"Nice to see your own fans booing you, that's what loyal support is."These were the words of Wayne Rooney as he left the field in Cape Town, staring straight down the lens of a camera after playing in possibly the worst England football performance for many a long year.
The 0-0 draw against Algeria was, from an England perspective weak, uninspiring, amateurish and utterly bewildering for its lack of cohesion. For those reasons alone, every England fan from Table Mountain to Wembley had all the justification in the world to boo their team's performance. Wayne Rooney, however, doesn't share our disappointment. Well Wayne, let us try and explain where we're coming from on this one.
For a start, us England supporters were under the strange misconception that you and your white-shirted colleagues were capable of undertaking the bare basics for any footballer worth his salt - namely to kick a ball in such a fashion that it reaches its intended destination. In case you're still not sure, Wayne, you have two options where this is concerned:
- A fellow team-mate of yours, or
- (and this is by far the ideal option) the back of the opposing team's goal net.
It's possible we've all over-estimated the capacity you and you colleagues have for playing such a high-quality brand of football week in and week out. On reflection though, this is unlikely. Why else would your respective clubs pay you more per week than many of us booing ignoramsuses earn in several years?
You live in lavish, enormous houses, own cars the likes of us will only ever see in magazines and travel to parts of the world we can only ever dream of. Your very reputation as a footballer of the highest quality can open doors that permanently keep us riff-raff out.
You can't have reached that sort of position in life by playing the kind of football seen in every Primary School playground up and down the UK, can you? Oh... perhaps you have.
There are no excuses. Having nerves when faced up against a team that was beaten by Malawi at the last African Cup of Nations makes no sense. The Jabulani ball may be deemed to have unpredictable movement by some, but not by you, Wayne. You said as much to the press this week, remember? And tiredness? Don't give us that. You're just the latest in a long line of football players stretching back over more than a hundred years, all of whom got tired but didn't use it as an excuse to play like a bunch of clueless lightweights as you did last night.
No Wayne, the reason why so many of us were booing is because each and every one of us realises how lucky it is to have a national team to support at the finals of a World Cup. It only comes around every four years, and even then our team doesn't always qualify, but this time it did. We were ready to get behind you and your fellow professionals knowing that you all realised what a rare privilege it was to play at a World Cup. We wanted to feel the glory just like you and your mates, and we provided every single ounce of support you could ever have wished for. All it needed was for you and the team to match that in effort and skill, for that is what we know you're all capable of.
You let us down Wayne. That's why we booed. Remember that as you go back to your cossetted life of luxury and happiness. Some of us have to work a damn sight harder than you to get it, but all we ask for is a little escapism to numb the pain from day to day. That's what you're there for, Wayne, but perhaps we were asking for too much.