'I’ve been beyond fortunate' - Chris Kirchner says Derby County takeover contracts are signed

Chris Kirchner wrote on Twitter that he was 'beyond fortunate' and will 'never forget how lucky he has been'. Credit: PA

The American businessman Chris Kirchner says he "will be the next owner of Derby County Football Club".

The 34-year-old tweeted to say that contracts have now been exchanged with the Rams' administrators, Quantuma, subject to the sale of Pride Park.

He said the contracts were also conditional on some other "small bits" but he "doesn't anticipate any issues completing the rest of this process in the coming days".

Kirchner says the membership agreement with the EFL is also agreed and he plans to start funding the club from next week, after the FA has recognised the transfer.

He acknowledged that it has been a "traumatic period" for the team and says he intends to "rebuild the iconic club".

"I’ve been beyond fortunate and I’ll never forget how lucky I am", wrote Chris on Monday evening.

"I’ve had the opportunity to realise many of my dreams and even a lot of things beyond my dreams. Today is a day I’ll never forget", he added.

The deal is yet to be confirmed by the club.

A spokesperson on behalf of the joint administrators of Derby County Football Club (“The Club”) said, “During the course of the week since our last update, further significant progress has been made.

"As a result of this progress, the joint administrators can confirm that they have exchanged contracts for the sale of the business and assets of The Club with preferred bidder, Chris Kirchner.

"Completion is targeted for on or before 31 May 2022. This is a very significant step towards the completion of a sale of The Club.

“In addition, the joint administrators can confirm that in the interim period between exchange and completion, funding for The Club is being provided by Mr. Kirchner, in a demonstration of his ongoing commitment to securing the long-term future of The Club.

“The exchanging of contracts is conditional on the sale of the stadium, EFL approval and receiving secured creditor consent.

“The period of time between exchange and completion will allow the joint administrators and all relevant stakeholders the time required to work together to meet the conditions required to complete this very complex transaction.

“The joint administrators would like to express their thanks, to all relevant stakeholders for their co-operation and work, towards achieving a successful completion.”

Pride Park Stadium

The EFL has also issued a statement concerning Derby County.

The statement reads: "The EFL Board has today given its conditional approval to the proposed acquisition of Derby County Football Club by the company controlled by Mr Chris Kirchner (9CK Sports Holdings Limited).

"The EFL and 9CK Sports Holdings Limited have agreed the terms of a Membership Agreement which will govern the conditions attached to the transfer of the share in the EFL and which ultimately will see the Club exit Administration.

"However, its final approval is subject to Mr Kirchner completing on the Asset Purchase Agreement and a deal being finalised in respect of a lease on the stadium by 31 May 2022.

"The EFL will continue to work with the relevant parties to ensure the best possible outcome for Derby County, its staff, players, fans, and local community."

Derby County have been in administration since September, last year, and the challenge of finding a new owner has rumbled on ever since.

The club were docked 12 points for entering administration, before being docked another nine points over breaches of the EFL's Profitability and Sustainability rules - taking their deductions to 21 points.

The Rams weren't giving up without a fight though and were able to get within five points of safety.

But a bad run of form towards the end of the season and results elsewhere not going their way meant the club were eventually doomed to relegation to League One in April.

Derby ended up finishing second from bottom with 34 points, getting relegated alongside Barnsley and Peterborough.