Manchester United legend, Wayne Rooney has quit as Derby County manager with immediate effect despite a report they are finally on the brink of exiting administration.
The England record goalscorer departed just three days before the Rams were due to report for pre-season training.. Rooney had one year left of a lucrative contract.
The news comes after Derby were relegated from the Championship to third-tier League One this past season having been handed two separate points deductions for entering administration and breaching financial rules earlier in the season.
“Over the course of the Summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County,” Rooney wrote in a club statement.
“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.
“Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last eighteen months. I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support. I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times.”
Last week, American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrew his bid to purchase the club.
“Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club,” Rooney added. “To them I say this, Derby County is a great club with a great history and great fans. I wish you all the best and much success for the future.”
A spokesperson for Derby’s administrators admitted they were disappointed with Rooney’s decision.
“The joint administrators are very disappointed that Wayne has taken the difficult decision to leave the club and we have spent some time today trying to persuade him to stay but understand his reasons for wanting to go,” they wrote. “We are extremely grateful to him for his excellent work in the face of challenging on-field circumstances in the 2021/22 season and admire the manner in which he has led the team, the club and the local community through various off-field issues.
“The joint administrators recognise that staff and supporters will be frustrated and equally disappointed by this news, but we all wish him, his wife Coleen and their four boys every success in the future and we are sure they will always be welcomed back.
“All parties recognise the need to conclude a sale of the business and assets of the Club, as a matter of urgency and the joint administrators wish to reconfirm that Wayne’s departure will not affect those ongoing, positive discussions.”