Much has been made of Wayne Rooney’s engagement of law firm Schillings in an attempt to prevent John Sweeney’s Rooney’s Gold from being published. The reason becomes quite clear after you read it. This book is an unauthorized, uncensored story of a young man who exploded onto the football world before he was old enough to vote and has continued to provide the media with sensational headlines ever since. Readers must surely prefer to read this authentic account of what really is a good yarn instead of a sanitized, autobiography which will skirt around anything that may be unpalatable.
Rooney’s Gold is a biography of Manchester United and England star player by investigative journalist John Sweeney. He looked at the background of Rooney as he grew up in the Liverpool suburb of Croxteth which has a reputation for its gang violence, his marriage to childhood sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin, the well publicised but unproven allegation of dalliances with a prostitute grandmother and above all the messy dealings his family had with player agents.
The original intention was for the book to be published by Random House three years ago but it was dropped altogether after it was deemed to be unsuitable for publication. Since then however, Stretford has been discredited and suspended from being an agent for nine months. The book was eventually picked up by Biteback Publications after being updated from the original 2006 manuscript and decided to push ahead with it despite major hiccups with major book retailers.
Sweeney documents all the major events on and off the pitch. His father is a former boxer who was also a laborer earning £120 a week while young Wayne was growing up dreaming of one day playing for Everton. The rags to riches story continues as Rooney scored for Everton against Arsenal five days before his 17th birthday, the £25 million transfer to Manchester United at the age of 18 and the red card in England’s defeat to Portugal in the 2006 World Cup quarter finals.
It goes on to cover events from his marriage proposal to Coleen in a BP garage forecourt, their lavish multi million pound wedding on the Italian Riviera to the twisted ankle in the Champions League quarter final against Bayern Munich this year, which may have contributed to his ordinary World Cup performance.
Sweeney also covers the murkier side of football including unscrupulous agents, publicists, gangsters and blackmailers, not to mention the biggest villains of the piece, tabloid journalists who were all desperate to get their share of this remarkable story. Quite apart from being blessed with a god given football ability, Rooney was fortunate to be raised in a closely knit family who encouraged him to develop his talent.
Very few players went into the World Cup in South Africa with as much expectations as Rooney did by his country, making his sub standard performances so difficult to comprehend. It may even be possible that by reading Rooney’s Gold some sort of hidden flaw in his character may be uncovered which could explain the mystery.
Rooney’s Gold by John Sweeney is published by Biteback Publishing Ltd