Wayne Rooney has been in some holes during his long and colorful career, but the one he now finds himself in is the deepest of them all. His first managerial job has turned into a living nightmare as the ramifications of Derby’s financial plight get laid bare.
The Championship club was docked 12 points this week for entering administration, but this could be just the tip of an iceberg now melting faster than the planet itself.
The Football League is investigating alleged breaches of spending rules and if proven, the Rams will be hit with a further nine-point deduction leaving them staring into the abyss of League One. A scenario that would make the club even less appealing to a potential new owner.
The blame game has got into full swing and not for the first time in his life, Rooney is pulling no punches.
He has laid it squarely at the door of former owner Mel Morris following an astonishing, brutal, and honest attack on the beleaguered English businessman.
Rooney has accused Morris of being disrespectful, rude, and refusing to speak to him. Former England and Manchester United legend became so desperate he had to borrow the club doctor’s mobile phone and call Morris, just to get him to answer.
This isn’t what Rooney signed up for and admits that, had those who offered him the job in the first place been honest about the club’s situation at the time, he wouldn’t have accepted it.
“Mel Morris has put a lot of money into the club and he deserves a lot of respect for that, but there is a way of handling things, being open and honest, and that did not happen so I was a little bit disappointed,” said Rooney.
“I heard Mel do a radio interview and he said exactly the same things in that interview as he did in the meeting with the players and staff. In my opinion it wasn’t sincere, it wasn’t heartfelt enough and it wasn’t done with enough honesty.”
In one fell swoop this week Rooney has shown the sort of bottle and leadership qualities Morris has lacked.
Rooney will feel like telling Morris to stuff his job and head back to Cheshire but knows he has no option but to stick around and fight what promises to be a long and demanding battle.
He knows he has a responsibility to himself, his players, and his staff to lead by example, but his decision to call out Morris shows he can be the person all those mentioned above want and need him to be.
Scoring goals on the pitch came naturally to Rooney, but he is now swimming with sharks in deep, deep waters that are still unfamiliar to him. Talk about learning a new trade at the sharp end?
It won’t feel like it now, but in time Rooney will come to realize that the crisis he’s now having to front up to will make him a better man and a much better manager. He will be wiser for the experience and it could be the making of him.