This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
The Rams were known to be in financial troubles for some time after defaulting on payments to HMRC and previously being charged with failing to pay transfer fee instalments, although the latter was seemingly resolved.
But after reports emerged on Friday night about Mel Morris preparing to put the club in administration, Derby County fans have been bracing themselves for this moment.
Are these 22 Derby County stats real or fake?
Whether further deductions are to come for separate offences remain to be seen but with this latest news being confirmed, they now sit at the bottom of the Championship on -2 points, four points adrift of 23rd place Nottingham Forest.
This is a major blow for the Rams who had started the season reasonably well considering their situation and summer transfer embargo, winning 10 points from their opening eight games and even securing a draw against all odds against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns last week.
However, they face a huge battle to get to 21st place and safety which is currently nine points away.
If they escape further deductions, could they really stay afloat in the second tier after coming within a whisker of being relegated to the third tier last term?
We asked three of our writers at Football League World for their verdicts on this key question.
Honestly, no. Not a chance. Even with their good start the chances are that Derby County would get relegated without their points tally being affected.
The squad is threadbare with only free agents to come into that before January, the old adage of needing 50 points to guarantee survival was looking unrealistic, the goalposts are now shifted to 62 points with the deduction.
It would rival Leicester City winning the Premier League in terms of a sporting achievement if Wayne Rooney can squeeze that many points out of the current squad at his disposal.
Defensively they have looked committed but I do not see where the goals come from, I am sure we will see more spirited performances but I cannot envisage the Rams coming close to surviving the drop to League One this term.
It is a strange one because before the season started I couldn’t see a way that Derby could stay up, and that was even before the talk of administration.
The fact that they were severely restricted on how they could recruit, and because they struggled last time out, it seemed to me that success for Derby would be just about securing relegation.
However, they have started the season well, picking up 10 points from their opening eight games, losing just two games. The two matches they lost were tight affairs where Derby still showed promise.
Rooney has built a real togetherness within the group, with the experienced heads such as Curtis Davies, Graeme Shinnie and Tom Lawrence, playing vital roles in the early stages.
-12 points obviously changes the complete complexion of the situation, but it does not at all mean that they will be relegated.
They are playing dominant, possession-based football at times, and under Rooney the signs seem positive on the pitch.
Derby have every chance of staying up this season with -12 points. If a further nine points are docked, then of course, the situation will change massively.
I would be really reluctant to rule it out, if I’m honest.
All the noises that Wayne Rooney is making are positive ones. He has sounded motivated and confident in his squad to deliver results.
As you look at the table, with their deduction, they’ve fallen nine points adrift of safety. It’s not exactly a mountain that cannot be climbed, sides have overturned that in the past and will again in the future.
The issue I had with Derby was that I worried their depth of squad would struggle if it picked up too many injuries. That remains the case and is something they’ll need to avoid those injuries now to stay competitive.
There’s a long stint of the season remaining and people will, understandably, write the Rams off.