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Manchester United: The greatest mind game Fergie ever played?

Could the old mastermind of the mind games be playing the game of his life from the director’s box? Is the Wayne Rooney saga all an elaborate mind game to fool Chelsea?

Traffic was a nightmare on the way home from work yesterday evening. As I sat in congestion listening to the agitated drivers around me honk their horns in a futile gesture I decided instead to relax and listen to the radio.

The sports news came on and Roy Hodgson was talking about Wayne Rooney. I claimed, as the last season reached its climax, as so many others did too, that Wayne Rooney had sealed his fate at Old Trafford and was heading on a one way trajectory towards the exit doors.

Popular opinion is that this scenario is the only one that can and will play out. But then I got to thinking. It seems awfully disingenuous of Sir Alex to leave the club, on one hand recommend Moyes to take his place, and yet on the other hand create a distracting mess around Wayne Rooney that for all intents and purposes is overshadowing preseason as well as the new managers first weeks in charge.

It’s a headache he didn’t need and one that Fergie seemed to engineer as the season drew its last breaths.

And that’s when it hit me, a revelation, and the proverbial lightning bolt. Could Fergie, instead of giving the new man in charge a drama and a problem he neither wants or needs, be actually giving him the best start a manager could ever want, especially when taking up the reins of a club like United?

Hear me out. Towards the end of the season Sir Alex takes Wayne Rooney into his confidence and lets him know that he’s retiring and that Moyes will be taking his place.

Probably a clandestine meeting with Fergie, Moyes, Rooney, maybe even the likes of Giggs in attendance. I haven’t yet worked out if Hodgson was also privy to the hatching of a masterplan but I’ll work through the scenario that played out in my head, which potentially played out in the corridors of power at Old Trafford.

So, Sir Alex asks Rooney to take part in a ruse. He tells him that he’s going to engineer a situation whereby it appears that he has lost all faith and confidence in his number 10, there’ll be talk of a transfer request. The new manager will be announced, the fact that it’s Moyes will further add to the speculation that Wayne’s future at the club is uncertain, perhaps even untenable.

He instructs Moyes to set the bait and see who bites, and who better than the newly appointed Chelsea boss?

He knows the media will be hooked on the story, imagine Manchester United losing their former golden boy to Chelsea, it’s unthinkable, but it has captured the attention of the press, of Mourinho and it seems that in all likelihood it could and possibly will happen. The dance plays out over the summer, Wayne isn’t picked for club games but is fit enough for selection for England?? Roy says he’s fit to play and is able to separate club from country. It only adds fuel to the fact that his lack of club selection is because he’s on his way out and United just haven’t had the right offer.

Meanwhile, over a bottle of vintage red wine, Fergie is working alongside the new Chairman to do a deal for Cristiano Ronaldo, the whole Fabregas pursuit has just been another smokescreen designed to give United’s rivals cause for celebration as it falls through. They see a United team that’s about to lose Rooney, hasn’t strengthened their squad, has failed to land their one and only high profile target and, on top of that haven’t had great results in preseason.

Moyes’ first season almost looks destined for anything but greatness, the United faithful fear a mediocre season and being pipped for league places by their closest rivals. Through it all the United hierarchy, and Wayne Rooney, behind closed doors, are very confident and comfortable.

Their coup of the century, the greatest mind game ever played by the master and his new apprentice will soon be realised, when Ronaldo once again dons the number 7 shirt and lines out to defend the title and challenge for so much more with Van Persie and Rooney alongside him in attack.

If this wildly speculative hypothesis is correct then David Moyes will forever be in the debt of Sir Alex, not just for putting him where he is, but for providing the most amazing foundation for a winning team, while embarrassing the press and Mourinho in the process, for they didn’t see it coming.

And Fergie? He loves the club too much not to exercise some Machiavellian brilliance when it’s needed the most.

What do you think of the theory? Possible or too far fetched even for Fergie?

image: © marcel sigg

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