Derby County preferred bidder Chris Kirchner’s period of exclusivity can be extended according to Derby council leader Chris Poulter who spoke to ITV, with the existing period due to expire this weekend.
The US businessman is currently in the process of completing a takeover for the second-tier in a bid to pull them out of administration, a deal that could save the Rams from liquidation with funds likely to evaporate after the end of the season.
This is because the East Midlands side have been relying on their supporters to put money into the club as they look to remain afloat in tough conditions, with a takeover yet to be signed and sealed.
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This is partly due to the fact a deal regarding Pride Park is yet to be struck, with Mel Morris slapping a £20m price tag on their home stadium and Kirchner refusing to negotiate with his potential predecessor who the made decision to put the club into administration last September.
Various issues including a dispute with Championship rivals Middlesbrough have held up any deal being completed since then with the club’s administrators only naming their preferred bidder in the early stages of last month – and this has left Derby in a perilous situation as money continues to dry up.
However, it has been revealed by council leader Poulter, whose team are trying to negotiate an agreement for Pride Park to clear the pathway for the club’s purchase to be finalised, that Kirchner’s period of exclusivity can be extended beyond today.
He said: “I am not involved in the negotiations but officers from finance, property, business and legal teams are working on it.
“We are waiting to see what comes out from it. As far as the timescales go, we are aware there is a period of exclusivity regarding Chris Kirchner but there is a potential for the administrators to extend that.”
Hopefully, Kirchner can start investing in the club as soon as possible and this would help to put a lot of minds at ease for now, especially with the club in real danger when ticket revenue is finally all spent.
They may have survived up until now, a remarkable achievement, but they aren’t invincible and this is why all sides need to come together to negotiate a stadium deal, potentially the final piece of the jigsaw needed to get this takeover complete.
The onus is on Morris to lower his price and come to an amicable arrangement, although that doesn’t look set to happen anytime soon and this places Derby’s future at Pride Park at real risk, a daunting prospect for the Rams who have thrived on their home turf this season.
If they do have to move away from their ground for the time being, then so be it, but it would be a considerable blow going into next season and considering how poor their form has been away from their own patch in the last 12 months, it would be interesting to see how they fare if they play at another stadium.
Coventry City seem to have been boosted by their return to the CBS Arena this season and if the Rams can remain where they are, that would be a major boost going into the summer period.