'C'mere you," Alex Ferguson is reported to have said. "You're in for some bloody 'roasting'." History will record that this was the point at which Wayne Rooney felt genuine regret over his nightclub shenanigans. You see 'roasting' means something completely different to a Premier League player these days. It doesn't involve meat and two veg – well, not as we know them anyway. It certainly doesn't involve a fiery Scot.
Roasting, for those of you who've never thrown down €10,000 on a night out, is actually a sexual practice and doesn't involve an oven. You could probably use an oven if you wanted to, and I'd say there were times Rooney was secretly praying Alex would, but there are as yet no reports of Premier League players doing so. Most of them have never seen ovens, or indeed a kitchen, or for that matter many of the rooms in their own homes.
Roasting was invented by Premier League players during a 'bonding' session with the English national team in 1996. It was the use of the word 'bonding' that caused the problem. Deprived of their Wags, allowed some alcohol to lower their inhibitions, and sent early to their rooms to do some serious 'bonding', it was inevitable confusion and a desire not to let the side down would make strange bedfellows of many.
Years were to pass before these nascent 'roasting' sessions expanded enough to include the occasional female. Relief within the English camp at this point was palpable. It led to a brief rise in their fortunes on the pitch also, a fillip which wasn't to survive the Wags ban however. That ban and the incredible amount of down time the team endured in South Africa were undoubtedly elements in their very disappointing World Cup. Let's face it; they couldn't get out of South Africa fast enough.
So what is this 'roasting' I hear you ask? Well, to be honest I have no real idea. My brain goes into an involuntary shutdown once I picture certain Premier League players and imagine them using the words 'oh yes baby'. There's a mental curtain there I never wish to look behind.
However, I'm quite sure it isn't something that's improved by the addition into the mix of a 68-year-old, very angry, Scot.
Wayne's world is a bit removed from this, but it's the same brand of crazy. I was amazed at his innocent naïvety in all of this. He thought at one point that if he stood with a girl in a corner no one would see him kiss her. That's one up from thinking that if you can't see them, they can't see you. My daughters think that too, but they are four and two.
That last time I saw that kind of naïvety in a lad it was the Gaeltacht in 1977. A friend tried to kiss a girl during the national anthem. He reasoned everyone would be facing the stage so stole into a corner behind them to do the deed. It was almost the perfect stolen kiss. But he didn't notice the music stopping and opened his eyes to find 60 pairs of eyes burning into him.
He was threatened with 'roasting' too. He laughed it off. Back then it just meant a phone call home.