The Rams were today docked 12 points after formally entering administration, leaving them bottom of the Championship
You would be hard-pressed to find a club with more problems right now than Derby County.
It has been one issue, after another, after another for the best part of a year.
Today saw the latest sorry development at Pride Park, with administration officially confirmed by the club. That, of course, goes hand-in-hand with a 12-point deduction that means Wayne Rooney’s side immediately drop to the bottom of the Championship.
Despite accruing 10 points from their first eight league games, a more-than-respectable tally given their problematic squad building over the summer, the Rams are now on minus-two points.
Administration is only the latest episode in a series of off-field dramas at Derby.
There have been multiple botched takeovers, lengthy legal wrangles with the EFL and a transfer embargo handed down.
Throw in an unsavoury incident involving Rooney earlier this season and the headlines regarding the club have rarely been about what actually happens on the pitch.
With administrators now in situ, the future of the players and behind-the-scenes staff are in limbo.
Regarding the latter, it is a sorry situation and one that Rooney, to his credit, rightly name-checked during his reaction to the news over the weekend.
The former England striker said of the uncertainty: “The staff usually get forgotten about.
“It will be difficult. Some staff will lose their jobs.
“They’ve got mortgages, bills to pay, it’s horrendous and I will do everything I can to help the staff.”
As for the players, you only have to look at previous examples of clubs entering administration to see that a fire-sale looks likely in January.
Wigan Athletic received a 12-point penalty at the back end of the 2019-20 campaign. Ultimately, it cost them their place in the Championship after they appealed the decision but an independent arbitration panel ruled against them.
It wasn’t long before their best players were soon being preyed on by other clubs.
Meanwhile, young talents such as Joe Gelhardt, Alfie Devine and Jensen Weir were also sold to balance the books. All three went on to join Premier League clubs, again for a fraction of their true market value or potential.
For Wigan, it ended with just six professionals contracted by the start of summer 2020. And that lack of a squad base almost ended up with them experiencing back-to-back relegations – something they avoided on only the final day of the campaign.
As for Derby, their current squad has a glaring lack of players contracted to the club beyond next summer – just eight.
They are: Jason Knight, Krystian Bielik, Kamil Jozwiak, Max Bird, Jack Stretton, Festy Ebosele, Kornell McDonald and Louie Sibley.
The fact that they are all aged between 19 and 23 means they will have the most potential for Derby to get a sizeable fee if it is deemed necessary they must cash in.
As for the rest of the squad, skipper Tom Lawrence and Lee Buchanan could also potentially fetch decent fees but they would have to be sold in January to avoid leaving for nothing in the summer.
Of course the problem with sanctioning the sale of the aforementioned players will be that Derby will almost certainly be relying on those same individuals to dig them out of relegation trouble heading into the second half of the season.
But with talk of further points deductions potentially being in the pipeline, it may already be too late by then.
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