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Wayne Rooney will be wearing the unusual No.32 shirt at Derby County when he joins up in January in a decision that has been heavily criticised.
England's record goalscorer has signed a 18-month contract as a player-coach under new boss Phillip Cocu and is expected to earn around £100,000-a-week at Pride Park - five times the average wage in the second tier of English football.
And despite 7, 12, 13, 15 and 18 all being available for the 33-year old to choose from, he will wear #32 as part of a massive sponsorship deal with 32Red that was announced by the Rams shortly after the Rooney signing was confirmed.
So....Wayne Rooney to wear No'32 for Derby, and DCFC announces massive sponsorship deal with 32Red.... coincidence? https://t.co/esXW25XEmQ
- Mik Wood (@mikster_derby) August 6, 2019
The @FA allowing Bookies to fund player purchases now ay? 32Red Casinos can literally buy Derby Wayne Rooney & make him wear No.32 as a marketing gimmick. But Yerry Mina is gonna get fined & suspended from games for being in a Columbian bookies marketing campaign :confused:
- 雄牛を:cow: (@patto1878) August 6, 2019
So, Wayne Rooney joins Derby Cunty and gets the No 32 shirt. Derby Cunty sponsor is 32Red. I'm no Sherlock Holmes but I bet my bollocks to a barn dance that they're financing the whole shooting match and will use this as a loophole to get around FFP. @dcfcofficial
- Leezus (@themaincho) August 6, 2019
Speaking to the official Derby website, chairman Mel Morris said: "Obviously, the commercial opportunities this creates are widespread and significant.
"On the back of Wayne joining the club, we have just been offered a record-breaking sponsorship deal with our principal shirt sponsor, 32Red.
'We are keen to leverage Wayne's involvement and the support of 32Red with our community initiatives, expanding the work such as the Team Talk mental health programme which is supported by our Community Trust and 32Red.
"These are key initiatives to us as a club and demonstrate the benefits of commercial initiatives that are truly aligned to the objectives of all parties, club fanbase and community."
But his squad number essentially being part of a stunt involving a gambling firm has irked Richard Caborn, who was key in bringing about the 2005 Gambling Act.
"It's not very clever this - it all seems a bit crass," Caborn told the Telegraph.
"Wayne Rooney, who has got kids himself, should perhaps know this is not the brightest. The gambling companies need to be doing themselves favours at the moment, but this is not going to go down well with football authorities or the Government."
Neil Banbury, 32Red general manager, said: ""This record-breaking sponsorship agreement is a significant step for us as we continue to reinvent the model of sponsorship to benefit both club and community.
"Earlier this year, we invested in 'Team Talk', a project with Derby County Community Trust that is tackling the issue of men's mental health right across Derby.
"And we are delighted that our commitment to the club has allowed Derby to bring in an England legend who will not only improve the first team, but add invaluable experience to an already strong coaching set-up.
"Our partnership with Derby County Community Trust, and the extended relationship with Derby County Football Club, shows a new model for football club sponsorship is possible. 32Red are leading the way in becoming a sponsor of choice for a club and its community."
Rooney himself says he hasn't given much thought into his squad number.
"To be honest, the number that I wear is not a big deal," the Manchester United legend said at his officially Derby unveiling.
"I've worn many numbers throughout my career, Nos 18, 8, 9, 10, 23, now 32, for me, the important thing was to come back and help the team, the number isn't a big deal whatever it is."
Rooney will see out the remaining nine games with D.C before he returns to England and hopes to add to his tally of 11 goals and seven assists this season.
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