Wayne Rooney has reached his breaking point at Derby County.
The England all-time great asked the club to be relieved of his duties as manager on Friday, following a tumultuous season that resulted in relegation as a result of a points penalty for entering administration and breaching the English Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules. Derby was docked a total of 21 points, a tally far too daunting to overcome despite the club’s relative success in the face of extreme adversity.
On top of that, the club has been in the process of finding new ownership, with American businessman Chris Kirchner recently withdrawing his bid, and that uncertainty played a role into Rooney’s thinking, he said.
“Over the course of the summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County,” Rooney said in a statement. “Today I met with the administrators to inform them of my decision that it was time for me to leave the club. In fairness to them, they tried tremendously hard to change my decision but my mind was made up.
“My time at the club has been a rollercoaster of emotions, both highs and lows, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge. Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last 18 months. I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support. I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times.
“Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club. To them I say this, Derby County is a great club with a great history and great fans. I wish you all the best and much success for the future.”
It was just in January that Rooney had turned down the chance to interview for the managerial job at his boyhood club, Everton, citing his desire to stay at Derby County, which was “an important job to me” at the time. Much has changed in the last five months, though, and the club will acquiesce to his request, according to a statement from its joint administrators, which read:
“The joint administrators are very disappointed that Wayne has taken the difficult decision to leave the club and we have spent some time today trying to persuade him to stay but understand his reasons for wanting to go. We are extremely grateful to him for his excellent work in the face of challenging on-field circumstances in the 2021-22 season and admire the manner in which he has led the team, the club and the local community through various off-field issues.
“The joint administrators recognize that staff and supporters will be frustrated and equally disappointed by this news, but we all wish him, his wife Coleen and their four boys every success in the future and we are sure they will always be welcomed back.
“All parties recognize the need to conclude a sale of the business and assets of the club, as a matter of urgency and the joint administrators wish to reconfirm that Wayne’s departure will not affect those ongoing, positive discussions.”
Derby County will spend next season in England’s third tier, League One. Had it not been penalized, its points total would have been good for a 17th-place finish and safety in the Championship.
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