Derby County manager, Wayne Rooney has blamed the former owner of the club, Mel Morris for the relegation of the club from the English Championship to the third tier of the English football league.
Derby County was relegated on Monday, April 18, 2022, after Queens Park Rangers defeated the club 1-0. The defeat sunk Derby County to the 23rd spot on the Championship table. It left the club with 31 points in 43 games, a point above bottom-placed Barnsley.
Wayne Rooney and his boys were relegated to league one for the first time since 1986 after recording 13 wins, 13 draws, and 17 defeats.
Recall that Rooney, the all-time highest goalscorer at Manchester United and England national team, retired from professional football on 15 January 2021, after being appointed permanent manager of Derby County.
The 36-year-old English tactician was able to help Derby to escape relegation in the 2020-2021 season. But he could not repeat the same feat in his first full season in charge of the club, the 2021-2022 season.
After the 1-0 defeat at the hands of QPR which confirmed Derby’s exit from the second-tier league, Wayne Rooney directed his anger at Mel Morris, a British businessman who has been the owner of the club since 2015.
In his interview with BBC after Derby was relegated, Rooney hoped that Mel Morris didn’t have “a good night’s sleep” and the fact that Derby have been relegated to League One should continue to play “on his mind”.
“I think he needs to think about it”, Rooney added.
“Where the club’s been left, it was a complete mess. I know Mel Morris is a big Derby fan, so I’m sure he’s sat at home tonight disappointed.
“We are disappointed as we’ve done everything we can to try and not let this happen and worked extremely hard.”
What was Mel Morris’ role in the relegation of Derby County?
Mel Morris became the owner of Derby County in 2015, a season after he bought a 22 percent stake in Derby County in May 2014.
Immediately he became the owner of the Championship club, the British businessman went on a massive spending spree at the club. He spent heavily on the recruitment of players to the extent he broke the club’s transfer record on four different occasions.
Between June 2015 and May 2021, Mel Morris was so desperate for success that he changed nine different football managers before he settled for Wayne Rooney in 2021.
Despite all the changes and lavish spending, Derby failed to gain promotion to the Premier League under his reign. Hence, the last time Derby County played in the Premier League was during the 2007-2008 season.
After failing to win three different play-offs, under his reign, Derby County started having financial issues in 2020. Since then, there have been reports that the businessman was trying to sell the club.
But he could not get a buyer until 17 September 2021, the date he broke the hearts of the fans by announcing that the club has been placed on administration. After the announcement, he had to step down from the club.
The announcement forced the EFL to deduct nine points from Derby County pushing the club to the bottom of the Championship table with minus two points.
As coach Wayne Rooney was trying to get the team back on track with just nine professional players and a bunch of amateur players, the EFL slammed the club with another 12 points deduction making it a total number of 21 points deducted from Derby County in the 2021-2022 season.
If the points were not deducted, Wayne Rooney and his boys would have been at least on the 17th spot which could have qualified Derby for a relegation play-off.
“We’ve earned enough points to stay in this division next season and developed some really good, young, local players,” Wayne Rooney said.
“In that sense, the future of the club looks bright. But we need to get over what’s happened.
“It’s a sad day. I’m sad, disappointed, upset, frustrated, but proud.
“The effort the lads and the staff have put in to try and galvanize the squad and the club, it’s been a lot of work.”
What next for Wayne Rooney and Derby County
Wayne Rooney has vowed that he would remain at Derby County even though the club will play the 2022-2023 season in League One.
He however noted that his future at the club depends on how fast Derby County can get a new owner and release the necessary funds to rebuild the club’s squad.
“I know what players I want to bring in in League One and I need to be able to get that moving quickly to make sure we have the best chance of coming straight back up,” Rooney said.
“I’m excited to get my teeth into it and bring in players I want, try to develop them, and try to be a successful team.
“I want to rebuild this club. But the takeover has to happen.”
Absolutely gutted with the outcome from today. Proud of all the players and staff, unbelievable effort from everyone. Thanks to all our fans for the incredible support through some tough times. Hopefully we can start to rebuild as soon as possible. 🐏🤍🖤 #dcfc @dcfcofficial pic.twitter.com/iTf4kBVYFu— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) April 18, 2022
Derby County’s prospective owner is an American businessman Chris Kirchner. The businessman had said that he would want Rooney to stay back at the club after he becomes the club’s new owner.
After the club was relegated on Monday, Kirchner announced that a business plan for the club will be presented to the EFL for approval on Friday, April 22, 2022.
“We anticipate a quick turnaround from them for approval as they have been very supportive in helping us to be in a position to close the deal,” Kirchner said.
🎙 “Wayne, can you sum up how you feel after relegation?”— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 18, 2022
Derby County boss Wayne Rooney speaks to Sky Sports following #DCFC‘s relegation from the Championship to League One 📉 pic.twitter.com/u79b9y1vjj