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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rooney will need lots of goals to win back United fans

MANCHESTER: Wayne Rooney scarves were back on sale at full price on Friday but it could take plenty of goals before some of Manchester United's supporters buy the items or welcome him back into their affections.

The news that the England striker had changed his mind about leaving Old Trafford was the hot topic of conversation in rainy Manchester.

Fans at a tram stop asked "Did you hear about Rooney?" and others in a pub speculated he would never have joined rivals Manchester City.

Outside Old Trafford, shortly after Roo­ney had penned a new five-year deal after saying he wanted to leave the club earlier this week, scarf seller John Speed had several "Wayne Rooney, the white Pele, United legend" red and white scarves draped over his arms.

"I was selling them at half price earlier this week but I couldn't get rid of them," said Speed. "He has got a lot of bridges to build, he has upset players, staff and fans.

"The only place he's going to win them over is in there," he added pointing at the stadium. "That's what he's paid for. He has alienated a lot of people and that's all he can do."

Rooney, who turns 25 today, shocked fans by announcing a change of heart on Friday after earlier saying he wanted to quit the club because trophies were im­­portant to him and United did not seem to be committed to bringing in new players.

Fans took that to mean he thought the club lacked ambition and some blamed United's American owners, the Glazer family, for failing to make funds available for the transfer pot.

"This is a show of supporter power," Man­chester United's Supporters Trust vice chairman Sean Bones told Reuters.

"(Manager Alex) Ferguson showed at his press conference (this week) how important it was for him to retain Rooney and fans backed the manager. If ... Rooney had left they could have been on the edge of a supporter revolt," added Bones.

Rooney, sidelined with an ankle injury, needs to get back to the sort of form he showed in scoring 34 goals last season before the hearts of some fans start to melt – especially as his new deal is likely to have given him a big pay rise despite just one goal this term.

"There is no excuse now. He needs to get his finger out and get stuck in," said taxi driver Jan Walker.

"He has realised no one is bigger than the club. His next match will be crucial." Reuters