Excuse my cynicism, but the way I see it, Manchester United agreeing to pay Wayne Rooney a wage of £300,000 per week – yes, that’s an awful lot more than money being paid to some of Ireland’s executives for a year’s work - must have more to do with his potential to sell jerseys than his ability to bring trophies to Old Trafford. And his new contract is for five years.
Tom Finney’s not long dead, but he must be spinning in his grave. Here was one of England’s greatest-ever Internationals who was paid less per week - £15 - than Rooney would fork out for his supply of daily newspapers. When his career was over, he went back to work as a plumber. Probably had to.
Where is it all going to end? It made headlines a number of years back when the half-million mark was breached.... for a transfer. Could it happen that in a few years’ time that the Premier League will present its first player to get that in his weekly pay packet? Of course it could.
It’s unlikely Man U will get a trophy this year in return for the money they’re paying Rooney and the others. Everything is gone at domestic level, with fancy odds being laid about the Red Devils making the Top Four. You can even get a price about them finishing in the Top Six. But the Euro door is still open, if only slightly.
Coming up this evening is an away game with Olympiakos, the dominant force in Greek football for the past two decades but serial underachievers in Europe.
Their stadium in Athens holds 34,000 but the atmosphere can be raucous. Still, United, even without the services of the cup tied Juan Mata, should have enough in their locker to reach the quarter-finals. How far they go after that is the question.
It’s fancy odds against most of the other English teams still involved - all of them better placed domestically than United - figuring at business end of the Champions’ League, so you’d have to think it’s only Stretford End romantics who believe Euro glory will be returning this year to the city’s red half.
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