Derby County have exited administration after nine months thanks to a takeover by the local property developer and lifelong supporter David Clowes. It marks a positive end to a painful saga for Derby, who had seen three proposed deals collapse since last year.
Derby’s administrators, Quantuma, said Clowes has saved the club, who this season will play in the third tier for the first time since 1986. Clowes’ company, Clowes Developments, also acquired Pride Park stadium from the former owner Mel Morris. Derby, hit by a 21-point deduction last season, begin at home to Oxford United on 30 July.
Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhones or the Google Play store on Android phones by searching for 'The Guardian'.
If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.
In the Guardian app, tap the yellow button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.
Turn on sport notifications.
Last week Derby appointed Liam Rosenior, previously assistant to Wayne Rooney, as interim manager after the sudden departure of the former England captain. Derby returned to training on Monday with only five first-team players under contract for this season.
In an open letter to supporters, Clowes, 53, said: “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 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.”
The joint-administrator Andrew Hosking heralded a “new beginning” and “clean slate” for the club under Clowes. “The level of complexity involved in bringing this matter to a conclusion has been unparalleled and we are grateful to all stakeholders and their advisers for their hard work which has enabled us to overcome a magnitude of challenges, and allow the rescue of this historic club,” Hosking said.
Clowes’s arrival, 282 days after Derby were placed in administration, will be welcomed by supporters, who were left concerned for the club’s future when the American businessman Chris Kirchner’s takeover deal fell through last month. Erik Alonso and the Bin Zayed group also failed to get deals over the line.