Thousands of Derby County fans took the streets on Sunday to protest the Rams financial plight, which has left the 138-year-old club on the brink of extinction.
One of the founding members of the Football League, Derby have been in administration for four months and their very existence is hanging by a thread.
Approximately 2,000 fans joined the march for the ‘Save Derby County’ campaign, which moved from the city centre to Pride Park ahead of the Rams’ Championship clash against Birmingham City on Sunday.
Thousands of Derby County fans marched onto Pride Park ahead of the Championship clash against Birmingham on Sunday afternoon
The match is expected to be played in front of almost 32,000 fans, Derby’s largest attendance for a league game in almost three years.
Earlier this week, the EFL agreed to extend the deadline for the club’s administrators to show there are sufficient funds to complete the season by four weeks.
Prior to the decision, Derby had until February 1 to prove to the EFL they had sufficient funds to complete the current season.
‘Following a formal review of revised financial forecasts at Derby County, the EFL and Quantuma (the Club Administrators) have today agreed a month-long extension to the deadline set for proof of funding to be provided,’ a joint-statement released by the club and Quantuma on Thursday said.
Derby are on the brink of extinction after entering administration back in September
Fans protested against former owner Mel Morris, whose ownership left the club in peril
The Rams have approximately £60million worth of debts which have put off new suitors
‘The EFL Board had previously requested evidence by 1 February 2022 of how Derby County was to be financed whilst it remained in administration, alongside a financial plan that determined how the Club would fulfil its fixture commitments until the end of the current season.’
Derby formally entered administration in September last year, after owner Mel Morris revealed the coronavirus pandemic had cost the club around £20million worth of revenue.
Morris, who became the Rams’ sole owner in 2015, said the club had cost him ‘in excess’ of £200million and he had been actively trying to find buyers since Derby lost the Championship play-off final to Aston Villa in 2019.
Morris still owns Pride Park, which has proved another sticking point for interested parties
Morris sold the ground to himself £80m, despite it previously being listed as worth £41m
The Rams were deducted a total of 21 points by the EFL for breaching financial regulations and entering administration.
Offers for the club haven’t been forthcoming, with potential suitors put off by debts of around £60million and the fact Morris still owns Pride Park.
On Friday, US brothers Adam and Colin Binnie emerged as a new bidder, joining a consortium led by former Rams chairman Andy Appleby and ex-Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley.
Derby fans of all generations took part in the march towards Pride Park on Sunday
One of the Football League founding members, Derby are on the brink of going bust
The Rams’ 138-year history, which delivered two league titles, could be wiped out
One of the main sticking points for potential suitors is that Middlesbrough and Wycombe have both lodged complaints with the EFL, claiming Derby’s breach of financial rules disadvantaged them.
Should the EFL consider both clubs to be football creditors, Middlesbrough and Wycombe would have to be paid in full if their claims were successful.
Earlier this week, Sportsmail reported that Quantuma had asked MSD Capital for a fresh loan. MSD Capital has already lent the club £20million secured against Pride Park.
Despite the turmoil off the pitch, under manager Wayne Rooney the Rams have kept hopes of a ‘Great Escape’ alive on it.
Wayne Rooney and his players have not given up hopes of pulling off a great escape
Derby are 23rd in the Championship, eight points adrift of 21st-placed Reading but have a game in hand over the Royals. Speaking on Sunday, Rooney said keeping Derby up would be his greatest achievement in football.
‘Certainly would be the best achievement of my football career,” he told Sky Sports.
‘Dealing with transfer embargoes, not being able to bring players in, not being able to bring players you want to bring in, budget being completely slashed to almost zero.
‘A 12-point deduction and then, on top of that, another nine-point deduction. If we stay in this division, I think not just for myself, the players, for the staff, it’d be one of the greatest achievements in football.’
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