Everyone asked believes that Wayne Rooney will get the reception he deserves at Old Trafford this afternoon, as the club's record scorer returns with Everton.
Jose Mourinho has been among the myriad stressing that Rooney is a United legend, although did caveat his praise with a curious undermining of his goalscoring record. Plenty of the previews of the game focus on Rooney, naturally, with the best piece by a country mile Daniel Taylor's ever-excellent column for The Observer.
Few columns are as consistently illuminating, and this week is no different. For all of United's success and wealth under Alex Ferguson, Taylor revealed that he refused to stretch to paying for medals for his coaching staff. It changed in 2007, but until then, only Ferguson's mantlepiece was decorated with the silver spoils of victory. This seems rather cruel, and Taylor quotes former goalkeeping coach Tony Coton who calls it his "one big regret" from his time at United, an era in which the club won virtually everything in the game.
Such parsimony "outraged" Rooney when he first heard about it, and to his credit, he personally went about fixing it. Here's how he went about it:
Coton recalls: “He couldn’t believe that a club like Manchester United could be so small‑time when it came to sharing out the spoils.”
When all the relevant people came back from the summer, on the very first day of pre-season training, there were identical packages waiting for Coton and [Mike] Phelan on their desks at the training ground. Nothing strange there.
Every day, a supply of deliveries arrived at Carrington from sponsors and sportswear manufacturers offering freebies and all kinds of other perks. But these boxes were particularly heavy. Inside, each contained a solid‑silver replica of the Premier League trophy, together with a note advising they were worth £5,000 for insurance purposes. All courtesy of Wayne Rooney.
Impressive from Rooney, particularly given the fact he was just 21 at the time.
Read the full column here.