Wayne Rooney vows to stay despite club going into administration

2 months ago | 160

Derby County is Wayne Rooney's first job in football management

DERBY County boss Wayne Rooney has reiterated he will not walk away despite the Championship club being placed in administration.

Business adviser firm Quantuma took over the club on Wednesday, triggering an automatic 12-point deduction.

Asked whether he would have taken the job if he had known about the financial problems, Rooney said: "I doubt it."

But he added: "I will fight for the club. I wouldn't leave the staff in the lurch. They need someone to lead them."

The 35-year-old former Everton, Manchester United and England forward was put in charge following the departure of Phillip Cocu in November 2020 and confirmed as permanent manager two months later.

The Rams secured their Championship status on the final day of last season, and have won two and drawn four of their eight league games so far in 2021-22 despite being subject to a transfer embargo which meant Rooney was only able to recruit free agents.

He only found out about the club going into administration from television reports and said it was "disrespectful" that owner Mel Morris had not informed him personally.

"I've not spoken to Mel since 9 August," said Rooney. "He addressed the players on Tuesday. I was in that (meeting) but nothing else. No phone call or message.

"Mel doesn't have to apologise to me but as manager, getting questions from players and staff and not being able to answer, I was a bit hurt by that. There is a way of handling things, and being open and honest - that didn't happen which is disappointing."

But he continued: "I am committed to this football club. I grew up on a council estate in Liverpool and I know how tough life can be.

"I care about the players and the staff. What kind of person would I be if I walked away and put my feet up or went on holiday for a few weeks?"

The 12-point deduction by the English Football League has left the Rams at the foot of the Championship on minus two points, currently nine adrift of safety, and they could be docked a possible nine more in relation to charges over their accounting practices.

"If [the deduction] stays at 12 points, I feel we can stay up," Rooney said. "No team has ever done that and I have challenged the players to make history.

"If it goes to 21 points, it will be very difficult and it's likely we will be in League One next season."

Quantuma managing directors Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou are now in charge of the club and are looking for short-term funding to help see it through the next three months.

Derby, who are away to Sheffield United on Saturday, have "tens of millions of pounds" of debts.

But Hosking said: "There is a considerable degree of interest in this club.....we don't consider the obstacles that we face at this stage insurmountable."

Although there will be a need for some redundancies, the administrators say it will not affect the position of Rooney or the first-team squad.

"We need a manager to motivate the team. That has not come into our consideration at all," added Hosking.

'Positive dialogue with EFL'

The club filed a notice to appoint administrators last Friday, which owner Mel Morris described as a "gut-wrenching" decision.

He has been in charge of the club since 2015 but had been looking to sell it since 2019, having invested and lost "in excess of £200m".

"We have a positive dialogue with the EFL," Jackson, another of the joint administrators, confirmed. "They want to see Derby County survive. We will argue our position but there is a distinct possibility there will be further deductions.

"There are no guarantees but we are confident we (Derby) will fulfil the fixture list (this season).

"There is a very real opportunity to save this football club and find a credible third party to take this club back to where it was before."

Rooney has been helping the club financially, buying equipment to film training sessions among other things.

But he dismissed a suggestion he could invest in the club, saying: "I'm not that stupid. We won't be short of buyers for this club."

He added: "I am really confident we will get through this - and for the better. Sometimes in life you have to take a backward step to move forward."

'Integrity of competition is paramount'

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch told BBC Sport that it was "incredibly sad" to see Derby - one of the league's founder members - in their current position.

He confirmed discussions would continue with the administrators about the possibility of a further points deduction and said: "The last thing we want is to lose a club from the competition. At the same time, we have to apply regulations because the integrity of the competition is paramount."

Birch said he had "respect and sympathy" for Morris "in the sense that he has put £200m of his own funds into the club".

He added: "What is important is to understand why Mel felt he had to inject that kind of funding and to run the kind of model he has done.

"That revolves around the irrational behaviour that the presence of parachute clubs from the Premier League have in the Championship and the distorting effect of the funds they receive on the competition."

BBC Sport

- Sept. 23, 2021 @ 17:05 GMT |

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