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Middlesbrough press on with Derby County legal action as Wayne Rooney turns on Mel Morris

As initially reported by The Telegraph this week, Boro are continuing to pursue legal action against the Rams
The problems just keep piling up for Derby County.

After entering administration this week, the Rams were deducted 12 points and plummeted to the bottom of the Championship. Another nine points could yet be deducted for breaching EFL rules. And there could be a further hit if administrators can't pay wages.

And on top of those issues, Boro are pressing on with a legal case to sue Derby for alleged financial breaches, as reported by the Telegraph this week.

MFC chose not to comment on the reports, but Teesside Live understands Boro are indeed continuing to pursue their action against the Rams..

The battle between the clubs off the pitch has been rumbling for a number of years.

Steve Gibson has been critical of clubs that have breached financial rules, branding them as "cheats". For a number of years the Boro chairman has been on a mission to get the EFL to enforce their own financial fair play regulations.

Derby's controversial 'sale' of Pride Park in 2018 is said to have particularly angered Gibson. Morris sold Pride Park for £81m to a subsidiary he owns, a transaction that enabled the Rams to avoid a loss that would have been a breach of profitability and sustainability rules.

Gibson was said to have made a 'robust intervention' at a meeting of Championship clubs in March of 2019.

Just a couple of months later, Derby pipped Boro to the final play-off spot in the Championship by a single point, when Tony Pulis's side finished seventh.

This week's Telegraph report also details how Derby hijacked Boro's move for striker Martyn Waghorn in 2018, paying double the fee that Boro had agreed and offering £10,000 a week more in wages.

Having scrutinised Derby's accounts, Gibson, say the Telegraph, couldn't understand how the Rams were able to spend so lavishly on players.

The report says Gibson was again furious last summer when Derby hijacked Boro's bid to sign Brighton defender Matt Clarke. Boro were in Cornwall at the time on their pre-season trip and Clarke was expected to join up with Neil Warnock's side.

Morris and Derby have always denied any wrongdoing.

Derby's administrators have today revealed the club's debts are "in the tens of millions of pounds".

Morris this week described the decision to put Derby into administration as "gut-wrenching", but manager Wayne Rooney has turned on the owner.

In his press conference on Thursday, Rooney said : "I haven't spoken to Mel still to this day, since August 9,.

"Mel addressed the players and the staff as a group on Tuesday, which obviously I was in on that meeting, but a one-on-one conversation I still haven't had that - no phone call, no message.

"I have put a lot of effort into getting these players ready to play for the club and I just found it a little bit disrespectful, if I am being honest.

"That is why it is so important, as I am saying to the administrators, the communication is so important to the players, for the staff, to know the information.

"He (Morris) doesn't have to apologise to me, I am not asking for an apology. I just found it, as manager of the football club, getting questions everyday from players and from staff, and not being able to answer them, I was a little bit hurt by that.

"Listen, it is what it is. He (Morris) has put a lot of money into the football club which I know he deserves a lot of respect for that, but then there is a way of handling things.

"I heard Mel do a radio interview on Sunday and what he said on the radio was exactly how he addressed the players and staff. His talk was basically the interview he did on the radio. In my opinion it wasn't sincere, wasn't heartfelt enough.

"After the meeting, I spoke to the players and staff for about five minutes. They felt they got a lot more out of that than the 45 minutes Mel spoke to them.

"He has obviously moved on, and we have to move on and put Mel Morris to the back of our minds and move on and look forward."

EFL chief Trevor Birch says there’s no “vendetta” against Derby, revealing his surprise at this week's administration.

He said: "It was a surprise and a shock.

“Obviously negotiations were continuing regarding the sustainability issues, and we realised it was a tense situation."

Asked if any further points deductions are likely to come this season or follow on into next season, Birch said: “We are working with the administrator now on the outstanding issues on the settlement on profit and sustainability, and one would hope they would certainly want that to be drawn to a conclusion so that they can achieve a sale with a purchaser, and certainty about the future.

“I would hope it would all be dealt with this season.”
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Its a credit to Wayne Rooney that he has stuck to his job throughout this mess and not just packed it in.

If its like Rioch - he will gather a small tight-knit group of players and create a spirit of "Us against the world".

As for Mel Morris - he can sail off up the Derwent for me!

Here`s the comments from fans and issues behind Rooneys comments today...

'You'll have a problem' - Derby County fans react to Wayne Rooney's straight-talking press conference

Wayne Rooney spoke about his commitment to the club and Mel Morris in his pre-match press conference earlier today
Derby County fans have found a new level of respect for Wayne Rooney after his press conference this afternoon.

The Rams boss emphasised his commitment to the club during these tough times and took a hard stance on his opinion of owner Mel Morris.

The way Rooney spoke as gone down well with Derby fans who have rallied behind their manager as the club look to get through administration with a new buyer.

Here is what Rams fans have been saying on Twitter:

@SimonKerry_ : Fair play Rooney - straight talk re Morris . Surely with the consequences of his mismanagement you have to have more humility

@WalsallRam : Wouldn't want anyone else managing Derby County Football Club right now. / To any potential owner, if you decide you want someone else running our squad, you'll have a problem to deal with.

@PubTalkFootbal1 : Well done @WayneRooney. We’re all right behind you.

@PHILXAM : as a derby fan living in Middlesbrough, i have been listening via the internet to the press conference this morning and @WayneRooney interviews this afternoon. He fully deserves the respect he shows to others.

@bojanglez : Wayne Rooney has been statesmanlike in his handling of this horrible situation the club has found itself in. He has shown true leadership and deserves massive respect

@DcFcTalk : Had my doubts, but he is without doubt the one person we need to keep at the club through these difficult times. The whole club is behind you Wayne. Thank you.

@ramswriter : our legend


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A reminder of the denial and "hypocrisy" of Mel Morris. [2019]

Derby owner Mel Morris accuses Middlesbrough chief Steve Gibson of ‘hypocrisy’​

Gibson is set to take legal action against the Rams after they allegedly broke profitability and sustainability rules​

By Jake Bacon​

27th May 2019, 10:10 am

Derby owner Mel Morris has accused Middlesbrough chief Steve Gibson of ‘hypocrisy’.

Boro are set to take legal action against the Rams after they allegedly broke the Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules.
Mel Morris’ Derby are under pressure from Middlesbrough
Mel Morris’ Derby are under pressure from Middlesbrough

Gibson is believed to be angered with Morris for selling Derby’s home ground, Pride Park, for £14.6million and leasing it back.

But Morris, whose Derby side take on Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final on Monday, which is LIVE on talkSPORT, insists Derby have not broken any rules.
Steve Gibson is unhappy with Derby
Steve Gibson is unhappy with Derby

He said: “When I raised that at a meeting in March, the representative from the club said it was allowed in the rules at that time.

“So is this! What is different? You set the mould and we copied your lead, now you’re bi******. He [Gibson] had the hypocrisy to do that.

“Even his own fans called it out on their forums and said ‘how dare we do this with our own history’. We discussed this issue again in April and there wasn’t a single vote against, including from their own club!

“They didn’t even vote for their own motion. It is absolutely hypocritical. I didn’t write the rules.

“They had the gall to say to us this is not right. Absolutely unbelievable. Those things to me are just insane.”


Derby fans are not on the Christmas card list, but they dont deserve to have been treated like schit by an unscrupilous hypocrite, who has not only screwed Derby, but all those who pay to watch the team and supported the club long before this financial vandal took over the club.

Good riddance to bad rubbish and Well Done Steve Gibson for having the balls to call him out!

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Derby County administrators reveal Mel Morris decision as scale of debt laid bare

Two of the three joint administrators from advisory firm Quantuma, Andrew Hosking and Carl Jackson, were speaking at today's press conference

Administrators would not put an exact figure on the level of Derby County's debt.

Two of the three joint administrators from advisory firm Quantuma, Andrew Hosking and Carl Jackson, were speaking at today's press conference.

There have been reports that the debt could be between £50m and £70m.

"I would like to answer that as transparently as possible," Hosking said.

"But the reality is the owner [Mel Morris] is owed a considerable quantity of money and other group companies although he has been incredibly supportive and has indicated he is not looking to recover anything from that debt. Equally we have substantial creditors.

"There is no question, and I know it has been debated in the media, that HMRC are owed a substantial sum of money. They are a preferential creditor that we have to address.

"There are outstanding football creditor debts and equally there are trading suppliers who are owed funds.

"I don't think it would be appropriate to give you the exact specifics because I don't think it would portray any realistic figure.

"It is safe to say it has debts in the tens of millions of pounds."


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Frank Lampard admits he has no idea...but backs Mel ...

Frank Lampard defends 'brilliant' Mel Morris amid administration backlash

"I don't know the current circumstances but Mel Morris cares deeply about the club," Lampard told Coral bookmakers (via the Mirror ).
"He has invested a fortune into it and I can only speak so highly of him and how he treated me."


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What about the staff Mel?




Derby’s Wayne Rooney hits out at ‘disrespectful’ owner Mel Morris

  • Rooney: Morris wasn’t honest after club entered administration
  • Pair have not spoken in more than six weeks.
Wayne Rooney has laid bare the chaos at crisis-hit Derby County by revealing he has not spoken with Mel Morris for more than six weeks and said the owner’s address in the wake of entering administration was insincere...........
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Nigel Pearson praises conduct of Wayne Rooney as he reacts to Derby County crisis

Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson served as Rams boss in 2016 but was dismissed after just 14 games following a row with owner Mel Morris

Nigel Pearson has praised Wayne Rooney and his staff for their conduct during the Derby County crisis with Bristol City's Championship rivals in administration and at the bottom of the table after being docked 12 points.

It was confirmed this week that the Rams poor financial management has caught up with them, with the EFL delivering a penalty that has left them at the foot of the standings on minus two points and could be further increased.

On Thursday, Rooney outlined that he would stay with the club despite the current malaise but admitted he probably wouldn't have taken the job had he known about the financial issues which have come to light.

Pearson admits the collateral damage felt by the Rams descent, in particular the supporters and staff at the club, is the real sadness of the story as a genuine powerhouse of Midlands football faces an uncertain future.

"Regardless how I fared there as a manager, they have a very big, loyal fanbase and it's particularly sad when it's going to affect that," Pearson said.

"Its not my place to have opinions on what's happened in terms of why they're in the situation but, what I would say is that Wayne Rooney and his staff have dealt with the situation with a lot of dignity.

"I just looked at the table this morning and saw them on minus two, and I thought, 'wow'. But I'm sure they're looking at it and thinking, if we get three or four results on the trot we're back in the mix.

"I don't know because I've not been in that situation (administration) but I would imagine it's difficult to continue to manage the situation with a bit of balance, but that's what's needed - a calm head."

Pearson served as Derby manager in 2016 but left by mutual consent after just four months in charge following an internal investigation into his "behaviour" in the wake of a row with owner Mel Morris.

Speaking at the Robins High Performance Centre on Thursday, the 58-year-old chose his words carefully but discussed the situation not as a previous employee but as a football fan and a native of the East Midlands, having grown up in Nottingham.

"It's not my place to give advice but I do feel for them," Pearson added. "Not necessarily with the clubs themselves because obviously there has to be an awareness of why they're in the state they're in, but I don't have that knowledge so I can't pass judgement.

"I saw with Sheffield Wednesday last year. I think they had a six point (deduction), after it got halved, and it's amazing how it catches up on you. It's difficult but there are rules, I'm afraid."


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Wayne Rooney has nothing to lose and his wages are probably the only one guaranteed if directly from a sponsor . He’s acting a bit of a child moaning about mels actions not being sincere . Mel has made mistakes but at great cost and can push some people over the edge . All Wayne needs to do is turn up and work with what he’s got he’s got nothing to los and will only get pats on the back for simply doing his job


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I dont agree.
Wayne is clearly prepared to carry on the fight against the odds and could easily pick up a pay packet doing other things if thats all that mattered.
His comments relate to Morris`s hypocrisy - quite right.
He wasnt "moaning" but standing up for the club and his players.
Morris hasnt just "made mistakes but at great cost"!
Hes put the livelihoods of all staff at Derby County - on the line.
Hes fleeced the club and conned fans and the EFL by fiddling the books, being dishonest by knowingly breaking the rules.
His reckless behaviour has left the club with hardly a team - staff looking at potential redundancy before Christmas and players not knowing if they are going to be paid.
If Wayne Rooney stays and makes a fist of a job at Derby, then he will have gone well up in the estimation of many.
Never been a fan of his, but hes showing hes got balls - unlike the sponge who has dumped Derby County in the schitt.


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Gaining loads of respect for Rooney over this.

Especially in your first management job as a superstar ex-player, you want it to be smooth sailing. Most managers would just walk but really respect the way he’s willing to speak out against Morris and be honest about it all, as well as paying for stuff out of his own pocket. Proper leadership, impressive. Never saw him as a manager but changing my mind!


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Wayne Rooney makes fresh Mel Morris revelation as Derby County problems laid bare​

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has revealed how he used the club doctor's phone to fool Mel Morris into taking his call, as their breakdown in communication was laid bare.

In what highlighted the problems Rooney has faced at the crisis-hit club, the former Manchester United explained how he has not spoken to Derby owner Morris since August 9.

Rooney hit out at the lack of communication from Morris who this week saw the club enter administration due to their financial problems which incurred a 12-point deduction.

That has left Derby at the foot of the Championship table on minus two points and has left them now fighting a battle to avoid relegation to League One.

Rooney said he had attempted to talk to Morris over the phone about his concerns but the only way he did manage to speak to him was by using the club doctor's phone.

“I haven’t spoken to Mel since August 9 — I found it all a bit disrespectful," Rooney said.

“I am not asking for an apology but as manager of the football club I was getting questions from players and staff every day and not being able to answer them. I was hurt by that.

“He addressed the players and staff as a group on Tuesday, which I attended. But his talk was basically the same as an interview he did on the radio.

“In my opinion, it wasn’t sincere. It wasn’t heartfelt enough and it wasn’t done with enough honesty.

“But a one-on-one conversation? I still haven’t had that. I tried to phone him but he wouldn’t answer.

“I actually called him once off the doctor’s phone and he answered. So he could answer calls from the club doctor but not the manager.

“There is a way of handling things and being open and honest and that just didn’t happen. I was so disappointed.”


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September 24, 2021

Derby County owner Mel Morris says his decision to part company with the club was a necessary trigger to force a sale of the club.
The decision to walk away, which resulted in Derby being forced into administration, came after spending two and a half years trying to find a buyer.

“When the two deals on the table fell through, I just continued to fund it. But with that level of total debts, shareholder loans, everything, eventually, you have to draw a line in the sand.”

Morris told buyers circling the club wouldn’t do a deal until a “critical event” unleashed interest.

He confirmed tax liabilities of at least £27 million and that former manager Philip Cocu was owed £500,000.

He stated that ownership of stadium won’t stand in way of a deal with a variety of options possible.


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MANAGER: A club has to look after itself

Chris Beech on clubs and their finances

Andy Hall

One of the big stories of the week has been at Derby County, with the club becoming the latest to reveal its behind-the-scenes turmoil as it headed into administration, with all of the uncertainty that brings.

When asked at his Thursday morning virtual press conference if a constant sense of looking over the shoulder is par for the course for every club in these uncertain times, manager Chris Beech said:

“It’s difficult to comment on other clubs, but all I can add is that we just have to try to look after ourselves within the boundaries and governance of the sport.

“We’ve done that very well if you want to measure that against the club as a business, and that obviously coincides with player sales.

“A lot of clubs in the past, and some will still do this, look to gamble and spend, and as a manager of course you always want more finance and situations to support your players, with more players playing on your behalf to win games.

“A club has to look after itself and I think Carlisle as a club has done that really well. Other clubs do find themselves stretching rules, and that can put them in a real soft spot, and clubs like Derby County have now been punished.”

As pointed put by chief executive Nigel Clibbens this week, a more prudent approach can often be mistaken for a lack of ambition which, in turn, can lead to frustration from fans who want to know that their club is doing everything it can to move forward.

And with succession still a hot topic around Brunton Park, the Carlisle boss acknowledged that a perceived lack of information can add to those feelings of angst amongst supporters.

“Anything that takes longer, patience is a keyword to everything in life,” he commented. “It can run short or we can have too much in different elements of our lives.

“As a lifelong supporter all you want to see is a very vibrant situation and it’s very energetic, and things like that.

“In terms of what I have to concentrate on I have to make sure we’re good and that we have players representing the traits we keep talking about.

“I think you do see hard work and honesty, and Gav often talks to me about the fact that even if we take players on loan, or they’re here slightly longer, or even looking at players who have joined us in the past, once they’ve been here eight to ten weeks you can see a big difference in how they represent the things we try to value ourselves on.

“That supports us playing well and trying to get three points. That’s what me and Gav have to concentrate on. In terms of frustration, we’re all frustrated when we don’t win football matches, so we have to concentrate on achieving that.

“The other factors and things are all above my pay grade. I have to have empathy with everything around the football but concentrate on my job.”


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Veteran Phil Jagielka speaks for the players and backs their fight to stay in the Championship:



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[Edited - r00fie1]
Steve Nicholson

The inside story of how Mel Morris' Derby County dream turned into a nightmare​

Mel Morris already held a "significant minority shareholding" in the club when he bought out the American ownership group in 2015 to become sole owner of Derby County.

"I hope together we can help steer this club into a sustainable place in the Premier League. We have many of the key components in place, but I am conscious that we must all commit our total support in pursuit of this goal," Morris said at the time.
Fast forward six years and the Rams are bottom of the Championship and in administration.

The seismic impact of the situation is still sinking in. Disbelief is rubbing shoulders with disappointment and anger among the fanbase. To see a founder member of the Football League and one of the English game's big clubs in such a mess is heartbreaking. It should never have come to this.

Derby Managers since Morris arrived:
Of course off-the-field concerns have been around for 18 months or so alongside the long-running dispute with the EFL. There were clearly worries, but there was also hope that the situation could be resolved and that a conclusion of some sort would emerge in order for the club to start moving forward. With that in mind, the news on Friday night that Derby had filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators still came as a shock to most people.

It is not an outcome many envisaged nor wanted. Nor is it how Morris would have wanted his tenure as owner and chairman to pan out, but it has, and it is a harsh lesson for him and for football. A combination of hefty investment and the best intentions does not necessarily lead to craved success because football is not an exact science.

Chasing the dream and the golden ticket to Premier League riches can be an exciting but dangerous game. There is nothing wrong with ambition. Clubs should be ambitious, clubs of Derby's size certainly should, and fans want to see their team striving.

But striving has to be contained within a club's means although the cavernous gap in finances between the top two divisions lures clubs to overstretch themselves in an attempt to bridge the gap. That is a problem in our game and one that needs addressing.

Clubs gamble in search of success. Sometimes it pays off but it can also backfire, painfully. The Rams pushed the boat out too far at times. The gamble, the push, the striving - call it what you will - did not pay off and the consequences are now hitting home, and hitting home savagely hard.


Derby County: Rams report £14.6m profit after Pride Park sale to owner Mel Morris

April 2019.

Derby have reported a pre-tax profit of £14.6m after selling their Pride Park stadium to owner Mel Morris for £80m.

The Rams have leased back the ground, which was independently valued but on the club's books as an asset worth £41m, from a company owned by Morris.
Profits for 2017-18 disclosed by the club - with public figures yet to be released through Companies House - follow a £7.9m loss 12 months earlier.

Last season was the first time in 10 years Derby have recorded a profit.

The East Midlands club, managed by former England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, have been trying to attract fresh investment this season.

Promotion-chasing Derby, who are sixth in the Championship after 38 games, also report that staff costs increased by £5.9m to £40.5m last season, when they finished in the play-off places under Gary Rowett but lost in the semi-finals to Fulham.

The Rams say their £29.6m turnover for the 12 months between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018, was the club's best ever in a non-parachute payment year.

Those figures, however, still mean that for every £100 the club generated in turnover, they spent almost £137 on wages.

Despite that, the Rams say they meet the English Football League's spending rules.

Derby also received £1.9m following Rowett's departure to Stoke and say they made a further £3.7m from clauses in previous sales of Tom Ince, Jeff Hendrick and Cyrus Christie.

Broadcast, ticketing and commercial revenue also rose by a combined £300,000 in comparison to the 2016-17 financial results.

Derby County celebrate a goal

Derby County are bidding to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2008


Dr Dan Plumley, senior lecturer in sport business management at Sheffield Hallam University

"There are two sides of the coin, some will look at it and think that it's a bit naughty and a bit of creative accounting, but the other side of that is it is completely within the framework of what is allowable.

"If it generates that sort of profit and Mel Morris' company is willing to pay that money, then who are Derby to say no to that?

"It is unusual, but not unheard of and certainly not untoward in any way.

"It is better for a club to own its own stadium, but there is no suggestion that Mel Morris has nothing but the club's interest at heart. He is also looking for other investment or to sell the club as well so this is maybe another factor behind this decision.

"Primarily you look at that as a way of boosting profits and we know there are profitability and sustainability rules that clubs in the Championship need to comply with.

"Looking at Derby's 2016 accounts, they made losses of £14.7m, then it 2017 it was £7.9m and now they have made a profit of £14.6m. Over that three-year period losses of £39m are acceptable, so there is the fact that they are looking to comply with regulations. This is one way of doing that.

"If you look at the wage bill, it is outrageously high but that is not unusual in the Championship unfortunately as you have clubs that spend 100%, 120% 130% of wages to turnover.

"It is all for a Premier League gamble as they chase the pot of gold - and it is viewed less and less as a gamble by clubs, who see it as a strategic option to overspend to get there.

"If you get there, that's great. But if you don't, you have some real issues with big wage bills and the EFL's regulations on profitability and sustainability."


Morris, a wealthy local businessman with a dream, backed his managers, too much on occasions, but this was all part of a desire to have Derby challenging for promotion. There was heavy spending in his first summer window in 2015 - Tom Ince, Jason Shackell, Jacob Butterfield, Bradley Johnson and Andreas Weimann for more than £20m, based on reported figures.
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Derby spent £10m in a matter of hours on deadline day by landing Butterfield (£4m) and Johnson (£6m). Eyebrows were raised although there were not many dissenting voices as the Rams made headlines on the madness that is deadline day. Both players had starred for their previous clubs, Huddersfield Town and Norwich City, and the spending continued in the January window of 2016 as Nick Blackman, Abdoul Camara and Marcus Olsson arrived.
Big transfer fees, significant wages and long contracts, it was an expensive concoction and for a time afterwards there appeared to be an approach based on making two or three big signings each summer in a bid to get Derby over the promotion line after going close the previous season.

That was bold, too bold, too much of a gamble, and each passing season in the second tier highlighted how a different more sustainable model was needed, especially in the face of Financial Fair Play.

There was some big spending in 2018-19, Frank Lampard's one season in charge - Martyn Waghorn, Jack Marriott, Florian Jozefzoon and loan deals for Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori - but there were also significant sales of leading scorer Matej Vydra, Cameron Jerome and Weimann.

The turnover of players ran alongside a turnover of managers.

Frank Lampard and Mel Morris

Frank Lampard and Mel Morris (Image: Derby Telegraph/Alex Cantrill-Jones)

Morris appointed eight permanent managers on his watch - Paul Clement, Darren Wassall - who stepped up from Academy manager for three months when Clement was sacked - Nigel Pearson, Steve McClaren, Gary Rowett, Frank Lampard, Phillip Cocu and Wayne Rooney.

Eight as a cold figure looks too high, and it is when stability is needed, although two of the eight, Rowett and Lampard, left for other jobs at Stoke City and Chelsea after guiding Derby to the play-offs.

Decisions on managers, whether it is their appointments, sackings or departures by mutual agreement, spark debate. For example, Clement's exit after only eight months was not a decision I agreed with. Derby were without a win in seven and had collected four points from 21, but they had topped the table twice that season and sat fifth, five points outside the top two having suffered only five defeats in 30 matches.

Morris was asked in an interview with DerbyshireLive at the weekend if he fired managers too easily? He said: "I am not going to go into individual managers because I don't think it is fair on them or indeed on the club to talk about the circumstances which led to their departures.

Did I make mistakes? Absolutely, no question. Did some of that come from a lack of experience? Absolutely. Did some of that probably come from maybe being more keen for success than probably more patience and prudence? Absolutely."
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Beyond the Headlines.

A Football Fans View - Its not just about Derby:

Blackpool Supporters' Trust column: Derby County's Premier League dream has turned into a nightmare​

We’ve just taken six points from nine and look as though we are finding our Championship feet.

It seems timely then, to focus on the plight of fans at a fellow Championship club, who look as though they are having the rug pulled out from under theirs.

We are, of course, alluding to Derby County, after owner Mel Morris chose to put them into administration.
In truth, they have been making negative headlines for months due to their protracted row with the EFL about financial irregularities.
These centred on the way the club depreciates assets and their ability to stay within Financial Fair Play rules (FFP).
The situation is very serious. Administration carries a default penalty of 12 points and it is difficult to see Derby succeeding in arguing that they should escape this because of the impact of Covid. That line of argument has failed before.

There is every likelihood that the financial irregularities will attract a further penalty. At the weekend, Mr Morris was making hopeful noises about this being “just” another four points. Many think the penalty is more likely to be nine or even another 12.
Such a penalty will almost certainly lead to Derby being relegated. The squad may have to acquire around 70 points on the field just to survive, and as they will continue to be under a transfer embargo, their prospects look bleak.
The squad is small and made up of a mixture of promising kids and veterans, who are heroically over-performing at the moment.
Whether they can withstand the attrition that comes with a long season is open to doubt.

The consequences of being in the hands of an administrator and heading for League One are potentially grim.
The administrator’s primary job is to secure maximum value for the club’s assets in order to satisfy creditors, not to run the club like a fan would.
Ordinarily that would mean selling the best players, though Derby can’t even do that until the next transfer window in January. Trading from day to day in the meantime is going to be a challenge.
The real value of the current squad must be limited but Derby appear to have few other assets to sell.

It is unclear whether the stadium is subject to administration, as Mr Morris sold it and it is mortgaged to an American company.
The training ground is also subject to a loan and there isn’t much else. The club is thought to owe around £26m to HMRC and Mr Morris has previously suggested that he was supporting it to the tune of around £1.5m a month.
There have to be real doubts therefore as to whether the administrator can keep the club afloat as a going concern without a buyer - and the value of the club to prospective new owners is getting smaller every day.
You may by now be wondering how it came to this. Mr Morris has a track record as an extremely wealthy and successful businessman, so how has this club reached a position whereby in the last year for which figures are available it was spending 151 per cent of its revenue. That’s not good business practice.

The answer appears to be that Mr Morris gambled on spending big and getting into the Premier League.
He may have done so but for a play-off final defeat and this article could well have been written about Aston Villa instead - but he didn’t and now chickens are coming home to roost.
In fairness to Mr Morris, he is not alone in spending money his club does not have, or mortgaging its future.
Sheffield Wednesday got punished for financial transgressions and paid for them with a relegation they would otherwise have avoided.

Birmingham and Reading have both been hit with sanctions recently and are in delicate financial positions as a result.
Around 80 per cent of the clubs in the Championship spend more money on wages alone than they take in. It is, to coin a phrase, the economics of the madhouse.
That it happens says much about the way TV revenue is distributed between the leagues. When a club who finishes bottom of the EPL is rewarded with over £120m (plus parachute payments), while the likes of Stevenage and Walsall get around £400k, you can understand why some club owners are dazzled by the size of the prize and behave accordingly.
Does this matter to Blackpool? After all, effectively reducing the number of relegation spots to two might be very helpful to a newly promoted team but we would argue that it is wholly unsatisfactory for two reasons :

Firstly, it makes a mockery of “competition integrity”. The League should be decided on the field of play, not in an EFL tribunal; and secondly, the current rush to the bottom in terms of financial management puts enormous pressure on those club owners who choose to run their clubs prudently.

The way the game is structured in England offers very little in the way of reward for clubs who husband their resources carefully and try to build a sustainable business based upon good recruitment and developing young talent.
There is therefore an awful lot at stake in terms of Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review of the game. She is due to publish her final recommendations in late October.
The pressure will then be on the government and others to deliver real, lasting change that encourages club owners to treat the clubs they own with the veneration they deserve.

Much of the media attention on Derby centres on Mr Morris and on Wayne Rooney, but the real losers are likely to be the supporters, the unsecured creditors and back-office staff at the club who face the prospect of being unemployed for Christmas.
It shouldn’t be like this, and for BST the fight goes on to ensure that we get something far, far better.