Birmingham City are flying, this season. With five wins from their opening 11 league matches of the campaign, in addition to the arrival of seven-time Super Bowl winner, Tom Brady, as minority owner and the chair of the club’s advisory board, you’d think that the blue side of the Second City would be in for an uncharacteristically smooth-sailing season.
Such is the state of modern football, it is imperative that results good results are delivered consistently. Many clubs conduct business as franchises and Birmingham City parted company with John Eustace – after just over a year in charge.
With the club in the dizzy heights of a play-off position and having won 3-1 against Black Country neighbours, West Brom, in Eustace’s last match – the club’s CEO, Garry Cook cited a ‘misalignment with the leadership of the club’, as the primary reason for cutting ties with Eustace, despite the former Watford midfielder’s ambitions.
Just two days later, attention turned to the appointment of the latest instalment in a long line of managers at the St Andrews club, and one of the finest players to have graced the English game, Wayne Rooney.
The arrival of the greatest goal-scorer in Manchester United’s history and the previous most prolific marksmen in the history of England’s national team, Rooney, looks to be the perfect fit for his new club, having had a turbulent week, himself.
Having seen his DC United side fail to attain a play-off place, the MLS club parted company with the Liverpool born manager, after 15 months in charge of the club where he once played.
During his playing career, Rooney provided his clubs and the nation with many memorable moments – and will be ambitious of entering the folklore of Birmingham’s illustriously decorated history.
Rooney’s three-year managerial career has thus far proven to have been as patterned as his 17-year playing career and subsequently, his appointment as Birmingham manager has been received with much reasonable scepticism.
In the 17 months in charge of Derby County, Rooney regularly faced adversity, having been thrown in at the deep end of the financially-plagued Rams, guiding them to safety – following the departure of manager, Phillip Cocu, in the 2020-21 campaign.
However, the former frontman, whose playing career began at boyhood club Everton, was powerless – as the Rams were condemned to the third-tier of English football for the first time since 1986, having spent the most-part of the season in administration.
Following his spell in charge of DC United, which came with more trials and tribulations, having finished bottom and 9th in the Eastern Conference, in his respective seasons in charge, the manager who rejected the opportunity to pursue a job in Saudi Arabia will be hoping for a fresh start.
Ahead of his tenure in charge of Birmingham, which begins against Middlesbrough on October 21st, the new manger said, “For me, I felt my development, my pathway, was a different way.
“I think for myself, firstly to get back into English football is great. It’s what I’ve wanted to do.”
He added: “I’ve had opportunities over the last four to six weeks at other clubs as well, but since speaking to Birmingham, it was a really easy decision.”
Birmingham’s club anthem is Keep Right On. With the man who first made his name on the blue side of Merseyside, before being adored on the red side of Manchester, at the helm – Blues supporters will be hopeful that they can keep right on track for a return to the Premier League, for the first time since 2011.