Birmingham have decided to sack Wayne Rooney after just 15 games, ending his disappointing spell in charge of the Championship club. He won just two matches and the Blues went from a club pushing for promotion under John Eustace to looking over their shoulder at the threat of relegation with the Manchester United and England legend, but Rooney has hit back after his sacking.
Rooney has been let go after he initially promised “no-fear” football at St Andrew’s, but he failed to deliver on that brief and their latest defeat at the hands of Leeds on New Year’s Day in a 3-0 thrashing has proven to be the final straw.
Birmingham fans chanted “get out of our club” at Elland Road as they demanded that Rooney lose his job, having dropped to 20th in the table in a season that offered so much promise after over a decade in the second division.
In a statement confirming Rooney’s sacking, Cook said: “We are committed to doing what is necessary to bring success to St. Andrew’s. Unfortunately, Wayne’s time with us did not go as planned and we have decided to move in a different direction. The search for a successor begins with immediate effect and we will update supporters when we have further news.”
Rooney has since released a statement following the sacking, admitting that it will take him “some time to get over” the decision, before aiming a dig at the owners for not giving him enough time at the club. He wrote: “I want to thank Tom Wagner, Tom Brady and Garry Cook for allowing me the opportunity to manage Birmingham City FC and the support they all gave me during my short period with the club.
“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 have been involved in professional football, as either a player or manager, since I was 16. Now, I plan to take some time with my family as I prepare for the next opportunity in my journey as a manager. Finally, I wish Birmingham City FC and its owners my best wishes in the pursuit of their ambitions.”
The club’s professional development coach Steve Spooner has taken charge on an interim basis. Rooney’s coaching staff, apart from Carl Robinson, have stayed on to assist him despite the statement saying that “results have not met the expectations” under the pair.
Rooney revealed that he had spoken to the club’s owners regarding his position but reiterated that he was the right man to steer Birmingham away from the relegation zone with improvements to the squad in the January window. However, the club’s chiefs have disagreed and opted to place their faith in another head coach.
“I’ve obviously spoken to the owners,” Rooney said after defeat at Leeds. “That is private between me and the owners. What’s clear is we need some players in. We need players to come in to help with the quality of the team but also some fresh faces in the building as well.
“We are going through a difficult period, there’s no denying that, and we need to do everything we can to come out of that. I believe in myself. We have a very young squad and it’s difficult for the players at the minute. We have to keep believing we will get through this.