He’s always been an angry man, has ol’ Wayne Rooney. From stamping on Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2006 World Cup right up to today, 12 years on, and angrily leaving the field having been substituted almost an hour into the Merseyside derby.
We’d imagine, then, that controlling the sometimes hot-headed star can’t be an easy job. Fortunately for Everton fans, they have just the man to do it: Sam Allardyce.
Imagine having thrown a strop and – in true toddler fashion – frustratedly feeling as if the world has turned against you. Whose engulfing arms and comforting reassurance would you crave most? We won’t bother answering that for you; Big Sam has already come to mind.
Following Rooney’s temper-tantrum during Saturday’s draw with Liverpool, the level-headed Brummie boss has given his opinion on the matter and told press that he’ll be meeting with the 32-year-old forward sometime this week.
Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “Wayne’s disappointment was frustration at the fact of being an Evertonian through and through. He’s been an Evertonian all his life,”.
For those wondering, Big Sam means ‘Liverpudlian’ when he says ‘Evertonian’, it just sounds more PR friendly putting it that way. And quite why growing up in Liverpool should make anyone so frustrated is beyond us; it’s a nice city with a river and everything.
Anyway, he continued, “We’ll sit down in the next week and we’ll talk it through and we’ll see how he feels. I’m sure he’s calmed down a little bit now.”
Sadly, Big Sam was wrong and Wayne Rooney hadn’t calmed down one bit. But fortunately for you, dear reader, we were able to sit in on the pair’s meeting; which took place in secret on Monday morning. Things got off to a rocky start.
A wheelie tray stood upright immediately by the open door to Allardyce’s office. On it was a selection of drinks, strewn fairly randomly as if not to impose any formality upon the easily shaken Rooney. The fella is like an untamed animal in the face of bureaucratic table arrangements.
“Right, for a start, Sam, you chubby, smug, big-headed oaf, I ain’t interested in any of yer bevvies and they ain’t gonna butter me up. No Tennent’s Super, no Bisto, and certainly no Cherry Lambrini. So, you can bin them for a start.”
Rooney was raging, neat refreshment placement or not.
“Waste not, want not, my boy,” Allardyce calmly retorted as he screwdrivered a blue tin down his throat. “Thought that pink Lambers would be right up your street. Moving on. Let’s get started.”
The Everton manager was like a cool father in the face of his son’s first hissy-fit. Despite Rooney’s glowing scarlet face, things seemed under control.
“Talk to me, lad.”
“I jus’, I jus’, I jus’, you know, I jus’ get so frustrated, Sam.”
“Is this about being Evertonian again, Wayne?” Sam intently gazed with a genuinely tender look in his eyes.
“Sam, mate, stop sayin’ Evertonian. It’s like calling Arsenal fans Arselonian, they’re jus’ Londoners. Well, about a sixth of ‘em are Londoners. I’m Scouse, in’ I? Liverpudlian, mate.” Rooney’s pale blue eyes began to well up. “Why did I pick the sh*t team from ‘Pool, gaffer? Why?”
“Little prince, life revolves around fate. Have I ever told you my favourite quote; a quote I believe every man should learn as a child and die for as an adult? No? Then I’ll tell you now. In fact, it’s tattooed across my chest, just ending by my beating heart. When I leave this world, those precious words will outlive me and I shall truly die a happy man.”
Big Sam arose, his towering figure dwarfing the office, and unbuttoned his shirt.
Heaving the great sheet over his head, he revealed the clear and distinctly inked words. They read, ‘Trust your heart. Let fate decide.’ Poignantly appropriate stuff, we feel.
“Do you know who said that, my lamb? Phil Collins did. Now there’s a man’s man and a man you should look up to at that.”
“I do, Sam. ‘There’s this girl that’s been on my mind all the time, Sussudio,’ am I right?”
“Not as profound, but, yes, precious, ‘Sussudio’ is a big tune. The point is this, mind, your fate is already set for you in this life, Wayne, so you might as well be happy with it. She can be a cruel mistress at times, but you’ll come to love her.”
“You mean, comin’ to Everton wasn’t a premature end to my once promising career?”
“No, petal, of course not. Now, I won’t have any more tantrums – look at me, Wayne, look at me – do you understand? Wayne, I said do you understand?”
Rooney stifled a sob and choked out a small ‘yes’.
“There’s a good boy. Listen, you can always talk to Uncle Sam, got it? Whenever things get too much for you, my door is forever open. Come on, my English rose, share a beer with me.”
Wayne Rooney, 32, sniffed and managed that childlike grin famous among teenagers who’ve just been let off the hook by their angered mother. “Go on then, boss. And, Sam,” he paused, looking up, “thank you.”
“No problem, lad. Pass me the tinnies. There’s a good chap.”
We left the two to their tender moment of gaffer-player bonding time just as ‘Against All Odds’ floated around Everton’s Finch Farm.
Rooney started singing. “So take a look at me nowww, there’s jus’ an empt -”
“Now, now, young man. I won’t have any of that negativity in here.”
A can pierced and furious glugging ensued. A burp. ‘Easy Lover’ began. “That’s better, isn’t it, Wayne?”