Mike Ashley’s chances of saving Derby County from administration look to be dead in the water as he is refusing to pay club administrators Quantuma fees involved with the takeover of the club, according to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett.
The Rams look set to be back on the market come 5pm on Friday evening as that is when American businessman Chris Kirchner has been set a deadline to complete his purchase of the League One outfit.
Having been named the preferred bidder for the club in early April, the 34-year-old struggled to negotiate a deal for Pride Park stadium – owned by former Rams chairman Mel Morris with debt owed to MSD Holdings tied to the building – but it appeared everything had been agreed as Kirchner revealed in mid-May that contracts had been exchanged with Quantuma to acquire Derby County.
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However, the funds that needed to be provided to complete the deal have still not landed – Kirchner has cited bank holidays in both the USA and the United Kingdom for the delays, but if the delay remains by Friday evening then back-up plans will be explored.
One figure who is said to be interested in saving the club is Ashley, who sold Newcastle United last year and is readying a last-ditch offer for the Rams.
However, per Dorsett, the fact that Ashley is not willing to pay the fees that Quantuma require for their administrative services – thought to be millions of pounds – means that they will not listen or acknowledge his potential offer for the club, and unless something significant changes, then he will not be in contention to save Derby County.
Even though he may not be well-liked by Newcastle United fans, Ashley does have a sound business mind and he left the Magpies in a healthy financial position to be taken over.
Sure, he may not have invested as much as he could’ve done over the years, and that’s why supporters at St. James’ Park were angered, but there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be a good owner for Derby.
It’s getting to the stage now for County that they need someone with money and sharpish, as it does not look like Kirchner is going to meet the deadline to secure his takeover of the club.
What happens next remains to be seen, but as of right now, Mike Ashley isn’t going to be the saviour of Derby County.