Wayne Rooney hits back at Birmingham board after being sacked as manager



Wayne Rooney hits back at Birmingham board after being sacked as manager

Former England player loses job after just 15 games in charge‘I do not believe 13 weeks was sufficient to oversee changes’

Wayne Rooney has revealed his hurt at being sacked by Birmingham City after just 83 days in charge and criticised the lack of time afforded to him during his brief stay at St Andrew’s.

Rooney lost nine of his 15 matches and supporters turned on the former England and Manchester United captain during Monday’s 3-0 defeat by Leeds. Back in October, when the former DC United and Derby manager was unveiled, Birmingham had been sitting sixth in the Championship table after a promising start to the season under John Eustace.

Rooney wished the club and supporters well but was less than impressed at his sacking. He said: “Football is a results business – and I recognise they have not been at the level I wanted them to be. However, time is the most precious commodity a manager requires and I do not believe 13 weeks was sufficient to oversee the changes that were needed. Personally, it will take me some time to get over this setback.

“I plan to take some time with my family as I prepare for the next opportunity in my journey as a manager.”

For Birmingham and their ambitious American owner, Knighthead, Rooney’s exit is an embarrassing end to a disastrous episode. On the day Rooney was unveiled at St Andrew’s their chief executive, Garry Cook, promised “no-fear football” but they are left needing to salvage their season amid the threat of relegation to League One. Birmingham are six points above the drop zone.

No Championship team have taken fewer points than Birmingham since Rooney’s appointment was heralded “as a defining moment for the football club” by Cook.

Cook will come under scrutiny from fans after he drove the move to appoint Rooney on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Cook tried to sign Rooney as a player while CEO at Manchester City and failed in his attempt to lure him to the Saudi Pro League, in his spell as its executive president and CEO last year, before arriving at Birmingham.

Steve Cooper and Paul Heckingbottom, recently sacked by Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United respectively, are among the targets to take over from Rooney but it is unclear whether they would be tempted.

“We are committed to doing what is necessary to bring success to St Andrew’s,” Cook said. “Unfortunately, Wayne’s time with us did not go as planned and we have decided to move in a different direction.”

Rooney’s tenure was punctuated by difficult moments. At the end of his first home match, a defeat by Hull City, he conceded some of his players had informed him they felt uncomfortable playing his style of play.

After the defeat at Leeds, Rooney said: “We are in a difficult moment, there’s no denying that; we have to pull together to get through it. I hope we can bolster the squad in January.”

Birmingham supporters may draw comparisons with the club’s ill-fated decision to sack Gary Rowett in December 2016 in favour of appointing Gianfranco Zola. The Italian won two of his 22 league games before resigning four months later.

The coaches John O’Shea, Ashley Cole and Pete Shuttleworth, all of whom Rooney brought into the club, will stay to help the professional development coach, Steve Spooner, who has been appointed interim manager. Rooney’s first-team coach, Carl Robinson, has departed.


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