Quantuma to oversee Derby County administration

23 September 2021 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou, managing directors at business advisory firm Quantuma, have been appointed joint administrators of Derby County. The Rams now face a tough battle for survival on and off the pitch, with the English Football League having imposed a hefty points-deduction on the struggling club.

Championship football club Derby County has entered administration, with its owner citing the pandemic as a key component of its downfall. According to Mel Morris, the coronavirus pandemic cost the Rams about £20 million in lost revenue – but also added he believes the club has lost him £200 million overall.

Morris took sole ownership of Derby in 2015, and bought the club’s ground, Pride Park, for £80 million, despite it previously being listed as worth £41 million. The stadium sale allowed the club to post a pre-tax profit of £14.6 million in 2017-18, and therefore meet the EFL's spending rules – but it has caused problems for the club ever since.

Quantuma to oversee Derby County administration

After Derby failed to gain promotion under Frank Lampard, losing the 2019 Championship play-off final to Aston Villa, Morris has been actively looking to offload the club. An early takeover deal is said to have fallen through, however, after the EFL brought charges about the sale of Pride Park to Morris.

At one point, a points deduction was said to be mooted, and with Derby hovering around the relegation places, this would have seen the club fall into League One. On that occasion, the charge was dismissed in August 2020, but according to the BBC, the Rams still may face a possible separate points deduction, speculated to be nine points, over their accounting policies. With no decision yet made on that punishment, such a deduction would all but confirm the club’s relegation.

As it is, Derby County has been shunted to the foot of the Championship table, on minus-two points, due to English Football League (EFL) sanctions for clubs which fail to remain solvent. Having been 12th in the table before, after a mixed start to the season under manager Wayne Rooney, the club is now six points adrift of historic rival Nottingham Forest, in second-last place.

As for matters off the pitch, Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou have been appointed joint administrators. The Quantuma Managing Directors will now work to find a buyer for the two-time English champions.

Hosking said, “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the finances of the club and its long-term ability to continue in its current form. We recognise that with the commencement of the 2021/22 season last month, this news will be of concern to stakeholders and fans, in addition to the city of Derby and the wider football community. We are in the early stages of assessing the options available to the club and would invite any interested parties to come forward. Our immediate objectives are to ensure the club completes all its fixtures in the Championship this season and finding interested parties to safeguard the club and its employees.”

Owner Morris had already spent the past two days talking to players and staff. According to reports on the situation from the UK press, many of those jobs are now seen as uncertain. There remains some interest for the club and it’s assets, however. In March of 2021 Derventio Holdings, which was backed by the Abu Dhabi-based Bin Zayed Group, saw its takeover bid end – while another from Spanish businessman Erik Alonso was called off in May. The hope at Pride Park will surely be that another offer emerges, to give the club some kind of certainty moving forward.

Derby is the latest in a succession of well-known football clubs to fall into administration recently. Even before the pandemic, financial mismanagement had left multiple clubs on the brink of bankruptcy across the UK. While Bolton Wanderers now looks to have recovered from its own collapse, as it challenges for promotion from League One, not all have been so fortunate. Bury FC was kicked out of the English Football League (EFL) in 2019, after failing to provide proof of its financial sustainability.