Wayne Rooney called the police last night after a furious mob held a protest outside his £4.2 million house, in which they issued death threats and challenged the striker to come out and meet them.
While Rooney, his wife Coleen and baby son Kai were holed up inside, more than 30 men – some covering their faces with balaclavas – milled around outside waving a banner declaring ‘Join City and die’.
They shouted death threats into his intercom and demanded some face time with Rooney – possibly to try and convince him to stay at Manchester United.
The gang were believed to be part of the notorious Men in Black hooligan crew who previously targeted Rio Ferdinand when he stalled on contract negotiations and David Beckham after United were beaten in a European match.
As well as the police presence, Manchester United’s private security team turned up wearing stab proof vests.
Last night former England manager Graham Taylor warned that Rooney would need ‘protection for the rest of his life’ if he crossed Manchester and joined super-rich City.
When striker Carlos Tevez transferred from City to United in 2009 he was largely forgiven as he had expressed a strong desire to stay at the club, but for Rooney to choose to turn his back on United is seen as tantamount to treason by the Old Trafford hardcore.
Meanwhile, no word has been given on what will happen next for Rooney.
In a statement Manchester United said: “We are aware that there is intense public and media interest on the club at the moment, but there are no developments of note to report,” read an official club statement.
“We can confirm a number of meetings have taken place today, including with the player’s representative.
“The outcome of those meetings will become clear in the near future. In the meantime, fans are asked to be patient.”
Rooney dropped his bombshell transfer request just hours before kick-off on Wednesday night Champions League match.
He claimed was leaving because the club were not prepared to invest in world-class players to win trophies.
Sir Alex Ferguson has left the door slightly ajar for his unhappy charge saying: “There’s always an offer there for Manchester United to negotiate with a player. That’s still there.”
– Jahn Vannisselroy