Football fans are the lifeblood of our national game. The Covid lockdowns of recent years proved that with the total lack of atmosphere inside the grounds.
When a club gets into financial trouble my first thought is always for the fans of the club because there is nothing the majority of them can do and they have to suffer in silence and rely on the media for updates. As a fan I have been there and on the three occasions my team have faced potential administration and worse I have got involved to do everything I could to remove that threat.
So it is with Derby County.
Prospective new USA owner Chris Kirchner was given until 10th June by the EFL to complete his proposed purchase of the club and he failed to meet that deadline. The promised funds have yet to materialise.
The Derby fans believed everything had been sorted out but now they need to sit and suffer once again. The club has been in administration since September 2021 and it took until April 2022 for the administrator to name Kirchner as the preferred bidder.
As things stand, Derby have just five first team players registered for the 2022/23 season and with the start of pre-season training just days away this is a terrible position for any club to be in. Now that the summer transfer window is open they are not allowed to sign any new players or offer deals to any player who is out of contract at the end of June.
I can tell you from experience that players at a club take a good look round at the start of pre-season to see how good their first team squad looks and what new players there are and if they don’t see an ambition to improve on the previous season, it is without doubt a negative and demotivating factor.
Under EFL rules, Derby can start the season in administration but the reality is their squad will be totally deficient and as with Bolton Wanderers two years ago they may have to field academy players who are not ready for the physical rigours of League One football.
The EFL is in a difficult position. On the one hand, they have to ensure the integrity of its competition and they have a duty to do right by other member clubs who have fully complied with their financial regulations. On the other hand, it would be devastating to remove a club of Derby’s standing from the EFL.
Fans of other clubs will feel for the Derby fans to varying degrees due to their tribal nature. But make no mistake, while it is Derby today it could be your club tomorrow and you will want your club saved just like those Derby fans. Let’s hope the situation is resolved sooner rather than later.