Donald MacInnes: Rooney and Chaplin playing the same game

In The Red

If you’re a football fan, you’ll know that today sees the commencement of the English Premier League, a competition about as enamoured of the holy pound sterling as it is possible to get without actually licking a tenner.

It is also as chivalrous and honourable in its business dealings as a crocodile with a flick-knife.

Much of the talk this summer has surrounded the trundling saga of Wayne Rooney, the one-time top-of-the-heap English superstar, now marginalised at Manchester United and desperate to leave, much as he was a couple of years ago, when he first told United he was unhappy; that the club didn’t match his ambition. Aghast, the club reacted to the dagger in its back by acquiescing with quite mystifying largesse, making Rooney reputedly one of the highest-paid players in the country, on £250,000 a week. That's speedboat money. While United fans may have been outwardly and collectively infuriated with Rooney’s brinkmanship, any boos they directed his way in the next game evaporated as soon as he scored a goal. His “disloyalty” meant nothing, as long as he kept banging them in. Football fans are such tarts for a goal. But this, after all, is showbusiness. Goals are crashing cymbals. The fans just want to be entertained. They don't need to approve of their hero’s life choices. Just his kicking. And it was ever thus.

A century ago, Charlie Chaplin was a global star. In 1914, he was coming to the end of his contract with one studio, Essanay, and so let it be known that, on top of his salary, he expected his next studio to pay him a signing  fee of $150,000. That amounts to around £2m today. It snowed offers, but Charlie signed with Mutual Film Corporation, on $10,000 a week (about £145,000 today).

Newspapers pulsated with rage that, at 26, Chaplin was one of the highest paid people in the world. But the bottom line, said Mutual president John R. Freuler, was: "We can afford to pay Mr Chaplin this large sum annually because the public wants Chaplin and will pay for him.” It didn’t matter how much Charlie wanted. As long as he got laughs, he was indulged. And while this ethos clearly carries through to the Rooney goings-on, you'd have to wonder if, in even half a century, Wayne will be remembered as fondly as the little baggy-trousered Englishman who held Hollywood to ransom. And won.

Twitter.com/DonaldAMacInnes

d.macinnes@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food and drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

    £500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

    HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

    £350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

    £26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried