Derby County plunged deeper into crisis last night when the club confirmed they were heading into administration.
The Championship strugglers, managed by former England captain Wayne Rooney, will be automatically deducted 12 points under EFL rules, sending them to the bottom of the table.
They still face the threat of an additional points deduction as a penalty from the EFL relating to irregularities in the club’s accounts. Sportsmail revealed this week that this is expected to be nine points.
Derby have announced they are in administration, meaning they face a 12-point deduction
Various reports suggest that the deduction could total up to 21 points – nine for Derby’s financial irregularities and 12 for entering administration – although it is within the EFL’s discretion to determine the appropriate sanction.
Rooney’s own future at the club is now in doubt, even though he had reaffirmed his commitment to the cause just hours before Derby’s board issued their statement claiming the latest setback was because any hope of a takeover in the near future had vanished.
They blamed it on a consequences of the pandemic and the ongoing EFL inquiry into their accounts, which had deterred a takeover in January 2020.
‘Revenues and cash flow took a circa £20million hit,’ said the statement. ‘Unlike other sectors, football has been able to only marginally reduce its cost base with the majority of outgoings being associated with playing staff who obviously could not be furloughed.
‘The Covid-19 lockdown also meant that we were unable to have face-to-face meetings with a number of potential purchasers who could not visit the stadium or training ground.
‘A planned sale of the club and stadium that was due to close in January 2020 collapsed when the EFL was coerced into challenging the Stadium Sale transaction, a charge that would be dismissed some nine months later.’
Derby also claimed the ongoing investigation prevented them from drawing £8.3m in financial aid made available to all other Championship clubs to settle PAYE liabilities.
An EFL statement read: ‘With confirmation from Derby County Football Club that they have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, the EFL can tonight confirm that the club will be subject to an insolvency event under the terms of the EFL’s Regulations.
The Championship club have been plunged into crisis having just survived the drop last season
‘As a result, the club faces a 12-point deduction. The EFL will in due course engage in discussions with the relevant parties with the aim of achieving a successful outcome for the long-term future for the club.’
Rooney’s side have seven points this season and the automatic EFL deduction for any team entering administration will send them to the foot of the table, below neighbours and bitter rivals Nottingham Forest.
Forest are in their own crisis, with only one points from seven games. They are about to appoint Steve Cooper as manager after sacking Chris Hughton this week. Cooper impressed in Liverpool’s academy, led England’s Under 17s to World Cup glory and took Swansea to the play-off final, playing attractive football.
He will be the 20th permanent appointment since Forest were relegated from the Premier League in 1999 and could be the man who leads them back to the top, although modern trends suggest he is more likely to get the boot some time next year.
Forest have changed managers at least once in each calendar year since 2011 with the exception of 2018, when they broke the sequence by sacking Mark Warburton on New Year’s Eve. Two went in both 2017 and 2019 as if to make up for the lost year. As they did in 2012 and 2011.
A double-figure deduction would put the East Midlands club rock bottom of the Championship
This rapid hiring and firing was accompanied by erratic changes of direction in recruitment strategy and changes of personnel in the executive tier.
The club was shambolically unstable under the Fawaz Al Hasawi regime and no less chaotic under Evangelos Marinakis, who bought the club in July 2017 with a five-year plan to escape the Championship. Marinakis is on track. After the worst start to a campaign in 108 years, Forest look a good bet to be back in League One by next summer.
‘Just so angry and disappointed how this club is run,’ fumed former Forest striker David Johnson on Twitter, after the first of two home defeats this week. Johnson, whose son Brennan is in the team, branded the board ‘embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’ before deleting his comments. Steven Reid takes caretaker charge for today’s game at Huddersfield, hoping to add to one point from seven games, a point procured from a draw with East Midlands foes Derby.
This season marks half a century since Derby won the first of their two English titles, more than 40 since Forest won their second European Cup.
Derby’s misery is mirrored at their arch rivals Nottingham Forest who are in troubled waters
It is impossible to visit Pride Park of the City Ground without a pang of nostalgia. The statues and photos inspire great names to leap into conversations, often accompanied by a sense of wonder. How did it come to this?
Two grand old clubs, depressed and struggling at the bottom of the second tier, worn down by expectations beyond their means. Derby, after waiting for a takeover that never came and escaping relegation on the final day of last season, a summer exodus and a transfer embargo, have generated a siege mentality.
‘I’m committed to this club,’ said Rooney on the eve of today’s game against Stoke. ‘The easy thing to do is walk away and enjoy my life a bit more. But I love football. I see it as a challenge. I’m a fighter, I’m not doing that.’
But that was before last night’s bombshell and there is serious doubt now over Rooney’s future at the crisis-hit club.