Wayne Rooney has resigned as Derby County manager after a “rollercoaster” reign, the former Manchester United and England star said on Friday.
Rooney took his first role in management when he was appointed at Derby in November 2020, and faced a difficult challenge as the club were blighted by off-field issues.
Derby were relegated from the Championship at the end of last season after having 21 points deducted, 12 for entering administration and nine for historical financial breaches under former owner Mel Morris.
The Rams will be playing in the third tier for the first time since the 1985-86 season, yet Derby had hoped to keep Rooney.
American businessman Chris Kirchner expressed an interest in acquiring the club and was named preferred bidder by administrators in April, but he pulled out earlier in June.
Rooney, who was linked to Everton before Frank Lampard was named manager, says he has kept a close eye on Derby’s ownership developments but has decided to resign.
“Over the course of the summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County,” Rooney said, in a statement released on the club’s website.
“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 18 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.
“Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club. 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.”