The Rooney Revolution, flying pigs and all
This is a retread of a piece I wrote for ESPN’s Sportsnation about a year-and-a-half ago. I find it humorous –and a little sad– that with very few alterations it’s still true.
All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.
The top brass at New England supposedly wants to get the Boston market looking in their direction. This has been part of the organizations downfall is a failure to catch the imagination of the Boston market –or the Portland, ME, New Bedford, Providence, or Hartford markets either. So as they do yearly, they begin to claim they are looking to sign Designated Players, one whom obviously needs to be an attacking player. But more than just another Milton Caraglio retread, the Revolution need imagination. They need innovation. They need balls the size of the gas tanks on the Central Artery. They need a name who will grab the attention of the locals in order to fill up Gillette.
So, I have a proposition for the Kraft Group: Don’t sign two or three DPs. Instead sign one, pay him astronomically, and make sure his name is Wayne Rooney.
Looking at these two clubs –Manchester United and the New England Revolution– they could not be further apart in standing or stature; however, both teams seem to go through the same exact struggle yearly. In New England Bob and Jonathan Kraft have sworn that they are going to restructure, reshape, and reinvest in the Revolution. In old England Wayne Rooney appears to be on the outs with Sir Alex and Manchester United.
New England seems to be stripping their team apart. No more Milton Caraglio, no more Rajko Lekic, which means no more strikers. Manchester United is still well placed for a UEFA Champions League guaranteed spot. Rooney is still scoring goals, but must consistently swear to the media he is going no where.
Rooney, who has been having personal issues, both on and off the field, would love the relative anonymity that MLS offers. Sure when he walks through the door of the Revolution, on the back of a unicorn, with his entourage of leprechauns, it will draw some attention to the league, but like with David Beckham and Thierry Henry the attention will shortly disappear. Except that Gillette stadium would soon rival Seattle’s Qwest Field for MLS attendance, and outdo every stadium in the league for dragon sightings.
A trip to MLS may seem unrealistic, but when every year you get into it with your manager eventually something has to change. Come on Wayne, how sick you must be of swearing to Manchester United supporters that you are not going anywhere? You do it every single year. Don’t you want something new? And what could possibly be newer than New England?
When you hear the world-wide soccer press complaints about you never leaving the comforts of England, you have to see that nothing would be less comfortable than New England. Add to that the Revolution want a DP who will put butts in seats, Wayne Rooney would fill up seats like no DP since David Beckham. Honestly, he’s going to miss the majority of Euros due to a suspension, so he might as well be doing something for at least one England during that time. Why not help out the newer of the two?
Sure the man makes approximately $385,625 a week, which is substantially more than Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez, Landon Donovan, and even David Beckham made, but unlike those players –Donovan included– he is not past, or in the process of passing, his prime. He is just entering it. So giving him the extra money shouldn’t be a problem for the Kraft Group. Especially if at the beginning of every game he slides down to the field on a rainbow.
As for his personal issues, New Englanders have been willing to overlook a lot of behavior from our star players. Jim Rice was a jerk. Manny Ramirez treated everything like a joke. The Patriots had spygate. Robert Parrish beat his wife and was a serial philanderer. Does Rooney think Jay Heaps, Mike Burns, Brian Bilello, or our fanbase will really care if he has 5 or 6 extramarital affairs with “working girls”? Well guess what? So long as he is scoring goals we won’t care. Heck, between him allegedly sleeping with “working girls” and his photographically proven public intoxication and urination, Rooney would fit right in in Boston.
Rooney fulfills both roles the Revolution claim they wants their DP to fill. And if ever there was a time to move on him it would be now. If you’re going to make Shalrie Joseph a DP, you might as well do the same for Wayne Rooney.
Will Rooney ultimately sign with MLS? So long as Hell is frozen over and pigs are sprouting wings the Revolution have as good a shot as Real Madrid and Barcelona. Furthermore, the Revs can’t say they failed unless they give it a shot.
If the Krafts are really invested in the Revs, Rooney is who they should go after. And they will. Unfortunately it will most likely be John.
Further Reading on the Subject (sort of)…
Dear Revolution: A 2012 Request<< Soccer Soap Box