What is next for Derby County as 'preferred bidder' Chris Kirchner pulls out?

When is a deadline not a deadline? When it is regarding the safeguarding of Derby County.

Or certainly that's how it seems. Deadlines come and go... Without an update. And when we finally learn of a development, the news, sadly, is rarely good.

The anguish Rams fans have been through in recent months cannot be underestimated.

When Derby County was placed in administration in September 2021, I was reassured by the appointed administrators Quantuma that by Christmas things could all be resolved.

Jump forward many many months (Christmas is just a distant memory) and in most respects the fans don't know anymore than they did at the end of last summer.

Well, aside from the fact that, at best, Derby are now in League One. 

American Chris Kirchner had of course been the 'preferred bidder'... But like two others who tried to buy the club in recent years, he was unable to complete a deal.

Chris Kirchner (middle) in the stands at Pride Park. Credit: PA Images

So now the waiting game goes on. Could the likes of Mike Ashley or Steve Morgan ride to the rescue? If they do, they really can't afford to wait too long.

The EFL is clearly running out of patience - putting the club's entire league status in jeopardy.

And as for the team itself, while things remain as they are, their impressively patient manager Wayne Rooney can't sign new players or even offer new contracts to those whose current deals are coming to an end... At this rate Rooney might not even have enough players for a starting 11, let alone a subs bench and don't forget, the season starts next month.

So, time is pressing like never before, but just like all those previous deadlines, sadly I wouldn't get your hopes up for a quick resolution.