Derby journalists demand action to save football club

Journalists in Derby have joined fans of Derby County in their battle to save the club from going out of business.

The Derby Telegraph demanded ‘Save our Club’ on Tuesday amid concerns that the Rams could be gone for good within weeks.

Four months ago, the club announced their intention to appoint administrators — and were then set a deadline of February 1 to prove they could meet their obligations for the rest of the current football season.

There are three potential buyers for the club — but fans fear none may be able to do a deal in time to meet the February 1 deadline.

On Tuesday, the Telegraph, and sister website DerbyshireLive, declared: “Enough is enough.

“The uncertainty, the gut-wrenching concern and deep-rooted worry over the future of Derby County Football Club has gone on for far too long.

“And it is you, the loyal supporters, the fans who turn up week in and week out to roar on the team, who are suffering most.

“This is a complex issue. Sorting out the mess was never going to be straightforward nor swift, and not every detail of the ins and outs can be aired in public, understandably.

“Meanwhile, there is a daily avalanche of updates, reports, speculation and rumour flying around regarding the Rams’ situation which is being digested by the fans and, more often than not, adding to their worries.

Financial claims from Middlesbrough and Wycombe are further complicating Derby’s situation — and angering fans, who believe the Football League could be doing.

The title posed five question for the Football League — which has already deducted points from Derby as a result of their financial position — to answer:

1. Why is the EFL giving credibility to the claims of Middlesbrough and Wycombe against Derby?

2. Why are Derby not being allowed to seek exit from administration with the same protection from legal action that any company would expect to receive under insolvency regulations?

3. Why is the EFL not doing everything in its power to ensure that one of its founder members can continue in business and as part of the football family?

4. Will the EFL kick Derby out of the Football League unless they show that funds are in place to complete the season by February 1?

5. What would the EFL say to the thousands of Derby County fans who are worried that the team they have supported for generations could now face extinction?

The battle to save the club dominated Wednesday’s news in Derby too, with the Government urging pragmatism, the Football League saying it did not have a vendetta against Derby, and Wycombe and Middlesbrough being urged to do more to help keep County alive.

It was front page news again on Thursday with MPs and a Hollywood star among those to wade into the row over the future of Derby.

On Thursday, the paper splashed with a front page comment urging all those involved to end the blame game, as finger pointing continue among different parties.

The title said: “It’s called Pride Park and all the fans want is something to be proud of.

“They do not care not for the endless Zoom calls taking place this week or tit-for-tat statements which have thrown up more plot twists than an Agatha Christie novel.

“One aspect should be made abundantly clear. People’s livelihoods and futures are at stake.

“This is a time for solutions, not lawyers earning their next holiday in Barbados with cleverly worded statements.

“Nobody cares. This is about the future of one of football’s founding members, and its future needs to be secured.”

Derby County writer Steve Nicholson wrote: “I wrote an article at the beginning of the week saying enough is enough. I find myself writing the same words at the end of the week.

“Two lengthy statements emerged yesterday, one from Derby County’s administrators and one from the EFL, in the latest twist in the Rams’ plight and battle to survive.

“The combined word count of the two statements was just over 2,000 and yet the feeling was that the picture is no clearer. We appear to be no closer to a resolution.

“There has been enough words, enough talking, enough finger-pointing. As today’s Derby Telegraph front page says, the blame game has to stop and an end-game found.”

And maybe there is hope to end the week on. On Saturday, the Telegraph splashed on the news that a £28m offer was on the table to buy County. A week which began with fury and frustration could just be ending with a note of optimism.

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here

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