TOM BRADY had Wayne Rooney’s number on speed dial in the weeks before the Three Lions legend was made manager of Birmingham.
The seven-time Super Bowl winner joined the St Andrew’s board in an advisory capacity in early August after becoming a minority shareholder.Wayne Rooney has had a horrible start to life as Birmingham City manager[/caption]
He then made it his business to lure Roo back to England.
Apparently, the fact that John Eustace had been doing a great job at the Blues was of no consequence.
What the Birmingham board wanted was someone sexier in the dug-out, a coach who would deploy more exciting attacking tactics.
He also needed to be a sexier name, a figure admired world-wide – just like Brady.
So an English icon joined an American icon last month, Brady having persuaded Rooney that once his deal with MLS club DC United ended he should return to Blighty and make Birmingham big.
It will all have made perfect sense to new owners Shelby Companies, a subsidiary of US-based Knighthead Capital who took over in July.
Rooney, along with Brady, would illustrate the vision head honcho Tom Wagner and CEO Garry Cook had for the club – one that saw Brum in the Premier League, maybe even out-shining neighbours Aston Villa.
Rooney, said the board, would bring a “winning mentality and a culture of ambition.”
He would be a new appointment responsible “for creating and identity and clear ‘no fear’ playing style.”
Five games after Eustace was dropped like a stone there is plenty of fear around the place – among the fans, at least.
Rooney has collected only one point – only Burnley out of the 92 have a worse record in that time – and after getting his hands on a team that lay sixth, he takes them into Saturday’s clash with rock-bottom Sheffield Wednesday in 18th position.
Wagner had purred that “Wayne is a born winner” and true enough he was in making himself Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer with 253 goals and also England’s record hitman until Harry Kane came along.
But he’s not showing that trait with Birmingham.
Defeat against the Owls, run by their cuckoo owner Delphon Chansiri, is almost unthinkable.
Wagner insisted Roo would always have the support of the board, when he signed his three-and-a-half year deal.
He may be revising that stance.
Brady’s main role is to apply his extensive leadership experience and expertise across the science department to advise on health, nutrition, wellness and recovery systems.
Well, that’s according to the blurb that accompanied his entrance.
He’s got a job on, then, for Rooney’s players don’t seem well.
The boss used last week’s international break to give them a few days off, which was somewhat of a surprise given that he has revealed they aren’t fit enough to deal with his high-press football.
Rooney gave them personal fitness programmes to be completed at home.
After the latest defeat at Sunderland he said: “It’s a chance for the players to put some really good fitness work in ahead of a tough three or four months.
“The fitness work is such an important thing with how I want my teams to play.
“This is nothing to do with the former manager and nothing to do with the fitness coaches.
Rooney’s appointment is now looking like an accident waiting to happenKen Lawrence
“The way they played before was a completely different way and involved sitting back a lot.
“What I’m asking the players to do now is be front-footed and press high, it’s really intense and hard work, so it’s a different fitness level.”
Or maybe he was just sick of the sight of them – and perhaps the other way round, too.
Rooney arrived with a decent CV. DC United were a basket case when he took over last year and while he didn’t take them to the play-offs he made the side better.
His work at Derby won him plenty of plaudits.
He guided the Rams to safety in the Championship then in his first full season failed bravely to keep them up due to a 21 – point points deduction.
The 55 points won in that campaign would have been good enough to ensure safety in any other Championship season.
Now it looks like safety is all he can hope for again, not a glorious stride towards the top of the mountain of money aka the Premier League.Birmingham co-owner Tom Brady might have a decision to make if Rooney cannot turn things around[/caption]
Unless things improve fast Brady might have to get back on the blower, this time to persuade Wagner to keep him and not sack him if things get any worse.
As things stand however, he’ll be making a 999 call.
For Rooney’s appointment is beginning to look like it was an accident waiting to happen.