Former England great Wayne Rooney resigns as Derby manager

Former Manchester United player Wayne Rooney attends the Europa League final soccer match between Manchester United and Villarreal in Gdansk, Poland on May 26, 2021. (Aleksandra Szmigiel/Pool Photo via AP, File)

DERBY, England (AP) — Wayne Rooney has resigned as Derby manager after 18 months in charge and on the same day the club appeared to have sorted out its financial difficulties.

The Manchester United and England star joined the team in January 2020 as player-coach and ended that year in temporary charge following Phillip Cocu’s departure.

Rooney retired as a player when named Derby’s permanent boss in January 2021.

County moved into administration at the start of last season and the team has been relegated from the Championship. It came despite the 36-year-old Rooney attempting to prevent the drop following a combined 21-point deduction due to a breach of accounting rules and its administration dramas.

Rooney informed the club on Friday that he wished to be relieved of his duties as Derby prepare for life in League One.

“Over the course of the summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County,” Rooney said. “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.”

Earlier in the day Derby’s future appeared to have been secured with the sale of Pride Park to a local property developer, which hopes to complete a takeover of the club.

In administration since September of last year, fears over the Rams’ future grew last week when American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrew his offer to buy the club.

But joint administrators Quantuma announced they have accepted an interim loan from Derbyshire-based Clowes Developments Ltd,, which will submit a formal offer to buy the club having purchased Pride Park.