It’s been a wild ride for Birmingham City fans in the Championship this season. After just 11 games, the Blues find themselves sitting sixth in the table, but this isn’t quite good enough for the board apparently. John Eustace was dismissed earlier this week (October 9) and has been replaced today (October 11) by none other than England and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney.
“We are incredibly excited by Wayne’s arrival. When the opportunity presents itself to appoint a manager who shares your ambition and is both a student and a great of the game, then you act. This is what we have done,” said Garry Cook, Birmingham’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We are confident that his appointment, supported by his hand-picked coaching staff, will culminate in a young, attack-minded team that will excite our fans. The timing of the appointment will allow Wayne to evaluate the playing staff and work with Craig Gardner on the squad’s recruitment needs ahead of the January and Summer transfer windows. This is a defining moment for the Football Club.”
Appointed on a three-and-a-half-year contract, after leaving DC United last weekend, Wazza will be joined by former teammates Ashley Cole and John O’Shea – who will both take up coaching roles at the Blues. (Ashley and John will also retain their coaching roles with their respective national sides.)Also joining them in Birmingham will be Carl Robinson and Pete Shuttleworth, who were coaches with Wayne at DC United.
Rooney commented: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Birmingham City Football Club at such an exciting time. It is very clear that they have a plan and are committed to realising their ambition for the club. We are fully aligned on what is expected. I have been building my managerial career, putting myself in challenging environments, to get me ready for this opportunity. It’s a project that gives me a sense of purpose and I can’t wait to get started.
“We have some exciting young players in the squad, and some who are still to break through into the First Team, alongside a core of experienced senior professionals. I have a clear way that I want the team to play, and my coaching staff and I will work hard to implement it. We will create a winning culture here with an identity that gets Blues fans on their feet.
“I’ve played at St. Andrew’s and Birmingham City fans were always loud and passionate about their team. It was a really difficult place to come as an opponent and now I get to experience what it is like to have them behind us. My job is to elevate the Club to the next level and I can’t wait to get started. I know what the expectations are and our job is to deliver.”
Birmingham City will be the former Everton player’s third managerial appointment, following spells at Derby County and DC United. Wayne impressed at the Rams, despite the club’s ongoing issues off the pitch. With an impressive 55 points, Derby almost avoided relegation in the 2021–22 season despite a 21-point deduction after entering administration.
Moving to DC United after Derby’s relegation, the 37-year-old failed to impress a second time, however. At the end of the 2023 season, he was relieved of his managerial duties after the club failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady, bought into Birmingham City FC back in August. So greater success is clearly on the club’s mind this season. Wayne Rooney’s first test will be an away trip to Middlesbrough on October 21. Here he’ll face another former teammate, Michael Carrick, who’ll stand as manager in the opposing dugout.