Champions League - Paper Round: What is Rooney's F-word?

Thu, 07 Apr 08:41:00 2011

Manchester United's Champions League win at Chelsea hogs the back pages this morning, with enough competing storylines to suggest The Wire's writers had a hand in last night's script.

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First up, United's own Jimmy McNulty, wayward hero Wayne Rooney, who shrugged off the alleged double personal torment of being dropped by Coke (last year), and swearing on TV (a few days ago), to produce an exceptional performance.

Rooney scored the winner, and his celebration was altogether cheerier than on Saturday, when he yelled random obscenities at the nearest camera on completing his hat-trick at West Ham - hence The Sun's back page headline, which guffaws: 'Oh I say old bean, what a splendid goal'.

Our own Jim White, writing in the Daily Telegraph, goes where United fans fear to tread, likening Rooney's last two performances to "those of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Peter Schmeichel 12 years back". Let the Treble Talk commence...

Over at the Guardian, Daniel Taylor says last night reminded us which F-word Rooney is really all about.

The answer, for those struggling at the back of the class, is 'Football'.

But shock horror! The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel also assigns Rooney a new F-word - a different one! Samuel goes for 'Fun'.

The Times reports some post-match quotes from Rio Ferdinand with the bizarre headline: 'Rooney lynch mob are over the top, says Ferdinand'.

Er, can't we take it for granted that most lynch mobs are over the top?

Rio's offending utterance: "We should follow him as a footballer rather than keep lynching him for a lot of the stuff that goes on."

Where Rooney was good, Fernando Torres was horribly out of sorts.

The Times's Oliver Kay sums up his predicament thus: "Torres and Didier Drogba are not so much on different wavelengths but on an altogether different frequency."

That line is probably funnier if you've got a Physics GCSE.

Steven Howard of The Sun has the brass neck to suggest the baffling decision to take off Drogba and leave the toiling Torres on was "probably on instructions from the Chelsea owner".

Then there's the penalty Chelsea were denied after Patrice Evra brought down Ramires in stoppage time.

Ancelotti risks a run-in with UEFA after suggesting referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco lacked "personality, courage and character", while Alex Ferguson laughed it off as  "the first penalty decision we’ve had in seven years" at Stamford Bridge.

The press is united in its scorn for the extra match officials who lurk uselessly at either end of the pitch.

After TV anchor Adrian Chiles described them as "chocolate teapots", there is widespread incredulity that the gentleman standing next to Edwin van der Sar's goal was unable to spot Evra's scything foul.

Finally, Ancelotti's position has been called into question after Roman Abramovich and squeeze Dasha Zhukova saw the oligarch's expensively-acquired side outplayed.

The Sun's Howard writes that Abramovich hired Ancelotti specifically to win the Champions League, and another premature exit could signal the end of the Italian.

He suggests there may even be a rotund lady already clearing her throat in the wings.


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