>Wayne Rooney, player power, and why Ian Holloway is right


Wayne Rooney of Manchester United vs Everton. ...Image via Wikipedia

It’s been another interesting and turbulent week in the life of Wayne Rooney.

This time the controversy surrounding the Manchester United striker isn’t centred on his private life or his performance on the pitch, but his desire to leave the biggest and most successful English club of the past twenty years.

Just why would a player want to leave a side that will be looking to challenge on all fronts for yet another season? The England star suggested the club lack the resources need to match his ambition, that they weren’t signing the world class players he needed to pursue his dreams of more trophies. We are used to players leaving United on Sir Alex Fergurson’s terms (see David Beckham, Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke, Paul Ince,) but not the other way round. It brings up the issue of player power, and it’s one that never fails to get a reaction out of most people in the game.

Being based in Blackpool, I get the privilege of seeing Ian Holloway every week in a pre-match press conference and, as you’d expect, he had his ownn passionate views on the subject. He hinted at deeper problems in football, describing it as “so wrong, this is frightening”. He blames the Bosman ruling, allowing players to walk away from a club at the end of their contract, thus giving them all the power in negotiations. He’s got a point.

In recent months Blackpool, Holloway, and his Chairman Karl Oyston have tried to wrestle back some of this power. They have refused to pay agents extortionate fees to sign players, instead bringing in players who buy into the “Tangerine dream”. Whether this plan will back fire will become clear at the end of the season, but the amount of interest in that attitude from the press over the summer proves just what a rare stance this is.

With the amount of money being thrown into football these days it’s inevitable that situations like Rooney’s will arise. I’m still baffled at the way Sol Campbell got out of Spurs in one of the most high profile Bosman deals. Sir Alex described it as being drawn to ‘other cows in other fields’.

When it comes to questioning the ambition and pulling power of Manchester United, you can bet Alex Ferguson would be leaving if he thought it wasn’t there. Therefore it comes down to who has the better judgement, the most successful manager of a generation…or Wayne Rooney.

Now I’m not going to judge Rooney on his statement but simply put a few questions back to him.

Have Manchester United ever had a history of buying high profile. ‘world class,’ players?

When was the last time you remember United signing a player deemed the best in the world in his position?

Granted they’ve always spent big, but that’s more down to their stature and other clubs bumping up the price. For instance, there is no way Dimitar Berbatov was worth over £30 million. Was Wayne Rooney a ‘world class’ player when Sir Alex signed him in 2004? Nowhere near.

And, lets face it, are Manchester City signing the best players in the world?

by Ian Hodge All views are the writer’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer

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