Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

'Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!' | Clive Tyldesley's memories 18 years on

Yesterday marked 18 years to the day since 16-year-old Wayne Rooney's moment of brilliance for Ev...

'Remember the name, Wayne Roon...

'Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!' | Clive Tyldesley's memories 18 years on

Yesterday marked 18 years to the day since 16-year-old Wayne Rooney's moment of brilliance for Everton against Arsenal led to some immortal words from Clive Tyldesley.

The prophetic 'Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!' from the veteran commentator has been played back countless times since Saturday October 19th, 2002, and Tyldesley recalls the moment like it was yesterday.

The 2-1 win for the Toffees at Goodison Park ended a 30-game unbeaten Arsenal run, and saw them suffer their first away league defeat in 24 matches.

In a wide-ranging interview with Shane Hannon of OTB Sports in 2019, Tyldesley recalled that moment, and the surprise inspiration behind his now iconic words.

"Weirdly, because I had spent so much time around Merseyside football, a couple of weeks before that game I'd been back on Merseyside attending a Graeme Sharp testimonial occasion, hosting it.

"This guy who I didn't know, an Everton fan, came up to me and said 'Have you heard about Rooney?' And I had heard about Rooney because he had been a sensation in the youth team and he was on the verge of the first-team. People were talking about him.

"But it was him that said 'Remember the name, Wayne Rooney'. So it came off the top of my head except this guy whose name I don't know, it was a total steal from him!

"The great part of the story was I attended another function about three or four months later, and he was quite a distinctive looking guy with a pointed beard and glasses and hair swept back.

"I saw him and rushed across the room and said 'Hey, I know what you're going to say!' He said, 'I'm going to tell you - his brother John is even better.'

"I saw him again at another function another few months later and he said 'I've got another one for you.' And bless him, John Rooney never quite made it and this other guy never quite made it, so he rather tarnished his record.

"It's a little bit like the guy who told you about Tiger Roll three months before the Grand National, but has given you seven more tips since and none of them have come in!

"So he is responsible for 'Remember the name, Wayne Rooney', but he was also responsible for 'Remember the name, John Rooney' - it doesn't quite work that one, does it?"

Tyldesley says a commentator can do serious levels of preparation in the build-up to a match, but moments like Rooney's 30-yard strike or Manchester United's injury-time goals in Barcelona in 1999 can only be reacted to instinctively.

"It was in the last minute and they hadn't lost in a year, and then he nearly did it again in stoppage time.

"It's not cheating to prepare, Brian Moore used to say to me 'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.' And preparation isn't just facts and figures, any good journalist prepares an intro for a story that they're going to cover.

"That little section that we commentators do before a game, he or she has had time to prepare some thoughts on what the team might be.

"You can certainly prepare for the end of the game with different scenarios. Now obviously what you can't prepare for is what Wayne Rooney did, what Sheringham and Solskjaer did, that has to come off the top of your head because you can't anticipate that."

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