Two of Derby city's leading councillors have launched a motion calling for Wayne Rooney to be honoured with the Freedom of Derby.Next week an annual general meeting of Conservative-led Derby City Council will see a vote take place on whether or not the Derby County manager should be bestowed the honour - which was once given to the late Brian Clough.
The motion has been put forward by Conservative councillor Steve Hassall who is Cabinet member for regeneration, decarbonisation, strategic planning and transport.
It has been seconded by fellow Cabinet member councillor Jonathan Smale who runs the city's finances, assets and digital services.Ever since the motion became public, hundreds of comments have been made either supporting the motion, or suggesting the gesture is a step too far at this moment of time.
Cllr Steve Hassall said: "No one can deny what's been going on at Derby County for the past twelve months.
"I want to start by saying this is not about the result.
"The result (relegation) is obviously not what anyone wanted, however, we should not be looking at rewarding people merely on the outcome."It is the support that Rooney has shown for this city, the supporters, and how he has galvanised that support in very tetchy and uncertain circumstances.
"For me, he has shown support over and above his calling and his place as a manager.
"He's done that job, he's done it well and I think, in what is unprecedented circumstances, he's definitely shown the resolve this honour deserves."Councillor Smale, seconded this motion ahead of the council meeting next week. He said: "We've been talking about it for quite some time - about two months.
"We've seen the passion that's been going around the city.
"No one can deny it has been a traumatic experience for a lot of fans and during it all there has been one constant throughout all of this turmoil - and that is Wayne Rooney.
"I've never seen a manager met with such a frenzy of passion from the fans.
"The moment that struck it for me was when Wayne and the team came to the Moor Farm gates at night after the QPR game (when relegation was confirmed) and greeted the fans.
"I cannot recall any manager historically ever doing that - coming out to the gates and greeting fans and telling it the way it was.
"He's been honest and plain, some of his language has been quite refreshing. He's called out the EFL, previous ownership and it is quite refreshing to see that from a manager.
"Sometimes we get complacent with a manager about how they are toned into just doing their job and then walking away.
"Wayne hasn't done that. We all know he could have gone to Everton and for him to turn down his boyhood club to stay and do a job for Derby just shows what kind of loyalty he's shown."
Since the motion has been put forward there has been a mixed response from people about it.Cllr Steve Hassall said: "I've seen the online response. There's a lot of positivity out there.
"There's some negativity out there, but I don't buy into that.
"This is a chance for the city to honour what Rooney has done for the city.
"We have 20,000 plus fans who can clap and congratulate him at the end of every match but we have a city full of people that don' t have that opportunity".
One comment to the motion says "not a patch on Jim Smith, Dave Mackay, Arthur Cox who all have enjoyed success with Derby County, unlike Rooney".Cllr Steve Hassall said "It's about that in these unprecedented circumstances Wayne has stood by us.
"We would be hard pressed to find any other manager who has that situation. It is those special circumstances that warrants this move."
Some comments claim this is a "political ploy for political gain".Cllr Steve Hassall said: "Absolutely not. It's nothing to do with us as a group or as individuals.
"This is about celebrating what one man has done for this city and nothing more."
Others commented saying "unsung heroes in Derby deserve it more".Cllr Steve Hassall said: "There are lots of mechanisms for people to be rewarded in the city through local award ceremonies, certifications and also The Queen's Honours List.
"Everyone in the city can make representation for whoever they would like to come to and say "this person deserves this".
"There are another 49 councillors that can do the same. People who want to put others forward then please talk to us. This is just me and my personal opinion at this point."This gives out a wider message that the people of this city will recognise and reward loyalty and support".