LONDON: Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has urged Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers, as well as the English Football League, to be “sensible” in their treatment of his struggling side after the cash-strapped club’s last-ditch 2-2 Championship draw at home to Birmingham on Sunday.
Both Middlesbrough, who also play in English football’s second-tier, and third division side Wycombe are mounting legal challenges arguing they have been disadvantaged in both economic and sporting terms by Derby breaking the EFL’s financial fair play rules in previous seasons.
Boro argues that had Derby not done so they would have made the Championship play-offs for lucrative promotion to the Premier League.
Wycombe’s case is that they would have avoided relegation to League One last season.
Derby, who is just seven points from safety despite a 21-point deduction, went into administration in September.
This week the East Midlands club, twice champions of England in the 1970s, were given a one-month extension by the EFL to prove they have sufficient funds to complete the season.
An already emotional afternoon, which started with 1,000 fans marching from Derby city center to a sold-out Pride Park ended with a spectacular stoppage-time equalizer through Rams substitute Krystian Bielik’s overhead kick.
Derby had been 2-0 down before Luke Plange reduced the deficit in the 87th minute. Lyle Taylor and Scott Hogan had scored for Birmingham.
England great Rooney, who on Friday announced he had turned down the opportunity to manage former club Everton, was delighted by the vocal support Derby received on Sunday.
“Things happen for a reason and – with there being no Premier League games today – it was a chance for us and the fans to show the country and the world what a massive club this is,” he said.