Derby County have just come off the back of an incredibly tough season during which they battled hard in an effort to defy a 21 point deduction and avoid relegation. Recent events such as American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrawing his bid and the resignation of manager Wayne Rooney looked to have piled yet more misery on what has been an exceedingly tough nine months for Rams fans. However, Kirchner’s takeover attempt falling through has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as local property developer, and lifelong Derby fan, David Clowes completed his purchase of the club on the 1st of July to end the uncertainty of administration, heralding the start of a new era at Pride Park.
Lets take a look back at the events of the last month which have culminated in a much needed positive end to the Derby County fiasco.
The Collapse of the Chris Kirchner Bid
Derby County fans were facing uncertainty once again after June 10th as the deadline passed for Texas-based Chris Kirchner to complete his takeover of the club. This scenario will have been frustrating as on April 6th Kirchner was named as the preferred bidder meaning that he was granted exclusivity over the process.
However, despite Kirchner having provided the English Football League with proof of funds and passing the owners and directors test, delays occurred with the American failing to meet the original deadline of May 31st to conclude a deal with administrators Quantuma. Moreover, having failed to meet the second deadline of June 10th his bid was withdrawn completely with the administrators and EFL forced to look for new buyers.
This situation once again raises questions regarding the owners and directors which in recent years has appeared to pass a number of unfit owners. The test should have been able to spot the fact that Kirchner would be unable to complete the deal and he adds to a growing list of unsuitable owners which most notably includes former Bury owner Steve Dale whose mismanagement led to the club being expelled from the EFL.
Quantuma were choosing to stay positive in light of the situation as they sought to reassure Rams fans that there were still interested parties with which a deal could be struck.
‘the joint administrators wish to reassure the club’s staff, players and supporters that they are continuing to actively engage with a growing number of interested parties’Spokesman of behalf of the Joint Administrators: BBC Sport
One of the many prospective buyers for Derby County was the former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley with previous reports linking him to a reported £50 million bid to take control of the Rams.
Rooney Departs Derby County
In a more shocking turn of events the man who chose to stay with Derby throughout a season that was heavily impacted by administration resigned on the 25th of June. The legendary striker had rightly received a great deal of plaudits for all his work in guiding the Rams through a trying season and blooding youngsters into the first team, two of which in Luke Plange and Malcolm Ebiowei have moved to Premier League side Crystal Palace. Had Derby not been issued with any points deductions, they would have finished in eighteenth place with 55 points.Embed from Getty Images
In explaining his decision Rooney described how it was time for the Rams to have a fresh start with a manager in the dugout who had not been affected by the issues that have plagued the club since they entered administration in September 2021.
‘Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last eighteen months.’Wayne Rooney: Sky Sports
This news will have been immensely disappointing for everyone associated with the club but, it was not entirely negative as Derby appointed Liam Rosenior as interim manager. The 37 year old will have the support of the existing backroom staff at Pride Park. On paper, this appears to be the perfect appointment as Rosenior has been integrated within the coaching setup at the club for the last three years and provides important familiarity and continuity.Embed from Getty Images
However, in Rooney’s statement he did describe how the club needed someone who had not been affected by the issues of the past, Liam Rosenior has been with Derby throughout the administration period therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Rams feel he is the right man to take the job full time.
David Clowes Takeover Bid
On the 26th June it was ,announced that a bid made by David Clowes had been accepted and the joint administrators confirmed that the 53 year old businessman had been granted preferred bidder status. Clowes had declared that it was his intention to purchase Derby after buying Pride Park stadium from the much maligned former owner Mel Morris. Clowes had also given the Rams a loan to ensure the club was able to start the 2022-23 season.
Furthermore, there was added positive news as the administrators confirmed that the offer made by Clowes, whose Derbyshire company reportedly has assets worth in the region of £300 million, complied with the EFL insolvency policy ensuring that the club would not face any further points deductions.
‘The offer also provides the best return for creditors and enables the joint administrators to fulfil their statutory duties and will ensure that there are no further points deductions levied against the club once it is out of administration.’Quantuma: BBC Sport
The purchase of Derby County by Clowes Developments finally went through on July 1st ending a torrid nine month period of administration for the Rams during which the club have faced redundancies, points deductions and relegation with Derby County facing the tough task of having to rebuild a squad which contained just five senior players.
In an open letter to the fans Clowes reaffirmed his commitment to his boyhood club and discussed what his intentions will be during his ownership.
‘As a lifelong supporter, I could not stand by as the risk of losing Derby County became all too real.’David Clowes: BBC Sport
‘I won’t be making any extravagant promises. However I can confirm my intentions. My focus now is to stabilise the football club in every department and to make sure we have the foundations in place for success, however long that takes.’David Clowes: BBC Sport
With the takeover saga finally over, Derby County wasted little time in adding a great deal of quality to their squad with the additions of Conor Hourihane, James Chester and David McGoldrick. All three are players who really should be playing at Championship level, Hourihane and McGoldrick were previously at Sheffield United who just lost to eventual promotion winners Nottingham Forest in the playoffs.
All three players bring a wealth of Championship, Premier League and International experience and will aid Derby as they look to bounce back from the bitter disappointment of relegation.