All hail Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Manchester United reported to be worth £85m (£300,000 per week) and we should love him for it.

Well done: Rooney deserves applause of his own for what he has achieved in football
Well done: Rooney deserves applause of his own for what he has achieved in football

Upon hearing/reading this news, the knee-jerk reaction of numerous football fans (and, of course, those who despise the game and are glad of any opportunity to criticise it and its participants) will be to lambaste Rooney for his apparently boundless greed and reel off the clichés about football selling its soul to the devil.

It’s ironic that Rooney has actually sold his services, not his soul, to the Red Devils, and for a princely sum.

Souls are, after all, just a work of fiction designed to make you feel superior to other animals while simultaneously scared that the apparently benevolent spectre lurking within you (like a kinky Casper) will probably be trapped burning in hell for eternity, all because you nicked a cola bottle from the pick and mix as soon as you could reach them.

Anyway, if souls did exist and a deity happened to bestow one upon football when he/she created it on the eighth day, the devil was outbid for it by Sky.

Thanks to that ‘deal’ the game was irrevocably transformed from being just that, a ‘game’, and into a hugely lucrative entertainment business.

Rooney, a man often ridiculed for lacking anything resembling intellect, has the nous to understand the new nature of the business and his value within it. Either that or, at the very least, Rooney has surrounded himself with people to do the maths stuff for him, which is even smarter if you think about it.

Some of the finest entrepreneurs in the world have tried and failed to secure long-term financial stability for themselves, their children, and their children’s children as expertly as Rooney has. He’s not even the best player in the world.

Now the fans who claim the England striker to be a moron are angered by his success and the wealth it has brought him and his family. Leading us, inexorably, to one conclusion: these reactionaries who fail to grasp the evolution of football are the real idiots.

Yes, it would be lovely to live in a world where doctors, nurses, soldiers, police officers, firefighters and the like were paid £300,000 per week for their invaluable services, but no one will pay £40-plus per week to watch them work and another £50 to wear replicas of their uniforms, will they? That’s the brutal purity of our culture combined with a capitalist economy.

Another economic aspect overlooked by Rooney haters is taxation.

Earning the amount he will earn from this deal, Rooney falls into the highest tax band in the UK and should, therefore, pay 50p out of every £1 in his wage packet to the British government before he even sees it. There is every chance, of course, that Rooney will do what many footballers do and set up a business based in a remote tax haven to effectively ‘launder’ his earnings and ensure he sees more of them. And why shouldn’t he? Almost everyone looks at their payslip and thinks that tax deduction is a bit hefty. And, although few would admit it, most people would do what they could to keep more of their wages if it were possible. Regardless, the more Rooney earns the more money there is to boost our economy as it continues to recover from a global recession that brought it to its knees.

If anything, we could do with more Wayne Rooneys.

So all hail Wayne Rooney, the Titan of the working class rubbing shoulders with the gods.


Another embarrassing chapter in West Ham’s recent history

The way West Ham demanded a review of the FA’s decision to uphold Andy Carroll’s ban and threatened to take legal action over the striker’s red card is yet another embarrassing chapter in the club’s recent history.

The owners are constantly saying they are West Ham fans and, in this case, that is exactly how they reacted. David Gold and David Sullivan are supposed to have the presence of mind to make careful, calculated decisions about what is best for West Ham as a club and a business. Instead, they often let their hearts rule their heads and go rushing in with rash decisions like fools.

Marching orders: Howard Webb shows Andy Carroll a red card against Swansea
Marching orders: Howard Webb shows Andy Carroll a red card against Swansea
There is no way West Ham would have won any second appeal or legal case after the first appeal of Carroll’s red card was thrown out. If the FA had reversed their decision at that stage based on the Hammers’ threats, it would have compromised the entire decision-making process in the English game. Every ruling a referee made on the pitch could then have been questioned again and again by the club feeling a negative effect as a result of that decision, and there is always one.

Luckily, the FA again upheld Howard Webb’s decision to send Carroll off against Swansea and West Ham (finally) accepted it, thereby ensuring that the referee; not the players, managers, fans, or club owners; remains in control of football matches in England.
The FA statement said: “An independent arbitration tribunal convened under FA Rule K has dismissed a legal challenge brought by West Ham United and Andy Carroll in relation to the red card received by Carroll in the match between West Ham United FC and Swansea on 1 February 2014.
“The independent tribunal resolved that there was no serious issue to be tried and also awarded The FA its costs.”
West Ham’s own statement, released on the club’s website, said: “Whilst West Ham United are obviously disappointed at the decision, as we have made clear throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall abide by them.”
It was more than understandable when West Ham appealed Carroll’s sending off the first time due to the harshness of the red card given by Howard Webb. Carroll did seem, after all, to only brush Chico Florres’ hair with the back of his arm after they had become entangled following an aerial challenge. However, the brashness in the way Carroll swung his arm around was seen as violent conduct by Webb and the England striker was given his marching orders.
Of course, Carroll’s superb performance against Swansea, up until the card, was reason enough for West Ham to appeal the decision to ensure he could remain available for selection in the upcoming games against Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton. The England international was a menace to the Swans’ defence and brought the best out of his teammates, none more so than captain Kevin Nolan, who bagged a brace. Sam Allardyce and his men will certainly miss Carroll while he is serving his ban.
But another negative aspect about West Ham’s desperate scramble to reverse Howard Webb’s decision was the message it must have sent to the players now responsible for filling Carroll’s position spearheading the Hammers’ attack. All it would have just said to Carlton Cole and Marco Borriello is that they simply do not measure up to the number 9.
Hopefully, now that the Hammers have accepted Carroll’s fate and confirmed he will serve his ban, all of West Ham’s players, staff, and fans can focus all of their attentions on staying in the Premier League this season – no mean feat given their league position (18th) and poor form.

Sack Big Sam before it’s too late

It is safe to say that West Ham have been awful this season. Although there may have been a few glimpses of brilliance to lure us into believing that perhaps everything will be okay in the end, there have not been nearly enough of those and now the Hammers are once again flirting with relegation.Blowing Bubbles #27

With poor tactical choices and shoddy summer signings, Sam Allardyce has led his side down to where they currently sit, slumped in 17th place, just above the relegation zone with only Fulham, Crystal Palace and Sunderland below them.

Now the owners should act swiftly in relieving Sam Allardyce of his duties and bring in a replacement capable of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.

Follow the link below to issue 27 of Blowing Bubbles fanzine to read the full article (pages 8 and 9).