Wayne Rooney, Derby County’s takeover and the truths that Rams fans must face

Wayne Rooney’s agreement to manage Derby County was the clearest sign yet that new owners will finally take charge (Image: PA)

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There is one litmus test which should reassure Derby County supporters during this tortuous takeover – Wayne Rooney staying put.

Rams' fans looking at the manner in which the buyout of owner Mel Morris is being conducted by have every reason to question it.

The best – and cleanest – purchases of any football club happen without any fanfare.

The club simply issues a statement saying that it's been sold – sometimes whispers are heard, sometimes not – and the faithful wait for a plume of white smoke to appear and hail the next owners.

Sheikh Khaled's proposed move has been a soap opera.

But then, when has life ever been simple at Derby County?

Rooney and Jack Wilshere after the Rams win
(Image: PA)

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Ever since Lionel Pickering decided to invest some of his fortune and re-build the club at the start of the 1990s, there's rarely been a dull moment.

What makes the Rams different however, is that there is little middle ground.

The club is either flying high, pushing upwards at a rate of knots, or instead tying itself up in one and the same.

For a while under Pickering and, latterly, Mel Morris, money was swishing around the place. Big-name signings were attracted to the east Midlands and the boom times were back.

But where there has been feast so too has there been famine.

Mel Morris has spent big at times to get Derby into the Premier League
(Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

For instance, Nigel Clough battled gamely under the weight of a self-imposed salary cap and managed to keep the Rams on an even keel.

And quite where Billy Davies fits into all this, only he knows.

However, one thing is for certain: Morris's affection for Derby County has cost him dear and made a significant dent in the family fortunes. A self-made man he may be, but the oldest adage in football is true for a reason.

The Candy Crush king now has a small fortune.

Problem is, before he involved himself in the national game he boasted a large one.

Nevertheless, Morris disappearance opens up a door to the new man.

And the appearance of private equity capital, additional loans, wages not being paid and mysterious sheikhs sounds about as appetising as an evening meal in the jungle on 'I'm a celebrity.'

And yet.

Chief executive Stephen Pearce moved to address the playing staff last week, saying that the cash to pay this month's money was en route.

That was the cue for another story saying that further borrowings would be made via an additional loan.

Two days after this, Rooney confirms that not only has he accepted the job on a permanent basis but that he himself has sought reassurance that despite all of these warning signs, he is still prepared to move it on.

And that's the rub.

Rooney has taken permanent charge, ably assisted by Liam Rosenior
(Image: PA)

Wayne Rooney doesn't need Derby County. He needs a vehicle for his managerial career. It doesn't have to be Derby County.

He could get away, at this point, with shaking his head and saying: 'Thanks, not for me' to whoever is taking over.

Rooney could disappear back to his Cheshire pile, play with his children, and another club would take a chance on him in the not-too-distant future.

His stock hasn't really been affected by the couple of months he has had circling the manager's chair.

Let's face it, it has taken the powers-that-be a while to confirm his position over and above that of Liam Rosenior.

England's greatest goalscorer would walk away from the situation with barely a blemish on his CV.

But he also knows full well that building a half-successful club could see him catapulted into a choice job in the big league.

Look at what happened to Frank Lampard after just 12 months.

Derby County's Krystian Bielik celebrates scoring vs Bournemouth
(Image: PA)

That's probably why he's holding on – to see how this plays out.

Rooney leaving would fuel more unanswered questions and it would be the most concrete sign yet that something really is not adding up as it should do.

As it is, the manager believes what he is being told.

That the off-field circus will stop, that players will be paid and that he can build upwards, potentially with a few quid to spend.

Until that happens, it probably pays not to hold your breath.

After all, this is Derby County we are talking about.

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