James Corrigan: Hair-raising season shows that, for all his flaws, Rooney is certainly worth it
The Way I See It: Rooney has come through with his career, his wife and fanbase intact, and, with a new barnet grafted to a new attitude, can fulfil his sporting destiny
Monday 06 June 2011
The "them" and "us" divide has never seemed as stark. While most Englanders were tearing their hair out at the latest flop of their national team, their absent superstar was having his hair stuck back in.
We can only assume the procedure Wayne Rooney underwent in Harley Street featured the prematurely-balding 25-year-old's own follicles being redistributed as the alternatives do not bear the consideration. But then, they have to be examined as we try to make sense of mankind's ceaseless quest for the physical ideal.
Certainly the reports which dominated Saturday's news agenda referred to the term "donor". Does this mean Rooney was sat on the sofa watching the cricket, checking for the join on Shane Warne's tousle, when an air ambulance landed on his front lawn making his curtains part with the back draft and the urgency of the loud-hailer? "Attention, Wayne Rooney. There's been a pile-up in Poland and one of the victims was a 25-year-old with the perfect colour match. There's no time to lose if these roots are going to take..."
Or then, rather more palatably, it could mean that the donor is actually alive and has decided to part with a few of his follicles, because a) he has far too many anyway and b) times are hard. If this is true, Richard Keys appears the most likely candidate, especially as Rooney bizarrely graced his radio show last week.
We can go on wondering or Google "hair + transplant + process", but the latter may be dangerous as the wife might check our internet history and buy us one for Christmas. Would you really fancy walking around with someone else's quiff? Or even your own quiff cultivated from that brush around your navel? Each to his own; or indeed to someone else's.
Let us not rib Rooney too much for his pride (or speculate whether Fergie's repeated use of that hairdryer is to blame). After all, he is only following in the grand tradition of Manchester United forwards. The lengths to which Sir Bobby Charlton went to cover his exposed scalp indicates that if the technology was available in his day he, too, would have called in the landscapers. As it was, Sir Bobby was forced to use the dreaded comb-over, which was so obvious in the thinnest of strands it made Arthur Scargill look like Marge Simpson.
Sir Bobby was vain, Wayne is vain, Fernando is vain, Drogba is vain, Darren Bent shoots in vain... By their very nature strikers are conceited. Since being young boys they have decided to play the hero, score all the goals, take all the applause. Narcissus was a hunter, you know, who, as Greek myth has it, was deadly from six yards.
Rooney will no doubt ponder all this as he lies on the Barbados beach with his hair blooming in the sun, thanking the Lord he is not Ryan Giggs. Indeed, this next month of "down" time should be an interesting period of reflection for the man who in his nine years as a pro has lived by the motto of his famous T-shirt – "Once a hullabaloo, always a hullabaloo".
What a season it's been for the lad. It began with him still apologising to the England fans for criticising them live into a camera as he trooped out of the World Cup, and from there saw him go from Old Trafford idol to villain back to idol again in the time it takes Coleen to change her shoes.
Not only did he inform the slightly cynical world that he wanted to leave United "because of ambition not money" but, after signing a five-year contract worth a very ambitious £50m, scored an overhead kick to win a Manchester derby which his manager called "the best goal I've ever seen at Old Trafford". There was also the time he scored a cracker in the Champions League final, the moment when he screamed the F-word into everybody's living room via Sky Sports and the strike which ensured United their 19th League title and Rooney his fourth.
This limelight-hogger gave his obsessive observers little rest when he was away from the pitch either. If he wasn't on the front pages with three-in-the-bed romps with prostitutes, he was canoodling with his new passion, Twitter, threatening naysayers with violent retribution. There were happy revelations, too, particularly when Coleen said she was standing by her love rat. Does Wayne deserve her? Probably not. But then, has he deserved any of these dramatic upturns in fortune?
It has been the most topsy-turvy year for any Premier League player in any Premier League season. Lesser men, lesser players, would have been history, or at least joined West Ham on loan. Yet somehow he has come through it all, with his career, his wife and his fanbase still intact and, with a new barnet grafted to a new attitude, can go on to fulfil his sporting destiny.
We can only pray he has learned his lessons and, now that he has found temporary sanctuary on those golden Caribbean sands with only turtles and the paparazzi for company, will pen down a few rules to follow next season:
1. Never, ever listen to your agent again.
2. Make Messi your role model.
3. Stick to the overhead kicks for acrobatic thrills.
4. Carry a beeper just in case you run into a TV camera.
5. Go easy on the oil-based gels, and deep-condition once a fortnight.
Wayne, do all this and, just like Coleen, we will not desert you. Why? Because you're worth it.
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