After entering administration last week, Derby County have been deducted 12 points by the English Football League and Rams fans are pointing the finger of blame firmly at the club’s owner.
The Championship club announced their intention to call in administrators on Friday, with owner Mel Morris saying the coronavirus pandemic had cost them about £20m in lost revenue.
As a result, Wayne Rooney’s Rams drop to the foot of the table, on minus two points.
“It’s been a crazy seven days since it was announced that the owners were seeking to put the club into administration,” Jason from Rams Review Podcast tells FansBet.
“That was clarified and went ahead last week and that 12 point deduction hit Derby County hard.
“We knew there were problems at the football club financially – there’s been no hiding that.
“The club tried to reduce the wage bill but at this moment in time, we’re losing around £1.5 million a month which is a lot of money.”
Morris became Derby’s sole owner in 2015 but has actively been looking to sell since June 2019 following their Championship play-off final defeat by Aston Villa.
A first takeover deal is said to have collapsed in the aftermath of an EFL charge in January 2020 relating to the sale of Derby’s Pride Park to Morris for £80m.
In March of this year, Derventio Holdings, who were backed by the Abu Dhabi-based Bin Zayed Group, saw their takeover bid end while another from Spanish businessman Erik Alonso was aborted in May.
😤 “The owner got it wrong; he didn’t do things to the best interests of the club, but more so for himself.”
— FansBet (@FansBet) September 24, 2021
“Chairman Mel Morris has been looking for a buyer for the club for over two years,” explains Jason.
“It was reported on the local radio that the reason the Chairman decided to do this now is because a takeover collapsed last week and there is no significant interest in terms of the club being purchased.
“Everybody knew that Derby were sailing very close to the wind and Covid, whilst it affected everybody, was always going to have a major impact at Derby.
“There are reports coming out that Derby owes the best part of 60-70 million pounds to various creditors, so anybody coming in has to deal with that.
“The club itself doesn’t own the training ground or the stadium, so there are multiple millions there just to buy back those assets.
“It’s a massively frustrating situation to be in but I can’t say we didn’t see it coming as fans because we did.”
Mel Morris himself has attempted to dissociate himself from the blame in recent weeks.
In an interview with BBC Radio Derby, he claimed that the EFL and the coronavirus pandemic were the main factors in the club’s demise.
But in the eyes of the County fans, the way Morris has run the club in recent seasons is the sole reason they find themselves in the mess they are today.
“The only person to blame for this has clearly got to be the owner,” says Jason.
“He’s the one who has signed off the cheques, he’s the one that has run this football club financially in the wrong way.
“He’s said subsequently that he had to do that in order to keep Derby competitive and if they’d have made the Premier League then none of this would have mattered.
“That is gambling with a football club and Derby didn’t make the Premier League, despite coming close, then came the mad rush to get the finances down, but by then Derby were far in far too deep.”
On the pitch, Derby had been 12th in the Championship under the management of England’s record goalscorer Rooney, who has been in permanent charge since he officially retired as a player in January.
However, the automatic penalty for going into administration will put the Rams six points adrift of second-bottom Nottingham Forest.
“The likelihood is that Derby County will be in League One next year,” says Jason.
“We’ve just got to hope that if we do go down, all the sanctions are ended and we’ve got a clean slate without these charges hanging over us.
“It’s a worrying situation at the moment but the short-term aim is just to keep going and it looks like Wayne has got them pretty motivated.
“It would be something of a miracle for them to get out of this and stay in the Championship.
“All the fans can do is get behind the team, and hope that things go as smoothly as possible with the administrators.
“Fingers crossed, in a few months’ time, there will be light at the end of the tunnel and Derby can start to rebuild.”
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