Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has given his take on the sacking of Wayne Rooney at Birmingham earlier in the week, in an interview with Sky Sports.
Rooney was sacked by the club on Tuesday following his side’s 3-0 loss to high-flyers Leeds United the day prior. That loss took Birmingham’s winless run to five in the Championship as they fell further down the second tier table to 20th, just six points clear of the relegation zone.
It was a torrid time as manager for the former Manchester United and England legend as he would manage just two wins in a total of 15 games in charge of the club. Having only been appointed in mid-October and being in the post for just 83 days, Birmingham acted swiftly with their decision, potentially due to the January transfer window now being open.
Whoever is next through the doors of St. Andrew’s will be the third manager to take charge of the club this season, one in which can only be described as turbulent.
Under former boss John Eustace, the Blues would climb up to sixth, defying all pre-season expectations in the process. At one point it looked highly likely that Birmingham would be one of the teams in the play-off picture, that was until they announced the sacking of Eustace to bring Rooney in.
It was a bizarre decision at the time and was only made worse by Rooney’s awful record in charge of the club. Part of the decision was very much down to the new American ownership wanting a big name in charge, something which has obviously backfired massively.
There were extremely high expectations of Rooney as soon as he arrived at St. Andrews, not only due to him replacing the very popular Eustace but also down to his exploits as a player.
This is something that current Crystal Palace manager, and former England boss Roy Hodgson echoed when asked about Rooney’s situation.
“It’s perhaps more a question of the climate people work in these days. I think sometimes the bigger-name players won’t be given a chance at a top club or a club in an elevated position.
“I’m thinking in particular Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard even more than Wayne, but unfortunately the way the climate is these days is that the judgement on them will come very, very quickly and will be quite severe.”
“Let’s get Rooney, let’s get Lampard, let’s get Gerrard, and there’s no change? Well, that’s where the dream, the myth, is quite often proliferated, that a manager has some sort of magic wand and he will wave that wand and the team that has been doing badly will now do well, because he is there.
“Sometimes it works, but it is by no means a certainty.”
Hodgson’s words are very true and it did seem as if Rooney was on the back foot from the off given the circumstances. That being said not much can be taken away from just how poor the players were performing under him.
No doubt the Birmingham board will look back and regret their decision to sack Eustace given where he had them. Hindsight is however a wonderful thing and the club have gone from promotion-contenders to potentially being threatened with relegation. Although the next manager may not have as high expectations, it must be the right appointment to preserve their Championship status.