An intriguing upcoming date in the football calendar is the media tribute evening in honour of Wayne Rooney to be held at London’s Savoy Hotel on January 22.
The prestigious event is organised by the Football Writers’ Association, with Rooney the unanimous choice to be lauded by newspaper journalists, accused by the Manchester United and England captain of writing his football obituary too soon.
This follows the furore over his marathon boozing session at the Grove Hotel while many of his England team-mates were either in London nightclubs or a Bournemouth strip club.
There must be a question mark over whether Rooney will want to be honoured in such a way in the light of what happened during international week, although nine weeks is a long time in the mercurial life of England’s and soon to be United’s record goalscorer.
Neither the FWA nor Rooney’s advisers have discussed the matter. But this column’s view is that Rooney, who rarely if ever ducks media commitments, will appear at the Savoy.
Roy Hodgson, who has vanished from view since the Euro 2016 debacle, and Rio Ferdinand are being lined up to lead the tributes.
Meanwhile, Rooney’s insistence this week that he deserves more respect after what he has achieved in the game echoes the views of his agent Paul Stretford, who has been saying the same since before Euro 2016.
Leicester City, who seem to have made relatively little commercial gain from their astonishing achievement in winning the Premier League, have addressed that by appointing Jonathan Gregory as commercial chief.
Gregory, who has an excellent track record in negotiating deals for Puma, Wembley, England 2018’s World Cup bid, Fulham and adidas, will belatedly aim to make the most of Leicester’s current status as PL champions and their place in the last 16 of the Champions League provided they win or draw against Bruges on Tuesday night.
Sky Sports’ brutal process of forcing staff to reapply for their own jobs has surprisingly seen Scott Melvin, senior football producer, lose his pivotal position to Billy McGinty, Sky’s F1 producer. Melvin has resigned and is expected to work within close colleague Gary Neville’s burgeoning empire.
Meanwhile, Sky’s slavish celebrity obsession has current England rugby player James Haskell being used as an analyst for an autumn international series he is missing through injury.
Since Eddie Jones’s squad are so robotically on message, allowing Haskell such a platform to criticise his colleagues is somewhat surprising.
The connection between England’s premier batsman Joe Root and Matthew Renshaw, the Middlesbrough-born cricketer who is in line for his Australian Test debut this week, is stronger than their dads playing club cricket together.
The two families are close enough for Root’s younger brother, Notts player Billy, to have stayed with the Renshaws in Brisbane while playing grade cricket.