It's been a lousy week for the Rooney Family.
First we had his dad Wayne Sr. 48, and Uncle Richie age 55, and seven other aquaintances in the Liverpool area arrested in connection with a supposed 'betting scam' in Scotland, and then Wayne is rightfully given a red card and an immediate suspension from AT LEAST the first EURO 2012 match for England next June in Poland/Ukraine. He now has the distinction, together with David Beckham, of being sent off twice for England.
I don't pretend to be an expert on betting, which is a curse on football, as it is on many other sports. However, at a relatively obscure match in Scotland, featuring Motherwell v Heart of Midlothian last December there was an unusual betting pattern.
In order to get punters interested the gambling companies offer 'spot bets' on such things as red cards, corner kicks, time of goals, penalties etc. This time it was 10 to 1 on a player getting a red card during the match. One player did that, former Liverpool resident Steve Jennings after 83 minutes when he argued with the referee over a penalty decision and laid has hand on him. An immediate early shower. Jennings was transferred from Tranmere Rovers, over the River Mersey from Liverpool, in Birkenhead 3 seasons ago.
The problem was that over 70 bets in the Liverpool area were made with a couple of gambling companies, some as high as £500.00. VERY STRANGE, and it set off alarm bells. The Gambling Commission and the Scottish police, who are on the look out for this sort of thing, went into action. After a lengthy investigation they arrested the player in Glasgow, and many friends of his back on Merseyside. There have been about 190 such incidents in the last 3 1/2 years, 45% in the last twelve months.
WHY WOULD THEY ALL BE SO STUPID?? Well, if you gamble, go to betting shops, do it on your laptop or phone, then perhaps you are stupid. Many have an addiction, many can't afford to lose, and many enjoy it and can. If you look at the shirts of lots of EPL and Football League clubs they are emplazened with advertising for numerous gambling companies, and the high streets are littered with betting shops. On Saturday I was at an entertaining match where Manchester United play their reserve matches, Moss Lane, home of Altrincham FC who hammered former Football League club Boston United 6-1. The League, all 3 divisions, is actually called the BLUE SQUARE Bet League.
The day of the arrests, Wayne and his team were on the way to Podgorica, the small capital of the new country of Montenegro. Two-one up and cruising to automatic qualification for the EURO Finals, Wayne reverted to his petulant former behaviour. Experienced German referee Wolfgang Stark had no hesitation to give the lad a red card for his kick at Miodrag Dzudovic 17 minutes from time. Although they equalized, a tie was enough to see The Three Lions top the group.
As former England, Tottenham, Leeds United and Barcelona manager Terry Venables said afterwards. " You cannot forgive the unforgivable". On Thursday UEFA will decide how forgiving they are and how many matches Rooney must sit out next June.