Wayne Rooney’s pals might find it all a laugh, but his treatment of wife Coleen isn’t remotely funny
Wayne Rooney may have grown older, but there is absolutely no sign of him growing up, writes Gail Walker
Wayne Rooney? The Pele of tackiness… Once again Wayne plays a blinder away from home. After a day of heavy drinking, the superstar - who recently moved from Manchester United back to his first club, Everton - was stopped and charged with drinking under the influence.
As if that wasn't bad enough - and it is - it wasn't even his car. Alas, the Volkswagen Beetle was owned by 29-year-old party girl Laura Simpson. While it seems unclear what exactly took place, Ms Simpson apparently told Rooney's wife Coleen during a "tense" (I'll bet) five-minute phone call that "nothing happened" (as you do).
How did that come about, you might ask? Well, Coleen tracked Ms Simpson down through social media - Instagram, to be precise - and, in the nightmare scenario of all foolish husbands since time immemorial, arranged to speak to her over the phone.
The only thing missing is Wayne falling through the front door as his heavily-pregnant wife hits him on the bonce with a rolling pin.
Whatever about the official version Ms Simpson gave to Mrs Rooney, the twittersphere suggested that while what actually took place had been a 'kiss and a cuddle' or 'a squeeze', it was clear that Laura and the footballer wanted to get away from prying eyes and that - cor blimey - if it hadn't been for PC Plod and his breathalyser, they could even have spent the night together.
Or, as Ms Simpson is reported to have said: "I was up for it and so was he until he got arrested for drink driving. It spoiled the night."
Which will be recalled no doubt round the fireplace at Christmas in Rooney Lore down the decades as something of an understatement.
This being Wayne's World, Ms Simpson had spotted the footballer at a restaurant complex called the Bubble Room in Alderley Edge - right in the heart of WAG country, Cheshire - but didn't get together with him until they both found themselves in the Symposium nightclub.
Always the gentleman, Rooney - according to Simpson - couldn't take his eyes off her boobs: "What size are they? Are they real? I'd like to get my hands on them." (To which the answers seem to be: 32E and No.)
Simpson seems straight from central casting. A member of a website, Seeking Arrangement, which allows 'sugar babies' to be financially compensated for spending time with older men (Laura values her company at £6K per month!), she speaks in the type of clichés that verge on the post-modern and ironic if they weren't quite so pathetic: "I wasn't thinking about his wife Coleen and neither was he. He didn't even mention her or the new baby she's expecting. All the footballers are the same and I have stories about a few household and up-and-coming names, they're just after one thing only."
Or: "He did all the chasing and was up for some fun while the wife was away. I did nothing wrong. I'm single and a girl with needs."
Golden, vintage stuff.
I suppose she is right, though. Wayne is the culprit here. Why is he chasing women while his wife is pregnant with their fourth child?
We've been here before. Previously, Wayne has cavorted with prostitutes and good time girls. And like his face gurning when a refereeing decision goes against him, we have grown tired of the act - all of it.
Rooney's friends are reporting that Wayne is a nervous wreck, seriously concerned that his marriage 'might be over' and worried about how Coleen will react to this latest … er … setback. Coleen has stormed off to her parents. 'Friends' have let it be known that she is 'furious' and 'humiliated' while 'close pals' say that Coleen will give the marriage one last try: "Only time will tell whether they can rebuild their marriage. Coleen thinks she's the one who has kept the marriage together."
Wayne is even said to be sleeping in the spare room of the couple's £6m mansion. Indeed, Wayne's pals seem to find it funny: "Wayne's mates are now calling him Herbie the Love Bug. It's hilarious."
Except it's not funny at all. At the heart of all this is not a superstar and his penchant for women, party girls, brass, skirt, call it what you will.
No, at the heart of it, is Wayne's indifference as to whether or not he hurts and publicly humiliates his wife. Of course, he doesn't want the bother of being caught but, after years of stupidity, alleged dalliances and accusations, you'd think he would be more careful of Coleen's feelings.
These were meant to be the mature years of Wayne Rooney. He was until recently the captain of England. Indeed, he only announced his retirement from international football a week or so ago, after a long and personally productive if not especially distinguished career in the Three Lions shirt.
He is the most-capped outfield England player and holds the record for goals scored for England, having outstripped Sir Bobby Charlton. (Yes, that's Sir Bobby, World Cup hero, on-field musketeer with George and Denis, legend of the game, a modest man with very little to be modest about, and more likely to be found with bubblewrap than in the Bubbleroom.)
Rooney has won every honour available to him as a club player in Europe other than the Super Cup and these really should have been the late summer days of his career, back with his boyhood club and doing well there, against the odds.
Instead, just as club football takes a break for the international fixtures, Rooney goes on the razzle and ends up in blurry photographs, smartphone clamped to his ear in the back of a car with smoky windows.
This is the Roo who was caught with the infamous 'granny' prostitute in a catsuit more than a decade ago. There have been other brainstorms and cavortings and irregularities at intervals over the period.
But somehow, boyish indiscretions apart and the rush of sudden vast wealth, children gathering around him as 'pater familias', one always hoped that there would emerge some redeeming features as the years moved on. That hasn't happened.
In Rooney's case, it really seems to be that there aren't any to emerge.