GETTY IM­AGES

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODHANGOUTS -

In my opin­ion, it was up there with the part­ner­ships of Gary Lineker and Peter Beard­s­ley and Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham.

But at the mo­ment, it’s about Wayne Rooney, and Michael isn’t get­ting the goals to change that. – The Tele­graph FOR­GET last week­end’s em­phatic score­line and Manch­ester United’s as­cent to the sum­mit of the Premier League. This was, af­ter all, an FA Cup week­end when United’s ti­tle ri­vals were oth­er­wise en­gaged.

Re­gard­less of the ruth­less dis­man­tling of Hull City, when the out­come of this sea­son is de­cided, it will be Alex Fer­gu­son’s man­age­ment of the three ‘Rs’ – Rooney, Rio and re­bel­lion – that will ul­ti­mately de­fine whether the 2009-10 cam­paign is viewed as the one dur­ing which Manch­ester United made his­tory for all the right rea­sons by claim­ing an un­prece­dented fourth suc­ces­sive cham­pi­onship.

Last Satur­day, as Hull were brushed aside by Rooney’s first four-goal dis­play as a pro­fes­sional, there was lit­tle to sep­a­rate the Eng­land for­ward’s im­pact from that of the re­turn­ing Rio Fer­di­nand and the muti­nous air within the sta­dium.

Rooney’s per­for­mance quite rightly topped the bill, but the pres­ence of Fer­di­nand at the heart of United’s back four, three months af­ter suc­cumb­ing to a per­sis­tent back in­jury, did not go un­no­ticed.

Yet nei­ther did the dis­cord on the Stret­ford End which, by the end of the game, had spread to Old Traf­ford’s more re­strained sec­tions.

De­spite Fer­gu­son’s pre-match call for unity in his pro­gramme notes, prompted by grow­ing sup­porter anger to­wards the club’s own­ers, the Glazer fam­ily, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Blunt chants about the Glaz­ers, whose £500 mil­lion bond is­sue aimed at al­le­vi­at­ing United’s £716.5 mil­lion debt has proved suc­cess­ful, were as preva­lent as the greenand-gold scarves and shirts – the colours of United’s fore­run­ner, New­ton Heath – worn by sup­port­ers as a sym­bol of their an­tipa­thy to­wards the Amer­i­cans.

On the is­sue of the club’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, it is clear that Fer­gu­son and a vo­cal sec­tion of the club’s sup­port­ers hold con­flict­ing opin­ions, but while the fans made their point, Fer­gu­son’s play­ers made the man­ager’s for him by swat­ting the re­volt aside to take care of busi­ness on the pitch.

Rooney and Fer­di­nand were the ar­chi­tects of United’s victory, but they were im­pres­sively as­sisted by the much-ma­ligned Por­tuguese winger, Nani, and Michael Owen, mak­ing only his fifth start of the sea­son, whose linkplay with Rooney sug­gested that Fer­gu­son might need to re­think his the­ory that the two for­wards are in­com­pat­i­ble.

Owen’s pres­ence cre­ated space for Rooney and re­lieved the goalscor­ing bur­den on the 24-year-old.

They have seen off bet­ter de­fend­ers than Hull’s Paul McShane and An­thony Gard­ner in their time and it showed.

Phil Brown, the Hull man­ager, said: “It would be great to man­age Wayne Rooney. The lad just wants to play foot­ball and he has that boy­ish en­thu­si­asm that you want from ev­ery player.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.