The appointment of Phillip Cocu as Frank Lampard’s successor at Derby County was supposed to get the Rams back in the big time, but it ended up setting them back a long, long way.
It never quite happened for the legendary Dutch former footballer at Pride Park – he was backed in the transfer market with the expensive acquisition of Krystian Bielik but in his debut season he could only guide County to 10th in the Championship.
And after a horrendous start to the following season which saw just one win from 11 league games, Cocu was dispensed of last November, leaving Derby at the bottom of the Championship.
Wayne Rooney – who arrived at the club under Cocu’s management – was able to rescue them somewhat as player-manager initially and then as full-time manager, but he’s now in charge of a real mess with Derby now in administration thanks to Mel Morris.
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Cocu, who is said to be owed money by the Rams still after being sacked last year, has commented on failed takeovers when he was manager of the club and also revealed that he was a big influence in why Rooney joined Derby in the first place.
I was one of the reasons he wanted to come to Derby”, Cocu told Dutch publication Algemeen Dagblad.
“We are still in regular contact.
“He aspired to become a manager and the question arose whether I wanted him as a player/manager.
“As a footballer I already thought he was a giant.
“He is now also having a hard time as head coach at Derby.”
Two different takeovers of the club have failed to transpire in 2021 with both Sheikh Khaled and Erik Alonso’s attempts to take control not happening – but Cocu revealed that more attempts than that happened when he was in charge between 2019 and 2020.
“In my time I was already sitting around the table with the chairman with three parties who wanted to buy Derby,” Cocu continued.
“It failed all three times.”
It’s an interesting revelation from Cocu that other takeovers failed when he was manager, which makes you wonder how keen Morris was to selling all along.
It also wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Cocu criticise the ownership a bit more considering reports say he is owed money by the club, but he seems to be playing it quite cool.
At the time, Rooney was a big coup for Derby and he’s somewhat working wonders right now by getting wins out of a thread-bare Rams squad – playing under Cocu may very well have been a big reason for him coming to Pride Park in the first place.
Cocu could perhaps be giving Rooney advice if he needs it as he deals with a tough situation – it wasn’t all bad when the Dutchman was in charge but it did end quite sourly in the midst of a poor run of results.