London (AFP) – Derby County manager Wayne Rooney said Saturday he was committed to the English second-tier club despite the financially-stricken side’s impending administration.
The 35-year-old former Manchester United and England striker, in his first managerial role, insisted he wanted to help rebuild Midlands club Derby after a 2-1 win over Stoke in the English Championship on Saturday.
Derby led when Max Bird celebrated his 21st birthday with a 25-yard strike in the 32nd minute and Curtis Davies headed the Rams into a 2-0 lead two minutes later.
Rooney’s side could have gone even further ahead before Stoke pulled a goal back in the 58th minute through former Derby winger Tom Ince.
But Derby held out to give their fans something to celebrate amid the looming threat of a points deduction.
Derby announced late Friday the club’s directors “had no choice but to make the tough decision” to file notice to appoint administrators following a failure to secure new owners and because of the impact of Covid-19 on their finances.
“I’ve said a few times I’m committed to this club and to the group of players and the staff, I care about them, so I’ll keep doing everything I can to help us get through this,” said Rooney.
He added: “My job is to bring some pride and dignity back to the club, it’s got a big fan base and those fans deserve my full attention and the players’ full attention.”
Rooney revealed he only found out about the club’s plan to go into administration from watching television news.
“I saw it on the TV which is not ideal, I think communication is key, I’ve still had no contact with Mel (Morris, the owner) for a while now so it’s been very difficult for me to address the fans when I don’t know what the situation is.
“It’s been a very difficult 24 hours finding out the news of going into administration. I imagine there will be people who will lose their jobs who have mortgages and bills to pay so to have that snatched away from them is heartbreaking.
“Today was a game I obviously wanted to win but I wasn’t that interested in the result, it was more about the players showing character and showing the fans they care.”
Derby are already facing separate points penalties for previous breaches of financial fair play rules.
The Rams avoided relegation from the Championship on the final day of last season after drawing 3-3 at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
They were then spared a points deduction, which would have sent them down, when the English Football League decided not to appeal against a decision to only fine the club for failing to comply with finance rules.
Derby’s greatest days were in the 1970s when they were twice crowned champions of England by winning the old First Division.