw them win a historic double.

Despite Ferguson’s defiant stance ultimately returning results, this would not stop others from making the same mistake. In 2001, Jaap Stam published his autobiography, where Stam dared to criticise the methods of his then manager. The story was serialized in a national tabloid and days later, Stam was relocating to Italy, with a £16.5m transfer to Lazio. While today, Ferguson admits selling Stam was a rare mistake in his managerial career, it did not stop him leading United to six trophies by the time Stam announced his retirement, then at Ajax in 2007.

The list continues, with the well-publicised boot-kicking incident which saw Ferguson leave David Beckham with a media-frenzy inducing wound above his left eye, following a dressing room incident in February 2003. Four months later, Beckham’s £24.5m move to Real Madrid was announced, with no fewer than fourteen winners’ medals under his belt. While Beckham went on to win the Spanish Supercup, followed by the La Liga title in 2007, before leaving for his current club, LA Galaxy, United have gone on to lift trophies on thirteen occasions.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy, broke numerous goal-scoring records following his £19m arrival at Old Trafford in 2001. He scored 100 goals in his first three seasons at Old Trafford, overtook Denis Law as United’s top scorer in Europe and reached 150 goals in less than 200 games. This firepower led united to four domestic trophies in his five years at the club. As the squad evolved, and signings such as Louis Saha began to overshadow Van Nistelrooy, he became frustrated with life on the fringes, and when he refused to join the celebrations having been an unused substitute in United’s victorious 2006 League Cup Final, the writing was on the wall, as he was left out of the final game of the season, with the manager blaming issues around ‘the spirit of the club’ for the Dutchman’s omission. He would follow Beckham to Madrid in 2006, winning two La Liga titles and a Spanish Supercup, before moving on to current side Hamburg, while United have gone on to win ten trophies since his departure.

Sir Alex Ferguson has played a major part in enhancing the careers of many players during his near-quarter-century at the club, from big-money signings to products of the youth system. They, in turn have delivered the trophies which have made cemented Ferguson’s legacy as an all-time great. However, no United side has ever achieved this without knowing who was undoubtedly in charge, as Ferguson has shown time and time again that any player is replaceable. The previously mentioned names are just a sample of those who dared to cross the boss, and each individual ultimately proved to be just another victim, as Ferguson demonstrates how the stature of the club will always dwarf that of any player. While some have gone on to further success, when the medal collections are counted up, Sir Alex generally wins every time.

Will Wayne Rooney be added to the list? Don’t bet against it.

Daniel Clarke-

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