Monday 19 February 2018

Fans delighted by change of heart

Adam Martin

WAYNE ROONEY went from villain to hero with Manchester United fans yesterday after agreeing a new €50m five-year contract with the club.

And after calling into question the ambition of his club and the ability of his team mates, he apologised to fellow players and his boss, Alex Ferguson said yesterday.

The club confirmed the news at lunchtime yesterday, ending an amazing week when Ferguson dropped the bombshell that Rooney wanted to leave the club on the eve of this week's Champions League match.

Emma Parish, from the Manchester United Supporters Trust, which has 163,000 members, said last night: "I was in the car when I heard on the radio and my jaw just dropped open. It was a surprise.

"I'm pleased and glad he is staying because he is a world-class player. I would have hated to see him in a Man City shirt.

"Everybody is flabbergasted at what has gone on this week, but the people I have spoken to are all pleased because you don't want your best players going."

Angry supporters had vented their frustrations on Rooney, not involved in United's midweek game through injury, with banners branding him disloyal.

And on Thursday night police had to be called to the footballer's mansion in the village of Prestbury, Cheshire, after a mob of up to 30 fans protested outside the property.

But ongoing talks between David Gill, the club's chief executive and Rooney's adviser Paul Stretford resulted in Rooney yesterday confirming he was staying put.

"I am delighted to sign another deal at United," Rooney said.

"In the last couple of days, I have talked to the manager and the owners and they have convinced me this is where I belong.

Genius

"I said on Wednesday the manager is a genius and it is his belief and support that have convinced me to stay.

"I am signing a new deal in the absolute belief that the management, coaching staff, board and owners are totally committed to making sure United maintains its proud winning history -- which is the reason I joined the club in the first place.

"I am sure the fans over the last week have felt let down by what they have read and seen.

"But my position was from concern over the future.

"The fans have been brilliant with me since I arrived and it's up to me through my performances to win them over again."

The United manager, who told Manchester radio station Key 103 that the player had made an apology to him and his team, spoke of his relief that a deal had been done.

"It's been a difficult week, but the intensity of the coverage is what we expect at Man-chester United," said Ferguson.

"I said to the boy that the door is always open and I am delighted Wayne has agreed to stay.

"I am pleased he has accepted the challenge to guide the younger players and establish himself as one of United's great players.

"It shows character and belief in what we stand for."

Irish Independent

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