It has been quite a busy time for fans of Birmingham City, they have seen Shelby Companies Limited take over a majority stake in the club, led by co founder Tom Wagner, and one of his first appointments was National Football League legend and hugely successful quarterback, Tom Brady.
Despite flying high in the Championship in the 2023/24 campaign, manager John Eustace saw himself recently sacked, and the club instead pivoted to the very risky appointment of former England international and Manchester United star, Wayne Rooney.
Fans are rightly sceptical now given there are strong parallels with the arrival of previous owners who sacked a performing Gary Rowett (basically the same place in the league) and replaced him with named Gianfranco Zola – he lasted four months as their form fell off a cliff.
With Rooney turning 38 years old next week, he has now responded to rumour mill speculation with reports suggesting that his take home salary is now £1.5 million a year – three times as much as his predecessor – but as he continues his preparations for his first game in charge, he has described those reports as ‘a load of rubbish’.
“There’s lots of stuff, especially with it being me. I understand that. There’s lot of rumours which go round, but what’s been out there is a load of rubbish, to be honest. As I said last week I came here because I really like the project. I’ve turned down jobs which would have paid a lot more but I’ve come here because I want to be successful. And I want to get this club back to the Premier League. But, as for some of the rumours, I just don’t get involved with it.”
Rooney’s first game in the dug out for his new club will came on Saturday where they will take to the pitch against Middlesbrough, a side managed by friend and former team mate, Michael Carrick.
The irony of such a first match up did not elude Rooney who allowed himself a wry smile, given the fact that he played alongside Carrick at Old Trafford more than any other United player during his time with them.
“Michael’s a good friend of mine. And he’s doing a fantastic job at Middlesbrough. I’m pleased for him in that respect. We spoke early last week, but we then said we’d get this game out of the way and speak again after. To come up against him first time is great but we both want to win. I’m looking forward to seeing him. But, over the 90 minutes, it’s Middlesbrough v Birmingham City – and we’ll both be doing our best to win the match.”
Carrick did in fact spend a month at Birmingham back when emergency loan spells were a thing, making one start and one substitute appearance, so in some ways, the headlines ahead of this one could well write themselves.