Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk
Rooney Tunes By Mike Parry
Release date: 21st June, 2006
Publisher: John Blake Publishing
Our Price: £11.87
You Save: £6.12 (34%)
A good friend of mine has been a season-ticket holder at Goodison Park for over twenty years, during which time he has witnessed great times (league titles, FA Cups, European success) and the bad - including, at one stage, an almost perennial battle to avoid the drop.
He's now a director at one of the country's highest-profile companies and not a man given to hyperbole, at least not in his day job. Yet one Saturday night, about five years ago, he called sounding a little breathless.
"You ok, mate?" I enquired.
"Yeah, fine. Just been to see the Blues."
"I thought they were playing away."
"They are. I went to see the reserves." I dismissed this foolish waste of an afternoon as misplaced fanaticism.
"Listen," he said, conspiratorially, "I've just seen a lad who is a future England captain. Absolutely out of this world. Remember the name: Wayne Rooney."
That's a true story, not an attempt at a clever introduction to a book review. My pal's enthusiasm was shared by several other Evertonians I've known for years, most of whom wondered why he wasn't in the first team - although he was only 15!
I suspect that the first time Mike Parry saw Rooney play, he felt much the same way. His celebration of this youngster's ability and prospects may sit uneasily with some - clearly Rooney is as susceptible to injury as any other footballer - but Parry harbours a belief in "The Roon's" ability that borders on the religious.
It would be a mistake, however, to think this book concentrated solely on Rooney's time at Goodison Park.
Following his final match for Everton, a 5-1 thrashing against Manchester City at the end of the 2003-04 season, he was on his way to even more fame and greater fortune at Manchester United.
Few Everton fans had any inkling that their star player would move. That Rooney moved 35 miles east was interpreted by some fans as the greatest possible betrayal.
Supporters vented their feelings in a variety of ways, one of the more printable reactions being the graffiti outside Everton's ground which read ' Could have been a God - but chose to be a Devil'. Here, though, Parry succeeds in showing how difficult it was for Rooney to leave his home town club, relating his faltering conversations with chairman Bill Kenright and manager David Moyes.
In truth, Rooney has become a better player since deciding upon the move to Old Trafford and diehard Everton man or not, Parry has the good grace to acknowledge this.
Attitudes towards Rooney on the Blue half of Merseyside have mellowed over the past two years, during which he has become an established and vitally important England international. He has also accumulated considerable wealth. Parry reckons he is worth some £20 million; not bad for a lad from Croxteth.
This book offers not a traditional biographical picture of Wayne Rooney, but a snapshot of his life through the eyes of an well-known and experienced journalist. Parry writes with zest, enthusiasm and obvious delight about the 20-year-old and if my pal was breathless after watching Rooney play in the reserves, Parry believes he (Rooney) saved his life. The publicity blurb accompanying this book calls Mike Parry "Wayne Rooney's most vocal champion in the media"; he should meet my mate.
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