On Tuesday of this week my journalistic colleague Eamonn McCann asked, in his column, ‘How come Cheryl Cole is a millionaire?’.
Now whether or not Ms Cole has the musical talent to deserve her fortune is debatable. Her songs are at best catchy - but not timeless. Her performance skills are hit and miss. There has been much furore over the fact she mimed her way through her performance on Sunday night’s X Factor - but in fairness to the girl she did have to put in a dance routine that would have most of us mere mortals calling for the cardiac ambulance.
But what she does have is the likeability factor. Her interview with Piers Morgan on Saturday night showed her to be very much still a normal girl at heart - heartbroken by the break up of her marriage, shell-shocked at her recent near death experience and sorry for any mistakes she may have made in the past (although the lamping a waitress in the toilets of a nightclub incident was brushed over).
She has that enviable quality of being exceptionally beautiful, stylish and wealthy and yet still being the kind of person who you think would be a good laugh to go out for a drink with or have a good gossip with.
Despite her fame and fortune and her position as Simon Cowell’s right hand woman she seems nicely grounded. Sure that might not mean she deserves her mammoth pay packet - certainly no more than any other nice and friendly worker in any job in the world - but I don’t begrudge her it either.
I can’t however say the same for the arrogant little eejit that is Wayne Rooney. I don’t pretend to know anything about football. I care even less. I will tolerate a certain level of discussion on the subject given the fact I have a six year old son who is becoming increasingly obsessed with the game.
I did, however, follow the saga of Wayne Rooney and his indiscretions with a call girl over recent months. I followed how Coleen took him back and how he wandered about very shamed faced knowing that he had just shown the world what a pathetic little cretin he really was.
I really didn’t think I could like him less and then, last week, he took things one step further - throwing his toys out of the pram and posturing about he how deserved loads of money.
I have said it before and I will say it again. It is only a game. These men may be skilled, yes, but they are skilled only at kicking a football around - something that my six year old can do. My son doesn’t deserve the world handed to him on a plate because of it and nor does Wayne Rooney - especially when he displays such utter arrogance and lack of empathy for anyone living in the real world.
Rooney signed a £50 million deal with Manchester United and will stay with the club for the next five years. To celebrate he and Coleen jetted off to Dubai where they are spending some of his fortune drinking champagne at £36 a glass and eating chicken nuggets and chips for £25 a portion. Someone should tell him about McDonalds. A Happy Meal with chicken nuggets and chips costs around two quid and they even throw in a free toy. It would certainly suit his spoiled, childish personality.
According to the Daily Mail, £50 million a year equates to a pay packet of £28,571 a day. I’d hazard a guess that the majority of Derry families survive on that income, or less, a year.
His hourly wage is £1,190. Shame football doesn’t operate on a clocking in and clocking out basis. How many hours a week does Rooney actually spend on a football pitch, I wonder?
When you think of this megabucks deal in conjunction with last week’s comprehensive spending review, it is all the more galling.
Over the next four years thousands of us will lose out. Families will lose their benefits or have them slashed. Thousands of people will lose their jobs - thousands of hard working, skilled and talented people who provide vital services will find themselves at the dole queue. The Arts will take a hammering. Health services will be diminished. Capital spend on key projects such as the improvement of schools and hospitals will be put on hold. Taxes will rise.
And all the while Wayne Rooney sits in Dubai ordering his fancy chips and nuggets and drinking cocktails at £17 each. He needs a dose of the real world, and fast.
Perhaps, however, the tide is already turning. He didn’t win himself any fans last week. Indeed those who were perhaps most loyal to him threw their hands up in disgust. Protestors gathered at his multi-million pound pad when he revealed that money, not loyalty to the club, was what was driving him.
Hopefully football fans have long memories and one day they will help teach Rooney a very important lesson - life owes you nothing and even less if you act the maggot.
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