Businessman trying to secure Derby County stadium deal to help seal takeover

A local businessman who is being backed by investors is trying to seal a deal for Derby County’s stadium to help aid Chris Kirchner’s takeover, it has been claimed.

Punjabi Rams have tonight Tweeted that a deal for Pride Park is “still on the table” after Kirchner’s proposed purchase of the club hit a stumbling block over the ground. Form rams owner Mel Morris currently owns the stadium having separated it from the club back in 2018 and is reportedly looking to sell it for £20m.

The ground is not part of the administration process meaning a deal has to be struck independently with Morris but there has so far been no breakthrough. Punjabi Rams have issued an update on a potential solution that involves a local businessman whose identity is not yet known and say that talks are ongoing.

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They Tweeted: “Deal is still on the table. Numerous meetings taken/taking place with key stakeholders. Rumors of other parties now showing interest, once we have facts will confirm.”

Punjabi Rams’ update comes after they revealed on Twitter last night how a group was willing to step in with Derby fans eager for Kirchner’s deal to be completed.

“We’ve just got off the phone to a Rams fan, local businessman who has pulled together a group of investors to buy the ground,” they said. “They are serious and have calls later tonight to progress the matter. They want the best for Derby and we’ll keep fans updated.”

The news comes as Kirchner’s period of exclusivity was extended to May 14 to help find a resolution which was confirmed by the club’s administrators Quantuma tonight.

The statement read: “The joint administrators are conscious of the heightening anxiety and levels of interest in respect of the ongoing potential acquisition of Derby County Football Club by our preferred bidder, Chris Kirchner.

“There were a substantial number of issues which have been needed to be dealt with since naming Mr. Kirchner as preferred bidder in respect of the various stakeholders within the administration and the appropriate levels of submissions to the English Football League.

“Since announcing Mr. Kirchner as preferred bidder we have progressed through most of the outstanding issues with the preferred bidder and there are now just a small number of outstanding matters to be agreed with the EFL and in relation to the club’s stadium at Pride Park. We consider that matters can be resolved in a short period of time and are grateful for the assistance of all stakeholders relating to the stadium.

“It should be noted that the company that owns the stadium is not in administration and therefore out of our control.

“We have therefore extended the period of exclusivity to midnight on Saturday 14 May.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Morris has been fully co-operative throughout the administration and has not changed his stance on the disposal of the stadium. He shares everyone’s desire that the successful acquirer will take the club forward and understands that the acquirer will want the stadium matter resolved as soon as possible.

“It is clear that a successful outcome is dependent on Mr. Morris’ assistance in terms of writing off substantial sums owed to him personally, and also in dealing with other issues relating to the stadium to include Chargeholder interests, the existing lease and some historic lease arrears which have to be addressed. It is therefore not helpful for Mr. Morris to be receiving personal threats against himself of members of his family, which have caused him and his family substantial anguish and could result in a very unnecessary and serious distraction.

“We should be grateful if supporters and other parties could refrain from passing comments of such nature and any such threats reported to the administrators will be taken very seriously. We can confirm that the preferred bidder is supportive of this position.

“Finally, the price for the stadium has been a constant and we are seeking to quickly resolve the ancillary issues relating to the stadium with all parties concerned.”

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