Rooney taught us all about crushing heartbreak

I think everyone remembers where they were when it happened. Every Everton generation has that JFK moment where they can recall exactly where they were and what they were doing when their hero left.

Alan Ball had every Everton fan of a certain age in tears, and everyone who had the erm…pleasure of watching us in the horrible 90s remembers the aftermath of that Newcastle game when Big Dunc was sold behind everyone’s back. I just about remember the Dunc saga, but was a little too young and distanced to feel it as deeply as most did.

My generation has the moment Wayne Rooney left. I was born a month after Wayne Rooney. Season ticket holder, 18 years old, and had just spent the last 2 years watching a boy my own age making a mug of the football world. For Everton, and for England. I had never felt so connected or so proud to be Everton. This is a lad who is going to be the best in the world. And he isn’t just ours, he is mine.

So August 2004, where was I? At the cinema in Wigan with my football hating best friend, trying to block out the world. I’d had about all I could take of sitting in front of Sky Sports News all day and praying for them to be lying, so I went out. I don’t even remember what I watched, but I remember coming out after the film to a text message from my dad that simply said, ‘he’s gone.’ Sky Sports News straight on again as soon as I got home to see him there are Old Trafford in that horrendous jumper, and just like that, every pure, innocent love I ever had for football evaporated.

If my hero could do this to me, nothing I hold sacred exists anymore! And for 13 years, I have hated him. The hate may have cooled for many, if it was ever even there, (that day he scored the winner at Anfield in front of the Kop and prompted Kopites to chuck mobiles at him aside) but I have never forgiven him. He is that bastard, your first love who broke your heart, ran off with someone else, and taught you what crushing heartbreak truly feels like. And no matter how much time heals that pain and you move on from it, just the thought of him reminds you how it felt.

The idea of inviting him back into your life has always felt like absolute stupidity, just begging to be hurt all over again. But it has happened anyway. I’m probably in a very small minority who can’t see the romantic side of all of this, and am still too upset at that 18 year old boy who broke my heart, to the extent I just can’t look at the transfer emotionally.

Is it a good signing in a footballing sense? Yes I can see the positives definitely. He isn’t the player he was and he won’t be our star man by any means, but he will bring us experience, creativity, leadership, squad depth, all things we severely lack right now, but still need despite all the excitement rightly being created by our transfer activity so far. Off the pitch, his influence will be even greater, with the club already enjoying a massive increase in profile in the less than 48 hours since he signed.

As for winning me over emotionally, it remains to be seen if he will. I don’t need to love every player in an Everton shirt to appreciate their contribution. Hell, I outright hated Victor Anichebe, and am still laughing that West Brom gave us real money for him! Players have won me over before now. I never thought I’d forgive Steven Pienaar for jibbing out of that Derby game when he went to Spurs, but he managed to redeem himself in his last spell here. Rooney has a lot more winning over to do, but at the end of the day, Everton are what comes first, and I will be happier than anyone if he does. Right now though, I’m probably the least enthusiastic Everton fan around about Rooney’s return, but I’ll gladly eat my words with a spoon if he manages to win me back in the next two years!

Debbie Smaje

Follow Debbie on Twitter: @SmudgeEFC1985

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