Mark Kielesz-Levine reports from Pride Park on the confirmation that David Clowes is Derby County's new owner, and gets reaction from former player Shaun Barker and fan Hilary Leam from the Rams Trust
Derby County Football Club has finally been taken over by Clowes Developments and the club has exited administration.
Local businessman David Clowes announced he wished to take over the club last Friday (24 June), after buying Pride Park from Rams' former owner Mel Morris.
In a statement released by joint administrator Carl Jackson he said,
“We are very pleased to have achieved today’s sale, in a deal which secures the long-term future of The Club, and one which represents the very best outcome for creditors.
"I would like to express my sincere thanks to The Club’s staff players and the fans for their loyalty, and patience, as they supported the Club through the administration.”
David Clowes, the new owner, has written an open letter to the fans where he says he has "an immense sense of pride" to have ended nine months of uncertainty.
'As a lifelong supporter, I could not stand by '
"As a lifelong supporter, I could not stand by as the risk of losing Derby County became all too real. I could not have looked myself in the mirror if I had not done everything possible to protect it. That is why it is so exciting to be part of the process of building a fresh future at Pride Park for the fans and loyal club staff who have been through so much.
'The true spirit of this football club rests with the fans, it is nothing without them'.
Your support throughout some difficult times has been inspirational and we intend to build on that loyalty.
The decision to get involved with the purchase of the stadium, and subsequently the club, has not been an easy one. As a private person, I did not want the publicity and would prefer to remain an anonymous supporter watching the team from my usual seat. However, if that is the price to secure the future of the club, then so be it.
'I won’t be making any extravagant promises'
My focus now is to stabilise the football club in every department and to make sure we have the foundations in place for success, however long that takes.
We intend to bring the same principles to Derby County that we believe have been the reasons behind the success of Clowes Developments. We are embedded in the heart of the community, and we recognise what is important to the people of Derby – integrity, transparency, and a straightforward way of doing business.
To those people who have worked tirelessly at the club in the most difficult of circumstances, I offer my sincere thanks. My team and I will be doing our best to get to know you all and listen to what you have to say from the outset.
We have to maintain a degree of continuity because there is no point walking into an institution that has been here for 138 years and having the arrogance to think we possess all the answers. My team will work with people, listen, and learn before coming to any decisions."
What's happened to Derby County?
Derby County had been in administration since September.
Last season they were docked 21 points, including 12 for going into administration and then a further nine points for financial breaches.
The Rams put up a strong fight last season, getting to within five points from safety at one stage - but were eventually relegated from the Championship.
American businessman Chris Kirchner was named as preferred bidder but the sale fell through.
But the day was bittersweet for Rams fans because as the Clowes deal looked more and more secure, manager Wayne Rooney told the club he wished to resign with immediate effect.
Next season's fixtures for League One were revealed on Thursday, June 23, confirming Derby will kick-off their season against Oxford United at Pride Park Stadium.
The Rams also have a few home pre-season friendlies pencilled in before the season starts against German outfit Hertha Berlin and the Premier League's Leicester City.