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.
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.