Derby’s administrators have offered hope to the club’s supporters and say they are confident of finding a buyer by the end of the year.
But they warned the disparity in revenue between the Premier League and Championship meant other second-tier clubs would fall into the same trap as Derby “time and time again”.
The club confirmed the appointment of Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou from Quantuma as joint administrators on Wednesday, which triggered an automatic 12-point deduction from the EFL.
Hosking and Jackson faced the media on Thursday and said they had already held conversations with “genuine, credible” buyers, with the prospect of some of the club’s debts being discounted due to entering administration making them a more attractive purchase than they previously were.
“A club of this magnitude is such that it does have a viable future moving forward,” Hosking said.
“No one’s underestimating the task ahead of ourselves because clearly, there will need to be some difficult decisions made over the coming week or two in terms of whether we need to consider if there need to be any efficiencies made.
“But there is a considerable degree of interest in this club. A lot of it was expressed prior to administration.
“Now that the club is in administration, notwithstanding the points deduction and clearly the distress to the supporters, the staff and suppliers to the club, we do consider that the position to be able to make a successful conclusion to the story is now really very, very practical.
“We don’t consider the obstacles that we face at this stage insurmountable.”
Hosking said the timescale to find a buyer had been set with a view to allowing the new owner to be in place in time for the January transfer window opening.
They said they had met with club staff, including the first team and their manager Wayne Rooney.
Asked whether Rooney’s future was in question, as a cost-saving measure with the transfer window closed, Hosking said: “Not at all. We need a manager to motivate the team and that has not come into our consideration at all.”
The administrators said they would have to evaluate the need for an agreement over player wage reductions on a month-by-month basis but Hosking said he “sincerely hoped” that would not be the case.
The administrators were confident there was enough cash left to settle September’s wage bill but that they were looking for short-term funding to cover the day-to-day losses that must be incurred to effectively run the club beyond that, even after any redundancies that have to be made.
They met with representatives of the club’s supporters’ trust on Thursday and their message to them was that “every little helps”, with Hosking highlighting the difference in revenue an extra 5,000 supporters at Pride Park each week would make.
The club face the prospect of a further points deduction over breaches of the EFL’s financial rules, and Jackson said: “We’ve had very positive dialogue with the EFL, they want to see Derby County survive, we want to see Derby County survive, but right here, right now what we can’t say is that there won’t be further points deductions. There is a distinct possibility of further points deductions.”
Derby’s descent into administration has been held up as an example of a club which chased the Premier League dream and had fallen short, and Hosking did not disagree that the gap between the top division and the rest would continue to create a risk of financial distress.
“I was conscious of a comment that was made to me by a Championship chairman some years ago, who said it’s the only league in the world where they play Russian roulette every season because some clubs will make that push for the land of milk and honey,” he said.
“The reality is it will happen time and time again, such is the disparity between the funds in the Premier League and the other divisions.”