Adminstrators running the affairs of Derby County will this week step up their search for a buyer.
The Rams officially went into administration on Wednesday and Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou, managing directors at business advisory firm Quantuma, were appointed joint administrators.
Hosking said last week there is a “considerable” amount of interest in the club from potential buyers.
Further reports over the weekend suggested there are ‘seven or eight credible expressions of interest’ in rescuing the club.
The interest is believed to be coming from America, Europe, Asia and the UK.
Mel Morris, who bought the Rams in 2015, is confident a quality purchaser will be found.
Former Rams chairman Andy Appleby is being linked with Derby and he is looking at the club’s situation, DerbyshireLive understands, although whether anything comes of that remains to be seen.
Appleby was the Rams’ chairman when his US-based company General Sports and Entertainment purchased the club in January 2008. “I loved almost every minute of my time there (at Derby),” Appleby told DerbyshireLive earlier this year.
Appleby linked up with former Rams chief executive Sam Rush last year when Appleby’s General Sports Worldwide (GSW) sports management company acquired the London-based 366 Group, a sports management firm of which Rush is CEO.
Reports in May and June of this year claimed former Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook, with US backers, was the man behind an American takeover bid of the club Cook continues to be linked with Derby.
Here is the state of play on the search for new owners of Derby County …
What the administrators have said
“There is always lots of interest in football clubs. Say we get 100 expressions of interest, typically you can weed out 90 of those who are not really interested or haven’t got the financial wherewithal or the experience or the skill sets to run a football club. So one of our challenges early days is to make sure we are engaging with those parties who tick all those boxes.
“We are encouraged. It is no secret there were a number of interested parties who were engaging with the owner prior to the company going into administration. They are still there and we will re-engage and have re-engaged with them.
“The entities that were talking to the football club are serious, well-funded entities and have the financial wherewithal to effectively fund this club going forward.
“Three or four were engaging with the company prior to our involvement. That is not to say that we are not going to get others.
“One of our jobs is to widen that. We will run a proper market exercise, we have our own contact base, so we are not just focusing on those entities who were already engaging with Derby, there will be other entities who we have dealt with in the past, who we know will be interested and we’ll make an approach to them or they’ll make an approach to us. Our task then is to effectively shorten that list.”
What Mel Morris has said
“Adminstration brings a whole raft of offers from all sorts of places.
“In terms of serious ones, I think there are two or three there that are, certainly based on reputation, very serious indeed.
“Half of the battle is not about getting people interested in discussing things with you, the challenge is actually finding people who have the money, can prove they have the money, and have the right profile and other things to run forward with the club.”
Timescale to find a buyer
One of the joint administrators, Andrew Hosking, said: “We certainly want to ideally have a resolution by no later than the end of December or January, obviously it’s subject to how the discussions go with a number of the purchasers but on the basis that the price is now much more affordable, we do feel confident in those timetable expectations.”
How confident are the administrators of resolving this matter
Carl Jackson, one of the administrators, said: “We’re confident because actually we have engaged with some of those interested parties that were previously engaging with the club and the owners, and they are fully aware because of the due diligence they’ve already undertaken as to what the financial position is.
“They are fully aware that the likelihood is that unless Derby have a fantastic remaining part of the season, they will drop into the First Division, particularly if we’re going to see further points deductions.
“So your question is, how confident are we? All we can do is actually have those discussions and based upon the outcome of discussions form a view as to whether there’s a very realistic chance of actually doing a deal.
“We don’t consider it is going to be an easy task but nevertheless we don’t consider the obstacles insurmountable that we face at this stage.”
Andrew Hosking added: “My view is that there is going to be a 95% probability this will be resolved and resolved certainly in the coming months.”
Derby’s position in the Championship
The Rams were handed an automatic 12-point deduction for going into administration and that saw them drop from 12th on 10 points to bottom on minus two points. That is where they remain following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Derby now have back-to-back home games against Reading and Swansea City. The probability of a further points penalty, possibly nine, remains as part of the club’s dispute with the EFL.