Birmingham City made headlines this week when they hired former England soccer icon Wayne Rooney as manager, replacing John Eustace, who had recently been dismissed. Rooney signed a three-and-a-half year contract.
Garry Cook, Birmingham’s Chief Executive, released an official statement Wednesday in which he described Rooney’s arrival as a “defining moment” in their history and noted its alignment between ambition and expertise. Cook was instrumental in sealing the deal as previously he served as Chief Executive for Manchester City; ironically he also played a significant part in Chris Kirchner’s unsuccessful bid to purchase Derby County which Rooney managed as well as being involved with Kirchner’s unsuccessful effort at purchasing it himself!
Rooney recently left DC United to take charge at Birmingham City with an experienced support team, including Ashley Cole and John O’Shea – former teammates and both former Manchester United players themselves – as coach assistants. Cole will continue coaching duties with England Under-21s while O’Shea assumes his responsibilities with Republic of Ireland.
Tom Wagner, Birmingham City chairman who completed a takeover in July, expressed confidence in Rooney to lead them forward to greater heights. Wagner stated: “His playing philosophy will assist in meeting our ambitions for Birmingham City,” making for an exciting future under Rooney’s guidance.
Wayne Rooney’s managerial journey has been marked with both challenges and triumphs. After Derby County suffered relegation to League One in 2022, Rooney initially served as interim player-manager before stepping in as permanent player-manager; Rooney earned praise for his efforts under trying circumstances; Derby faced 12-point deduction for entering administration as well as nine point penalties from the English Football League for breaking financial regulations set out in its Financial Rules Manual – yet Rooney played a significant role in revitalizing and saving their club from imminent liquidation.
Rooney will make his managerial debut for Birmingham City next Saturday against Michael Carrick, his former teammate from England and Manchester United days. Rooney expressed a clear vision for how the team should play and said his coaching staff and himself will work to implement it: “My vision for how I want the team to play is crystal clear; together we will create a winning culture here with an identity that gets Blues fans on their feet – my job is elevating this club to its next level and I cannot wait to get started – knowing all expectations from both parties involved.”
Rooney’s backroom staff includes key figures like Pete Shuttleworth, who followed Rooney from Derby to DC United as an analyst and scout; Carl Robinson (former Wolves and Wales midfielder); Maik Taylor (former Birmingham and Northern Ireland goalkeeper). They will all continue to serve in an advisory capacity as goalkeeping coach and goalkeeper mentor respectively.
Birmingham City and its passionate fans eagerly anticipate Wayne Rooney’s time as manager, hoping that his wealth of experience and unfaltering commitment can take the club to new heights in the English Championship.