Thursday, 10 September 2015

Well Done Wazza!

Congratulations to the Pie-Faced Wonder. Wayne Rooney crashed home another penalty to see him become England's record scorer. Glenn Hoddle purred that the keeper got nowhere near it. The keeper touched it on its way in actually, Glenn, but then, with your hotline to God, you do see things move in mysterious ways.

It is undeniable that Wazza is now the greatest striker England have ever had. Then again Margaret Thatcher was PM for 11 long years but that doesn't make her the best we've had unless you're a proto fascist fuckwit with all the empathy of a tapeworm - or George Osborne to give that worm its proper name.

Certainly those of us that witnessed the manchild's brawny arrival on the international would be unsurprised to have been told 11 years later that the lad had surpassed Sir Bobby in the legion of goalscoring greats. At that time Rooney looked capable of anything. Three Weetabix, a cow-pie and a liaison with a forty-something hooker... and it's not even nine o'clock.

Since then, like many an English prodigy he has slipped slowly back into the ranks of the Merely Very Good at a time when the Very Best are, when it comes to Messi and Ronaldo, Bloody Ridiculously Good Like You Might Be If You Were Having The Most Wonderful Dream Ever.

But even in the company of England's finest finishers, he's a little bit wanting.

Jimmy Greaves was the finisher supreme, they tell me. Fleet of foot, lithe and slippery, good on either side. And he did all this on pitches that halfway through October turned into the sort of pasture a herd of cattle might turn its nose up at. Those eyes that were once cold and ruthless lost their lustre in the perennial post-playing battle with the booze. He had a massive stroke recently but somehow football and its fans have mustered the £30,000 necessary to pay for his physiotherapy, possibly by asking every Premier League player to contribute 0.00001% of his weekly salary to help the greatest goal-taker the top division has ever seen. Or not.

Bobby Charlton took the record from Greavesie of course. He had much in common with the man who beat him at Wembley. They both played for Man U, both scored 49 goals from 106 games, both had humble beginnings and both were at pains to deny their baldness.

The Charlton comb-over fooled no one. Indeed the smallest breeze left Bobby's pate glisteningly free while the strands flew in his wake like a plume of smoke from a steamboat's funnel. (C.f Alan Gilzean, Ralph Coates - what the hell were they thinking?)

Rooney of course bought himself a topweave which to this day looks a little like it belongs to someone else. Frankly, footballers shouldn't give a shit whether their heads can be slapped or not. It's of no bloody consequence whatsoever and a bit pathetic and vain to think that it is.

Similarities between Wazza and Chazza end there though. Charlton was a barnstorming midfielder whose gentle demeanour was at odds with the dynamite in his boots. Rooney's dynamite is as likely to emerge from his brain as his boot. Cristiano Ronaldo can tell you that.

Michael Owen seemed destined to overhaul Charlton but ended up falling short. Well, writhing in agony on a touchline, really, as, once again, hamstrings overworked in his late adolescence by unthinking staff at Anfield twanged like so much perished elastic. Owen is now the least charismatic football pundit in living memory and I wish him every success with the gee-gees instead. Indeed any one of his gee-gees could make a more inspired contribution to a half-time review on BT Sport.

Before Owen we had the saintly Gary. Now there was a crisp finisher. He barely set foot outside the box, and now he's barely off it. Except for that penalty he would have joined Bobby. Rooney's penalty v Switzerland was struck with all the vehemence Lineker's lacked. For a man so wonderfully clinical in front of goal it is a moment of unrivalled embarrassment for Gaz: it's the football equivalent of Heston Blumenthal burning the toast or Darcey Bussell falling on her arse.

Each of these surpassed goalscorers seem to be better at scoring goals than Wayne. There are numerous reasons to downgrade Rooney's achievement then. His performances in major tournaments have been woeful since 2004. He has neither the predatory skill of Lineker or Greaves or the midfield drive and purposefulness of Charlton. But does that really actually matter folks?

In his defence, Rooney has often, both for club and country, had to 'do a job' for the team - which translates as having to be plopped somewhere because teammates are less adaptable. The current England dressing-room seem to admire him enormously - and like him too - which I'm imagining is less likely if you have to hang your coat on the peg next to the Gelled Winker Cristiano, or a truculent narcissist like Ibrahimovic.

Furthermore, the lad, regardless of whether he's having a stinker (and sometimes he looks like he's wearing cotton-wool boots), puts in a hell of a shift every time. Beckham had his limitations, many more than Wazza, and yet you could never doubt his commitment either.

So, while comparisons are odious - I haven't even mentioned Lofthouse and Shearer, who to my mind is still the best English centre-forward of my lifetime - let us not be so bloody churlish. I've heard people moan that Andy Murray is well boring (he sort of is), or that Stuart Broad is an arrogant sod (he can be), or that Lewis Hamilton is a massive cock (he is, he so is) but that doesn't mean we downgrade their achievements. And any road, Wayne seems to me like a decent fella.

So. Raise a glass to the lad, hell, have a fag too. He would if it were you


  1. Great to have you back and as ever great blog. Am I first?

  2. You will have made Phillip Neville a very happy man at your description of Owen as a pundit. Great article as always Robbo. I do think Rooney is a good player and even better than some others of the golden generation. He is also young enough to put the record out of sight. He has made mistakes but that is because he is human and had a shed load of money thrown at him from an early age. Not the best I agree but I wish he was Scottish. We could do with either him or his granny as a striker.

  3. Nice one, RR - as the Stranger (Sam Elliott) said in The Big Lebowski, "Sometimes there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there." Not that he's El Waynerino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing), but he's done a lot more than show up, like you mentioned, each time he's pulled on the England shirt. Good for him.

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  5. Good stuff Robbo. He's a hard worker that's for sure and not short of skill, he's durable and he's a team player but he's also been a bit of a dick on occasion. Perhaps all that's behind him and the best is yet to come. The comparison isn't worth all the columns though, different class of man and a very different type of player, Charlton could as easily score as he could mark the Kaiser out of a world cup final. Beckenbauer would piss himself if they told him Rooney was marking him. Charlton made everybody around him better which I've never seen Rooney manage to do, it always looks like such a struggle but congratulations to him, he had to put in the work and he's finally got his head on straight it seems.

  6. Interesting that you mention Messi and The Gelled Tumbler Robbo.Interesting set of stats in The Times yesterday.Rooney gets referred to as a bit of a flat track bully,not scored enough when it matters (i.e in major tournaments) but his goals at major tournaments are pretty much the same as the other two.Most leading scorers for international teams are currently playing,so it suggests there are probably a lot more easy games to play (Robbie Keane has scored an awful lot of his 67 international goals against the likes of San Marino)

    I suppose this is a long winded way of me saying he's good but not great.

  7. Great Blog, Robbo - describing the jug-eared one as a crisp finisher - pure genius. Can you do something about the photo of Dick Advocaat looking like an Eastern Bloc leader circa 1957 and making Avram Grant the Laughing Cavalier? Perhaps a picture of the Special One after Chelski's latest defensive disaster?


  8. Still think Chelsea will win it, Robbo? My god what a disaster. Only there things to sort out though, attack, midfield and defence. Oh and the goalkeepers injury. I think they'll avoid relegation though. Just. It's this why Mourinho never stays long? The spell fades quicker than Germany's open border policy.
    On a brighter note, stoke's start has been even worse than Chelsea. Who do they think they are trying not to lump it up to the big lad up front?
    And what about de gea? Is nothing stable predictable or certain in this world any more? Are we condemned to a future where Chelsea don't win, stoke don't hoof it, real Madrid and England's greedy elites don't get their own way?

    Hope so.

  9. I love the comments on Stoke blogs. You have to feel sorry for Chelsea, oh no you don't. I think they needed to buy that Stones fellow from Everton. He looked really good on Saturday. I just hope there will be not too much hype about Martial though. A great goal but he has plenty time to grow into the premier league. Just a shame Palace couldn't hold on to the draw.

  10. What a fortuitous injury for Everton - Martinez had the team all set up for the usual (boring) home draw, treating Chelsea as though they were thundering down the stretch firing on all cylinders, rather than choking and wheezing out of the starting blocks. On comes Naismith, attack-minded, no respect for the slow of foot or wit, and there you have it. That's what you're supposed to do when teams are as far off the boil as Chelsea are at the moment. League Champs? That was last year.

  11. Just WTH happened with Chelsea? Perhaps Jose has really lost it. One can only hope. OTOH, nothing changed on how De Gea plays, it seems. A Benteke special was pretty much unbeatable. And Martial 'flaw' now became Martial 'arts' ... ha! And who was that goalscorer for City?

    1. As a Liverpool fan I'm considering supporting Man City instead.Being blue is better than feeling blue. I'm beginning to think Sterling is a bloody genius. Rogers is leading the club up a blind alley. He has had four years to get the defence right and he hasen't managed it.

  12. WELL DONE Wayne. Just one WC Winners Medal needed to equal Sir Bobby's record now!


  13. I was really impressed by most of Man Utds play last night. They dominated everything but the score. Just a few tweaks and it will start going better I think. At least it brings some hope.

  14. Late to the party, but congratulations to Rooney.

    All the paralels are bollox, he's number one now, and that's a fact.

  15. Late to the party, but congratulations to Rooney.

    All the paralels are bollox, he's number one now, and that's a fact.