Derby County handed further nine-point deduction for breaching EFL rules

On the face of it, it has been an awful day for Derby County fans.

The news wasn't unexpected and in fact, it had been rumoured that it was a matter of when and not if the nine point deduction would happen.

Looking at the League table, the effect has been devastating. If the Rams had any slim hopes of surviving relegation after their previous 12 point deduction, they are all but extinguished now.

At the time of writing, the club are on -3 and are 18 points adrift of safety.

It is also November and the halfway point in the season is fast approaching. It is not impossible just yet, but it would be the miracle of all miracles if Wayne Rooney led his side to survival.

And yet, on the other hand, this will bring a close to a dark chapter in Derby's history that has been rumbling on for the last couple of seasons.

Mel Morris is gone and the club looks likely to find new owners - ones who won't have the shackles or threat of further EFL punishments and a clean slate on which to build the club.

It also sounds like they won't be put off by the prospect of being in League One, keeping in mind it was already likely that that's where the club would be.

Though League One can be an unforgiving place (just ask Sunderland fans), it can also bring about prosperity.

Manchester City, Leeds United, Southampton and Wolves have all been there and been promoted - they are now all back in the Premier League and that should give fans some cause for optimism.

Dare I say, even rivals Forest did a stint there too...

Of course, promotion will hinge on the right owner being in charge, the right financial backing and a squad willing to put in the hard yards to get the club back to where fans feel it belongs.

Whilst none of these are a given in football, the clarity that this will bring allows fans to now know the short term future of the club after so much uncertainty.

There is however anger from the fans, not only directed at former owner Mel Morris but also towards the EFL.

Supporters feel that they have been targeted unfairly and this will only heighten their desires to be back in the Premier League as soon as possible and away from the English Football League.

So what now for Wayne Rooney and his team?

Derby are not officially down yet, even though the situation looks grim.

This week when he takes his pre-match press conference for the game against top of the table Bournemouth, I'd expect a lot of fighting talk and of not giving up hope yet. But I'd also expect plans being made behind the scenes and thoughts turning to a League One campaign in 2022.

If Derby fans were left in any doubt about his or the players' mettle, they will know for sure in the next few weeks and months.

With this chapter now closed, a new positive era can hopefully start.