Wayne Rooney doesn’t exactly have the kind of face to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but somehow, the striker has worked his way back into the hearts of United fans after insisting almost exactly a year ago that he was to exit the club as quickly as possible.
Rooney, who was purchased by Sir Alex Ferguson from Everton in 2004 as a 19-year-old, insisted that he had decided he wanted to leave United for a club that was better equipped to challenge for trophies.
"We are as bemused as anyone can be, we can't quite understand why he would want to leave," Ferguson said at the time. "I was dumbfounded. Only months before he was saying he was at the greatest club in the world.”
Fans went into revolt against the striker, as reports started circulating that he was considering a move to rivals Manchester City or Chelsea. City even commented that they would ‘monitor the situation closely’, words that United fans loathed to hear.
But days after insisting that he wanted to leave, Rooney did a complete U-turn, and committed to the club for the long term. The move shocked fans, after a tough week dealing with the prospect of their favourite leaving for possibly a hated rival. Forgiveness seemed far away.
Rooney apologised, but an apology seemed empty after he had insisted so strongly just days ago that he wanted out of Old Trafford. What had Ferguson told him to make him stay? Was it really all about the money? Did Rooney really have a feud with the United manager?
Fast forward 12 months, and Ferguson believes Rooney could break Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record of 249 in his career at the club. All has been forgotten, as strange as it seems, and every time a tremor of talk does the rounds suggesting that Rooney may exit Old Trafford, the 25-year-old is crystal clear that it’s all unfounded.
The fans have come around, not just because of the continual assurances that Rooney loves the club and wants to stay around for good, but through his rise in form that’s seen him score nine goals in eight matches.
Rooney has given words, and actions, to show he’s dedicated to the club, and there’s only so long a fan can stay angry at a striker who keeps scoring.
On the contrary, after Carlos Tevez said he wanted to leave City and then was forced to stay, the striker has continually made a point of being unhappy, even going so far as to saying in a TV interview that he didn’t like Manchester as it was ‘too rainy’.
Rooney has showed that it is possible to win the fans over after a moment of regret, but can Tevez do the same? How many goals will he have to score to show the City fans he’s sorry for his latest actions?