Wayne Rooney's Manchester United timeline
“Remember the name Wayne Rooney” – Clive Tyldesley’s iconic words that marked the arrival of a 16-year-old Everton apprentice on the scene with a goal that brought an end to Arsenal’s 30-match unbeaten league run in 2002 are pure bliss for any football fan.
A legend was born that day as he became the youngest scorer in Premier League history and it was just a sign of things to come.
Today, July 10th 2017, marks Rooney’s return to Goodison Park after a 13-year spell at Manchester United where he has every trophy possible at club level and will walk out as the club’s leading goal-scorer. Adored by the Old Trafford faithful as “The White Pele”, Rooney was more than just about scoring goals.
Rooney epitomised everything that the club stood for – passion, determination, courage, and selflessness – the latter of which has given Rooney more stick than love from even a section of the United fans who believe that Rooney never realised his true potential.
Many believed that he fell behind while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi surged forward with their goal-scoring exploits but at United, Rooney simply sacrificed his personal glory for the club’s sake.
Even when Rooney asked for a transfer away from Old Trafford – not once, but twice – the fans stood by him and the man repaid the faith with his performances week in, week out. True, the goals have dried up and he may have lost the pace he displayed as an energetic teenager who arrived at Carrington all those years ago, but with Rooney gone, the United fans will be missing someone they adored to the core. Someone United may never replace as a presence in the dressing room.
As Rooney bids farewell to United and seeks a renaissance at his boyhood club, let’s take a look at the definitive timeline of his time at United, where he arrived as a brazen teenager and left as a club legend.
#1 Wayne Rooney signs for Manchester United (August 31, 2004)
Wayne Rooney spent two seasons at Merseyside before putting in a transfer request during the 2004 summer transfer window amidst interest from Manchester United and Newcastle United. The decision to leave the club he supported and played for all his life was not an easy one, but it was one which was needed to fulfil his immense potential.
However, Everton was not willing to let Rooney go cheap and rejected a bid of £20 million from Newcastle United. But it was Manchester United that had their eyes set on Rooney and were not willing to let him off the hook in any manner and finally got their man hours before the transfer deadline for a fee of £25.6 million.
It was the most expensive transfer fee for a teenager but something Sir Alex Ferguson was hell bent upon as he wanted the man he described as the best player England had seen over the past 30 years at all cost. And what a wise investment it would prove to be.