Yes, if you haven't heard, Wayne Rooney has signed a new contract with Manchester United. Pop the champagne. Break out the cake. Light the fireworks.
But, before we get too carried away with ourselves, can I ask this? Is anyone else sick and tired of professional athletes and their agents holding professional sports teams hostage?
It takes a certain level of cahonies to do it. Not just anyone has the personality or the makeup to pull this feat off.
First, you have to consider yourself one of the best in the world at what you do. It doesn't really matter if you are one of the best in the world, you just have to believe it yourself.
Second, you need an agent who, although he may not actually believe you are the top in your sport, will go along with the lie (if it is a lie) that you are. Basically, an agent that is good at being deceptive. Hhhmmm, sounds like a there might be one or two of them out there.
Third, you have to be in the right situation. The team has to be good; a team historically up near the top, but maybe struggling just a bit. That perfect situation must present itself at the right time. It's all about the timing. Well, the timing, the slimy agent and the cahonies.
Recently, such a situation presented itself, as you've no doubt heard, to Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney. Cahonies; check. agreeable agent; check. Good but slightly struggling team; check. Sounds like a good time to make a few demands, no?
Rooney had decided he no longer wanted to play for what is arguably the world's most desirable team. Fans of teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Inter Milan may beg to differ, but safe to say it would be a great destination for many of the world's top players.
Rooney has excelled at United. Making a quick escape from Everton at the age of 18, Rooney has become the face of the English Premier League. He is still only 24.
After perhaps his best season a year ago, everything has not been all wine and roses for the star. A poor World Cup, followed by a slow start to the season, capped off by a nice little scandal has certainly brought Rooney down from what the high point in his career just five or six months ago heading into South Africa.
The scandal, making its way to the tabloids a month or so ago, centered around Rooney and a prostitute who claimed he cheated on his wife last year while his wife was pregnant.
This scandal, timed with some poor play on the pitch, has led to a rough spell for Rooney. And it is the rough spell that led him last week, apparently, to decide his future did not lie with United.
Just a few days ago Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson admitted Rooney wanted to leave. "We have had a discussion about the whole situation," Ferguson said. "The player says he is adamant that he wants to leave."
Ferguson, clearly surprised by Rooney's sudden decision, also said, "Only months before he had said he was at the best club in the world,"
Ferguson sat Rooney out last month against his former club, Everton, right after the prostitute scandal broke, to protect his player from the media and fans. However, since then Rooney has seen less and less playing time, and supposedly an ankle injury was keeping him on the sidelines.
Rooney, for whatever reason, wanted out from the club, and contract negotiations had broken off. It looked like the January transfer window might be the end of the road for Rooney in United Red.
But hold on. Rooney has signed! Everything is fine! Long live United! We love Rooney!
But I wonder, do the events of the last seven to 10 days just magically get forgotten? Does changing your mind and deciding to stay suddenly forgive all transgressions? What prostitute? What poor play? In fact, what ankle injury? Seems Wayne has miraculously recovered from said ankle injury and will go this weekend versus Stoke?
I wonder if he hadn't signed how the ankle would be doing?
Many in England, before the signing was announced, were outraged that Rooney had turned his back on United.
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway recently echoed the sentiments of many during a press conference.
"For me, Man United has helped Wayne Rooney's career massively, on and off the field," he said. "The manager, and the club itself has invested in him. They bought him for massive amounts of money as a young man, and they're helping him blossom into the player that he is."
Holloway went on, "At the end of the day they bought him for 30 odd million, and he's gonna be allowed to walk out of there, if he stays and see his contract out, for nothing... Is it fair that Wayne Rooney walks out for nothing? No it isn't."
Of course, Rooney isn't going anywhere. Manchester United fans can forgive and forget. But what about non-United fans? What should we think about this whole sorted affair?
In the end perhaps Wayne Rooney looked in the mirror and realized he did owe something to this club. Did he owe everything to them for where he is now? No, certainly not. But did he owe them something? Yes, of course he did.
One just wonders if it was that look in the mirror that made him resign, or was something else self-serving in play here?
For now, let's cut the little man some slack and say, "Good for you, Wayne. You did the right thing".