Written by Gareth Carpenter

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Topics: Wayne Rooney, Award

Monday, 15 December 2003

image for Rooney loses out on Sports Personality award after attack on Wilkinson
Rooney - called Wilkinson a 'ponce'

Football goldenboy Wayne Rooney sensationally forfeited the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award last night - after headbutting eventual winner Johnny Wilkinson just moments before the live event was aired.

A source at the BBC confirmed that Rooney, 18, had been in line to scoop the acclaimed prize after this year becoming the youngest England international ever to score a goal for his country.

However the Everton striker then became embroiled in a blazing row with Rugby World Cup winner Wilkinson in the bar at the BBC studios in White City.

"Rooney had it all sewn up," said the source, under the condition of anonymity. "We were just about to engrave his name on the trophy. Then someone told us that he'd attacked Wilkinson in the bar after an argument about a stolen car stereo and there was a change of plan."

One eye witness alleged that Rooney became "agitated" when he heard Wilkinson complaining to a friend that thieves had broken into his vehicle in the car park and removed a valuable stereo system.

"Wayne stormed over to Johnny, said ‘you startin' or what, ponce?' and headbutted him in front of everyone," she said.

Rooney was escorted from the premises by security while a visibly shaken Wilkinson later collected the award in front of record television audiences.

TV football pundit George Best said that he was "appalled" by the way the BBC had treated Rooney.
"I've seen much worse behaviour in a BBC bar," he commented. "Most of it from myself."

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