More progress has been made on Chris Kirchner’s takeover deal to purchase the Rams recently with the deal now nearing completion – but one sticking point still remains with the US businessman wanting to buy the stadium.
However, Mel Morris is the man who currently owns it at this stage and Kirchner has recently announced that he will not complete this agreement to purchase the second-tier side if Morris remains in control of Pride Park, with the preferred bidder refusing to deal with his potential predecessor who wants £20m for the East Midlands outfit’s home patch.
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Manager Rooney has confirmed this afternoon that this issue is the last hurdle in this takeover process as the Rams look to get a deal signed and sealed before they encounter deeper financial problems with Kirchner’s period of exclusivity expiring tomorrow.
Journalist Alan Nixon has even reported that the club’s preferred bidder has been actively considering moving away from their home ground temporarily, with the King Power Stadium and the bet365 Stadium two locations that have been mentioned as potential alternatives.
If a solution isn’t found – it could have grave consequences for Derby who will run out of funds with the season coming to an end and ticket revenue drying up because of that – and Rooney is open to playing elsewhere if that means the club is kept afloat.
He said: “One of the options is the possibility of playing in a different stadium. We don’t want to go down that route but it’s an option we have to look at.
“It’s not what we want. You see how important Pride Park has been to us. The points we’ve picked up, the atmosphere.”
All sides need to be as flexible as they possibly can if they want to get a deal over the line – and it could even be argued that owners shouldn’t be able to buy their club’s stadium in the first place.
Stadiums should belong to the club and the supporters, no one else and this is perhaps one of the best reasons why that should be the case because without this stumbling block, the deal looks to be all but complete.
The sooner they can get this issue sorted, the sooner Rooney can start executing his summer plan and that will give the Rams the best possible opportunity of being successful next season, although many supporters won’t care about the long term just for now.
With the club still in a very delicate situation at this stage, the onus is now on Morris to offer favourable terms to Kirchner considering he was the person who put the club into administration in the first place.
£20m does seem like quite a sizeable sum and this is why the preferred bidder can’t be blamed for looking at other options – but a deal at this stage would be preferable because things won’t be the same if they aren’t playing their home matches at Pride Park anymore.