Is Wayne Rooney a Manchester United Legend (and defining what a club legend is)?

A football legend isn’t too hard to try and define. Players who performed the greatest at the top level and found a way to keep themselves remembered way after they retire, by winning League titles or winning the Ballon d’or. A club legend on the other hand is way more subjective because more has to be done for a player to be considered a club legend. After Wayne Rooney equalised Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal record at Manchester United, there were many fans who stated that he is a Man United Legend because he’s won everything and equalised arguably the greatest England and Manchester United player’s long standing record, but there is more to it then that. A club legend is a decision that is agreed on by every fan, something that is decided unanimously and every fan will agree on without hesitation. Bobby Charlton is the perfect example of that. If you ask anyone at Old Trafford if Sir Bobby is a club legend, everyone would say of bleddy course he is, and that’s because Sir Bobby bled Manchester United. He was a Munich surviver who years later led Manchester United to a lot of success under one of our best managers we ever employed in Sir Matt Busby. He won the European Cup, the league and the Ballon d’or. He then became a director of Manchester United and was influencial in the growth of the class of 92 and to this very day he still goes to every United game home and away. There is no doubt he is a club legend. Sir Bobby epitomised the definition of a club legend and what every united player should aim towards. 

Sir Bobby is the easiest Man United player to define as a Man United legend. So is there anyone else? Well yes there is. The others being anyone who has a statue outside of Old Trafford, that being Sir Bobby, George Best, Denis Law, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson. All of them are legends by default because they are shown as the embodiment of the club, they won everything they could at club level and were loved by the fans. Goerge Best’s legend status could be argued, mainly based on the fact of how he treated some United managers after Bubsy left. But he’s got a statue so he must be. The only other players I’d consider to be club legends are some of the class of 92, being Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, because of their loyalty and longevity. I notice a lot of fans throw the legend status around a lot, with players like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Eric Cantona. But I don’t consider them club legends. Their are definitely icons to the club and played a huge part in our success in the 90s but they aren’t legends. Again this a topic that is very subjective so it’s hard to make this objective. The way of looking at this would be do these two deserve a statue? Have they done enough for the club to deserve one? And that is no. I love both of these players and I would consider Cantona to be a premier league great. But he was only at the club for 4-5 years. He wasn’t at the club long enough to be considered a legend. Even though he was influencial in defining Man United in the 90s and helped us win titles, he just wasn’t there long enough to have a bigger impact. We’ve had strikers with better strike rates than him with the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who scored so many goals. But Cantona had that presence and that God like talent that made him so memorable. It begs the question is it longevity that considers you a club legend? It plays a part but it isn’t the defining factor. Is it success? Also no. Bryan Robson is considered a legend by many of the older fans but he won as many league titles as Anderson. So success in a way means something but also nothing at the same time. The factor to me that plays the biggest part when it comes to defining a club legend is love. Players like Paddy Evra and Solskjaer showed their love to the club and how much they wanted to succeed and win. Even players now like Herrera show it. In fact Pogba went to meet a fan who travels across the world to watch Man United. Things like that make fans like you, showing a connection to the fans.

After all that it’s finally time to discuss Rooney. So is Rooney a Manchester United legend? On the surface many neutrals will consider Rooney a legend because of what he’s achieved. He’s won multiple Premier Leagues, a Champions League and an FA Cup, but as mentioned before success isn’t the main factor. He’s definitely played for United for most of his career and he has scored so many goals. But as mentioned before it’s about the connection to the fans, and that’s why he isn’t a legend. Wayne Rooney has never made an effort to connect with the fans. He’s treated it as a job since he arrived. The guy is a phenomenal footballer or was a phenomenal footballer. Wayne Rooney used to run through walls to get the ball and smash it in the back of the net. He was great for long time even till the end of Moyes time as manager and I’d consider him world class at one point in his career. But the fact that he has always treated like a job and not for love of the game and club is where I have a problem. Players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anderson Herrera and Paul Pogba have shown more love for the club and the fans this season than I have ever seen Rooney show. I constantly see Herrera be quoted saying how we need to improve and how much he loves playing for the club. I want him to be our captain instead of Rooney because of the passion he shows and it seems he loves the club and fans so much. I never see that from Rooney. Rooney doesn’t show the passion and love we’ve wanted him to show because he isn’t a united fan. The players I mentioned previously were all Manchester united fans as well as players and put their lives on the line for the club and staying involved. Rooney is an Everton fan. He takes his kids to Everton games because that’s the team he supports and grew up supporting. This is nothing against him personally because no one should force a man to support a team. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance and fans just don’t feel the connection because he isn’t a fan like them. One reason many don’t consider him a legend is the fact he has handed transfer requests in. The first being when United sold Cristiano Ronaldo and bought Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Overran. Rooney handed a transfer request because he was questioning the ambitions and goals of the club and he wasn’t the only one who did. I did. Following up the sale of the best player on the planet at the time with players who weren’t near the same level as him was not the right decision so I can understand why he was clearly frustrated. The other time would be in Fergie’s last season and I can understand why in that situation as well. It was clear Rooney was on the decline and it seemed Fergie new it, so he was trying to force him out by making him uncomfortable and making it hard for him to play the game. If your boss is treating you poorly you are going to want to leave. No one wants to work under someone who is treating you below usual standards. I still believe he was going to leave until Moyes arrived and made him captain and increased his wages. You really can’t blame either of them for that. Moyes wanted the fans to like him and he thought making the best player the captain would work, and Fergie left so he didn’t have a problem anymore. So his transfer requests are completely understandable. But the problem is still the lack of connection he has attempted to make with the fans over his 10 years with the club. I thank Rooney for what he’s done and hope he overtakes Sir Bobby because he deserves to, but I don’t think he’ll ever get a statue or be considered a legend by the majority of fans. He will be remembered for what he’s won and the goals he scored instead of his relationship with the fans.

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