The smell of fresh sweat. The nerves are kicking in. Everybody’s trying to put a lid on their emotions. There’s the rattle of studs on the floor. Shouts of encouragement from the older pros.
It’s now time to slip that royal blue shirt on.
In single file you walk out of the dressing room, down the corridor heading for the cauldron of noise that has been rumbling in the back of your head, getting louder and louder as each minute ticks down to kick off.
In the corridor there’s a pause, a signal from the officials and the club captain shouts, “Come on lads. Let’s go.”
Z Cars starts.
You step out into the glare of the sunshine and the deafening noise of the crowd. You feel like a titan. A gladiator ready to entertain and win the hearts of the baying crowd and ready to become A LEGEND.
Most Scouse kid’s have imagined something like this. Very few get the chance to live out that dream. Very few. Wayne Rooney did get that chance, twice.
Wayne Rooney was a kid from Croxteth who loved Everton Football Club. In talent, he was beyond his years. At sixteen he was already great. At seventeen he was on his way to becoming a legend at the club he loved as much as the next Toffee.
And yet, he never fulfilled his dreams with Everton. Instead, he decided to cement a legacy at Old Trafford. I can’t begrudge him that. He won trophy after trophy at a great time for Manchester United when in truth he wouldn’t have won at the same time at Everton. Yes, it’s possible he would have won something at Everton but never 5 league titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cups, 1 Champions League and 1 Europa League.
When he came back to Everton for the second time I believed there were unfulfilled dreams to be completed and maybe, just maybe, a legendary status to be forged in the later parts of his career. Neither happened. And now he’s left once more.
The first time he left I felt angry with him and the club for letting him go so soon and because I knew – we all knew – he was a great prospect. The second time he left I only feel disappointment.
Wayne Rooney’s Everton career, for me, was just a big disappointment. He could and should have become a legend but never did, never was and never will be.
In the history books it will say Wayne Rooney played for his boyhood club for just 3 seasons and in total played 85 (33) games and scored 28 goals. That’s not a great record by anyone’s standards.
He scored a couple of great goals and broke a few records in his first spell at Everton. Who could forget the goals against Arsenal, Wrexham, Leeds? Or that goal against Joe Hart in his second spell?
Wayne Rooney walked away twice from his boyhood club and the supporters who loved him and were desperate to see him succeed. He was one of them; a Scouse Toffee. How many times would you have walked away from Everton? What would you have done to pull on that royal blue jersey?
What would you have done to fulfil your childhood dream stepping out onto Goodison Park with Z Cars in your ears and playing for this great football club? What would you have done to cement your place in the club’s history, as a legend?
Wayne Rooney – the legend that never was.
Reader Comments (31)
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1 Posted 29/06/2018 at 15:05:16
2 Posted 29/06/2018 at 15:12:31
He is a multi millionaire, has won trophies galore and played for his country.
All because Bill "wouldn't sell him for 㿞m" and we as a club had no ambition.
3 Posted 29/06/2018 at 16:29:12
4 Posted 29/06/2018 at 17:10:08
The night porter asked him, 'Where did it all go wrong, George?'
Even at 31, Rooney has had a longer career than Best and, in spite of his foibles, he's seen as a family man with mega money!
5 Posted 29/06/2018 at 18:26:48
The perception is that Rooney walked away from the club initially when, in reality, he was sold because the club had no ambition and had no investment from the board. A badly managed club with a badly managed outcome for it.
I don't begrudge Wayne Rooney one little bit. In life, we all make decisions with our hearts and our heads, sometimes one over the other, but as a career, Rooney has had a stellar one, one he would never have had at Everton. Never.
Second time around was heart ruling head: bad manager, bad purchases etc etc.. From Koeman to Allardyce, he was played out of position yet was still our best goalscorer (in half a season). He played where he was asked to play, to the best of his ability, but in truth he was played (certainly under Allardyce) out of position, asked to play deep and run when his game has always been upfront or off the front two.
Leaving the second time was entirely due to the new manager and Brands informing him he was not part of their plans going forward. Was it not reported that it was the club who first enquired about selling / off-loading him to DC United?
Rooney, the legend â€“ made in Everton but shone at Old Trafford. He is not an Everton legend but he is a Premier League one.
6 Posted 29/06/2018 at 18:38:19
7 Posted 29/06/2018 at 18:40:27
I'm glad he still got a hat-trick in blue, that half-field volley, and scored to draw with the shite in his second stint in blue. Wasn't what we all hoped for a career or a capstone year, but I'm glad he gave me some more memories of someone for whom playing in blue meant something.
8 Posted 29/06/2018 at 19:24:54
Christine has told it how it is. He was sold off by our poor backward board. Unable to invest and unable to take the club forward.
Under the Kenwright regime, we have been bottom feeders. Rooney was a world class player with 10 golden years in front of him. The board had us in such a poor financial position where we couldn't keep him.
There hasn't been an Everton legend since 1987 in my book. You don't get that tag unless you win the league for us.
Take your pick of Everton Legends out of that 86-87 squad: Trevor Steven? Kevin Sheedy?
Wayne Rooney is a Man Utd legend, an Everton ex-player and supporter.
9 Posted 29/06/2018 at 20:31:05
Take Trevor Brooking â€“ not exactly a great but he speaks correctly and knows how to behave around those who count; Southgate is another. Wayne broke scoring records for Man Utd and England, yet neither club or country will see him as a legend, a true great.
If he had been born in Trafford, my god, the Mancs would tell stories about him til the cows came home... but they won't. Neither will England fans because he played during a time when England were quite frankly crap both on and off the pitch.
I am glad he was a blue and Everton nurtured him; unfortunately, he became our saviour in financial terms because we were skint and, like England, badly run. He never became the very best because either it wasn't in him or because he never discovered how to take care of himself like Ronaldo for instance.
His body shape is that of a boxer, not a footballer, but what he did with that body â€“ apart from his off-field antics â€“ will remain forever in the minds of those who witnessed it even if they don't tell stories or sing football songs of his feats. The goals, the records, the medals and trophies he won are his legacy.
But, as this is cynical England, the grannies, the wine bar footballer scalp hunters, and his fallouts with his wife, will probably be the dominant story. For the sake of all his footballing achievements, I hope I am wrong. I wish him good luck, health peace and happiness. It's not his fault football is a greed-merchant's game these days.
10 Posted 29/06/2018 at 22:12:49
11 Posted 29/06/2018 at 23:52:49
I wouldn't pretend to know, but I remember Rooney saying he had to leave to further his career. I also remember him saying the same thing last season on Sky's Monday Night Football. I remember Moyes saying he wanted to sign Alan Smith to play up front with Rooney. But it's that fucker Bill's fault.
In football, "fulfilling your potential" is seen as winning as many trophies and getting as rich as possible with whatever club is willing to pay. Why isn't there a bit of "wining as many trophies and earning plenty of money with the club you profess to love"? Surely that's what any footballer would want? Especially one who wears the club's pyjamas.
Maybe I'm missing something but, in my opinion, regardless of what Kenwright wanted to do/did do, Rooney was on his bike once Man Utd came calling, the same as Barkley was with Chelsea, and the same as 99% of all players.
Doesn't sit comfortably with me and I don't like Rooney. But I'm fully aware of it.
Oh and yes, he is definitely a Premier League, Man Utd and England legend. Just how he dreamt it.
12 Posted 29/06/2018 at 00:14:02
We couldn't have kept him after that summer; Moyes, grannies or whatnots! But although I never doubt that Wayne Rooney loves Everton, and that the club would have taken him back much earlier if financially possible, in the end, Wayne was blind to his own true deterioration on the field!
Even when he came back much too late, his left-over "spice girl/boy" wages were silly for a player we'd by that time had even hardly seen play at Man Utd for a few years already...
13 Posted 30/06/2018 at 00:29:28
He came close to winning the UEFA cup in 2008 and FA Cup in 2009. And he was unlucky to not get out of the group stages of the Champions League in 2005.
He's Everton's second all-time record goal scorer, behind Dixie. And who will forget those goals in his prime? The injury time winner against Liverpool? The wrongly disallowed goal in the Europa League final?
He retired at the end of this season, but he'll always be an Everton legend. He never earned the 𧷤,000 a week he could have earned at Man Utd or elsewhere, but the 𧴜,000 a week Everton paid him for so many years means he and his family are still rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Which Wayne Rooney would you rather be?
14 Posted 30/06/2018 at 00:59:56
It wasn't just Rooney... there's a long list of others who, if they had stayed, we could've built a great side. Lescott, Arteta, Gravesen and more recently Stones and Lukaku.
Its just a reflection of who Everton are right now and their financial status. We just can't compete with the rich clubs and the Champions League gravy train.
15 Posted 30/06/2018 at 01:37:53
Putting that aside though, in my eyes, he lost any right to be a True Blue when he kissed the Man Utd badge.
That goal against Arsenal got me dreaming that this kid was going to put us back on the map. It wasn't his fault he left us â€“ that was down to a certain poison that still plagues us â€“ but one thing is for sure: no amount of money would have allowed me to let my son play for a club whose favourite song is “If you all hate scousers, clap your handsâ€.
16 Posted 30/06/2018 at 01:57:22
How about some context? He was still only 18 when he left and nearly 32 when he came back. 02-03 we finished 7th, 03-04 it was 17th and we all know how awful last season was. I'd reckon those stats are pretty outstanding in most people's books if you look at them fairly.
17 Posted 30/06/2018 at 02:52:22
I suspect Wayne Rooney will always look back and wish he'd been the other one but then it wasn't all his fault and he certainly tried to engineer a move back to his credit.
18 Posted 30/06/2018 at 03:41:41
Look, I get that he reacted angrily to the hostility of fans at Goodison Park when he was sold. I get that, having been brought up a scouser, he would be very likely to meet hostility with hostility... but one particular incident well after his transfer still bothers me today.
I go back to a game at Old Trafford a couple of seasons after the transfer. Unlike most of Moyes's other "knife to a gunfight" trips, we're giving a fantastic account of ourselves: Big Vic was on and was murdering Rio Ferdinand (yes, those two things actually happened). Even in the latter stages, we were all out to win until Pienaar inexplicably stretched out a heel and handed them a penalty in the dying moments. Ronaldo buried it.
Even though we were playing well, they were better and you always dreaded this would happen. It was hardly a shock; however, it was a bitter, bitter disappointment... but then Rooney did something I will never, ever understand. The penalty was at the Stretford End but, instead of just celebrating with his United team mates, he raced the length of the pitch to rub salt into already painful Evertonian wounds.
Wayne Rooney was/is a Premier League legend. He is undoubtedly one of the best players we've ever produced. He was scapegoated by the board.. but in a game where he had taken no stick, he chose, to the delight of 73,000 Mancs, to show 2,500 Evertonians that he had no respect for them. For me least, he forfeit the right to considered an Evertonian that day.
If Rooney really loved this club, he could have returned two years earlier and his trophy cabinet would still have been choca. He didn't, he only came back when the Mancs no longer wanted him.
Being an Evertonian isn't like being a light switch... You can't just flick it on and off when it suits.
19 Posted 30/06/2018 at 05:11:03
Despite weepy Bill's 'talk to my mum' performance in Fergie's office when selling him, Everton were desperate to cash in on their prized asset because Moyes needed to refresh the squad. With money well spent, we almost qualified for the Champions League.
Rooney himself went on to have a stellar career and his family are now wealthy for generations. He could have stayed at Everton but with the institutionalised mediocrity and lack of investment under Kenwright he would have wasted his career. He did well for Everton last season until Lardiola rocked up and he has left now because we wanted his wages off the books.
As for giving a bit back to fans, I think all supporters are a bit hypocritical about this. I was at the match that Darren refers to and Rooney did get stick, as he did at every game he played against us until he turned out for Duncan's testimonial. He is fiery and a winner, which means he bites back, which I don't have a problem with.
A top, top player and a leader in a dressing room full of losers. We are going to miss him for that above everything else.
20 Posted 30/06/2018 at 05:17:15
21 Posted 30/06/2018 at 05:31:04
If you love someone or something and you are ridiculed by them, it is the worst feeling, one that makes you retaliate. Keep kicking someone who loves you (or the club in this case) then don't be surprised if you get it back in spades. It's holier-than-thou attitudes that fail to look at context and judge on isolating an incident that was, in the end, someone retaliating to being treated badly.
Rooney is a true blue, but he is not stupid. You get few chances in life, especially if you are from an opportunity-lacking area of Liverpool; you have to take them when they come, and he has, but not because he was greedy, but because he wasn't wanted by a club who only saw money â€“ not opportunity for greatness.
His badge-kissing was a "Fuck You" moment to all those, both club and supporters, who vilified him then and still do for doing what was right for him and his family.
We lacked the ambition, courage and vision to make the best of Rooney, instead he was made to feel not wanted by a club he loves. Everton was the only thing in his life, and we took the money at the first opportunity.
22 Posted 30/06/2018 at 06:07:19
So, for that reason alone, he was an Everton legend.
23 Posted 30/06/2018 at 06:36:03
That sinking feeling. I remember that sense of loss when we sold him. And I still wonder, "If only we hadn't sold him, what might have been...?" Ah, well.
I wish him and his family well for the future.
25 Posted 30/06/2018 at 08:16:12
I would say only one thing about the word "legend" is that for me it not only encompasses what he did on the pitch but also what he did off the field of play. In that sense, he hardly hit the standards set by that other Man Utd "legend", Bobby Charlton, whose records he broke.
26 Posted 30/06/2018 at 09:31:36
I bear no ill will to Wayne who was wonderful to see in his first spell. He is certainly a British football legend, but sadly not an Everton legend.
27 Posted 30/06/2018 at 10:46:56
I respect your views, but I feel you have got this completely wrong. You talk about the "holier than thou" views of people who fail to see the context, but is it not you and those who are agreeing with who are failing to see the context?
I don't accept what Steve Ferns is saying. I drove a load of Evertonians to Old Trafford that day and the general feeling on the way was how much the hostility towards Rooney had subsided. I clearly remember him getting jeered when he first misplaced a pass and then miscontrolled a ball, but no more than any other star player of the opposition would get... well, maybe a tad, but nothing like previous season.
Most Evertonians I know (certainly the older ones) shared your view. I count myself in that group. The hierarchy of this club used him to save their own financial bacon. Rooney had many more friends inside Evertonia than enemies. His family, who were in the pub we stopped at on the way, followed Everton home and away. He would have definitely known this.
What he did was just plain wrong. I don't care how far people will go to excuse it. When he ran the length of the pitch, he would have known he had a lot of admirers who had never abused him amongst the Everton ranks. He showed no regard for them. When he gestured at the entire away support, he was gesturing at the whole fan base.
I'm not going to portray this as an act of an evil man. I put it down to ill-advised knobheadary. What I will say is that, driving away from Old Trafford was an absolute nightmare, my passengers, along with every other blue who was part of the arranged exit, were forced to listen to thousands of Mancs who were lining the streets taunting them, not about the result, but about one of Everton's favourite sons.
"Once a Blue, always a Red" they chanted. They were loving our pain. We are talking about Mancs here, a city renowned for its hatred towards ours.
I don't believe it has anything to do with a holier-than-thou attitude. Those Evertonians who felt totally betrayed were entirely within their rights to feel that way. This wasn't, as suggested, a one-off, but it was worse than before, because it was done in a manner he knew would give the Mancs all the ammunition they needed.
I often read your posts, Steve & Christine. I love the passion in them. Your love for this club is evident... I wonder: Are there any circumstances where you would have behaved in such a way towards Everton's hard core? I don't think so.
28 Posted 30/06/2018 at 11:48:41
Not condoning his actions, but it was obvious.
29 Posted 30/06/2018 at 12:53:58
People can argue as strongly as they like and provide instances of this or that but again their own take on things is purely down to how they as an individual think he has reacted. Two people sitting next to each other may have seen exactly the same thing and have totally different feelings about it.
Your'e talking about emotions, feelings and opinion. There are no rules on emotions, no laws on feelings, and no opinion is wrong. We all react differently depending on numerous factors and things going on in our lives.
People, when pushed, will sometimes go to extremes to retaliate. Some people need less of a push than others. Some will retaliate more, or less, than others. Some won't react at all.
It's a human thing and it's part of why we have laws for guidance because, if it was left to each individual to decide upon taking action to a given occurrence, there'd be chaos!
Gettin' heavy now so I'll call it a day at that.
30 Posted 30/06/2018 at 12:56:56
Whatever the truth about the whole affair, one young man could quite simply have said, "No", but the pressure not to must have been quite beyond our understanding. In the long-run, it may probably rate alongside the creation of that team across the Park.
Other than Rooney, because of his success with another club, few others involved will barely be remembered, as those involved in the move to Goodison are.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum â€“ not for some time now.
31 Posted 30/06/2018 at 13:49:35
In discussing Wayne's 2nd coming and leaving, all manner of things have been thrown into the melting pot.
On a related thread Wayne is called a traitor, his abilities, performances, achievements and goal-scoring records dismissed out of hand. That is the emotional side of folk speaking.
Then we have different interpretations of his first departure, aged 18. What is known and in the public domain is the following:
* Wayne was already on all top club's radar before he wowed a global audience at Euro 2004. At the start of the 2004-05 season, he was in the final year of his contract. Wiser heads at the club should have tied him down to a longer-term contract BEFORE the Euros to - at worst - put us in a stronger negotiating position when the wolves inevitably came a-sniffing.
* In the summer of 2004 Everton FC publicly showed itself to be a total basket case. The King's Dock stadium move went down the tube. Trevor Birch - renowned corporate troubleshooter - came in as CEO and left within 6 weeks. Paul Gregg and BK were at loggerheads. Portugal manager Big Phi Scolari was approached to manage the club, much to sitting manager David Moyes' and Kenwright's surprise (he was probably sounded out by Gregg). There was the farce of the Brunei Fortress Fund bid to buy the club.
* Wayne had recently changed his agent to (cough! spit!) Paul Stretford. The ensuing court case of this switch in October 2004 - just a couple of months after Wayne moved to United - resulted in the case being thrown out of court because Stretford was found guilty of "making of false and/or misleading witness statements to police, and giving false and/or misleading testimony".
* Moyes desperately promised Wayne the earth: make him captain, offered a wage unheard of Everton's history. It was all too little, too late.
* Whilst the deal was being brokered, we have from Alex Ferguson's autobiography, the tale of a weepy Bill Kenwright calling his mam who he put on the phone to Ferguson: "Don't you go stealing our boy!" she berated the United boss. Yeah, that would swing it Bill...
Now as Brian Williams wrote, you can have you own take on Wayne Rooney, the man, the player, coloured by your own emotions and judgement values.
But taking all the above together and making Wayne Rooney the singular and main culprit in what went down in the summer of 2004...nah! I'm not having it.
I'm not having that a raw 18-year-old from Crocky who just wanted to play football - a tiddler - was the mastermind behind his transfer when there were so many Great White Sharks with their various (and considerable) vested interests circling in very turbulent waters.
32 Posted 30/06/2018 at 20:27:42
Personally I have no feeling towards Rooney one way or the other. He left in 2004. He asked to leave, or rather Stretford engineered him to ask for the move. The thing that left a bitter taste at the time was the fact that we were a mess. The club could really have done with him giving us a couple of years to help us out of the mess given how talented he was and how much of a supporter of the club he was. That was never a consideration for him. Whether he was making the decisions or the "sharks" making them for him is neither here nor there. He left of his own accord.
As it turned out if was probably the best thing that could have happened for us and him really. If we had kept him then he would have been the focal point, everything would have gone through him and we would never have become a proper team like we did if he would have stayed. We became a unit that fought for each other. Everybody was on equal footing and subsequently within 2or 3 years of him leaving we had a cracking little squad. Rooney himself also got what he craved. Medals, titles and peers that were on an equal footing with him. So to be honest, for me it was a win win all round. People forget how bad we were when Rooney was still at the club. Losing 5 0 on the last day of the season at Citeh and Rooney looked like he really couldn't give a flying fuck, so it was the right decision for all parties in the end for him to leave.
I have no problem with him kissing the United badge. It's all part and parcel of football to have the heroes and villains. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose. The villains have their day as do the fans.
Rooney is a PL legend, of that there is no doubt. Records galore at United and England, he has done very well indeed. He should never have come back to us. He was just a bad signing in a vat of bad signings last season. No thought as to where players were going to fit into a style of play. Random signings for a random style of play, none of it good. Kenwright will hopefully be going in August so we shall no more of these nonsense sentimental signings.
So where does Rooney fit in with Everton folklore? For me, he was a promising talent who gave us a fleeting few games of excitement before leaving for pastures new. PL legend, yes but never an Everton legend. I don't bear him Ill will but nor do I revere either. He made his choice and both parties were better off for it. He was just another good player to play in a good team like United alongside Giggs Scholes Ronaldo and the like and I have the same amount of affinity with him as those other players, I can appreciate the talent but he was a manc in the end.
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