With a bit of a heavy sense of deja vu, Birmingham City fans were understandably a bit wary when having performed well under former manager John Eustace, their new owners handed him his P45 and instead appointed former England international striker Wayne Rooney.
They had been flying high in the table, and somewhat predictably, they have dropped down the table with the 38 year old former Manchester United star so far failing to register a single point having suffered three straight opening defeats.
Rooney is still hugely optimistic, feeling that he will be given time by his new employers to get his message over fully and properly, and when that happens, he feels fans will quickly see a turn in form on the pitch and a more solid and consistent return to willing ways, in a way that he can then build further from.
With well performing Ipswich Town now his next opportunity to register his opening point or points, at St Andrew’s, Rooney told BBC WM in his pre game press conference.
“We knew this would be a tough run of games when I came in. I know the fans expect instant results but there’s no need for me to panic. I’m really calm and happy with the way the players are taking information in and the way they’ve trained this week. Each week I’m seeing an improvement in the players with and without the ball.”
With their new American owners, with a small shareholding for US NFL legend Tom Brady, insisting that they want to see a ‘no fear football’ thinking approach to game management, that sees them on the offensive front foot and focused on a more attacking style of play, this suits Rooney down to the ground and he obviously very much looking for it to all come together for him, even if he does continue to require some additional patience right now.
“I saw Pochettino’s comments the other day asking for patience. And we’re only a few weeks into me coming here. It’s more about the players having the belief that they can do the things I’m asking them to do. I’ve looked through all the stats on this to back me up, and the teams that get out of this league are the ones who play football, teams who have more of the ball.”
Fans will have to see if Rooney can ultimately achieve his aims here, but he will also be aware that no Birmingham manager in their 131 year history has ever lost the opening four games, and that will be one slice of history he is not looking to create.