Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is interested in purchasing Derby County with the club currently in administration and seemingly heading towards relegation to League One.
Understandably there has been a mixed reaction to the news, after Ashley’s very unpopular running of the Magpies in recent years, however it does not appear that Derby are in a position to be picky.
He said: “The other alternative is liquidation.
“He knows a distressed asset when he sees one. You (Derby County) won’t be getting any marquee signings but the vast majority of Derby County fans are taking a pragmatic view.
“For all of his unpopularity at Newcastle, he lent the club £111 million interest free.”
The situation at Derby off the pitch seems to be getting bleaker by the week and with the club in so much debt it could prove very difficult to find a willing buyer. Maguire is suggesting that Ashley taking control of the club would be the lesser of two evils and at least would give the Rams some financial stability moving forward.
We have seen clubs come back from liquidation, like AFC Wimbledon, over the years, but often not recover to the level that they were previously at.
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A lot of Mike Ashley’s opposition at Newcastle United was due to a lack of ambition in the transfer market. That is the least of Derby County’s worries at the moment with the long term future of the club under threat. Ashley is an experienced businessman in football and though he has been very unpopular in the past, that experience could prove useful in Derby’s very complicated predicament.
With some huge clubs like Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and Ipswich Town dropping into League One in recent years, Derby will be hoping for a new owner with the financial wherewithal to start afresh in the third tier next season. However, if they wait too long holding on for someone with those credentials, the downside to a deal not being reached only deepens. Ashley could certainly be a safe pair of hands to take on the mantle at a difficult time, steady the ship and then pass on the buck to someone with greater plans for the future.