on and off the pitch

Derby County fans – and players – were in a fighting mood on Sunday as they spoke out on and off the pitch.

GB About: Derby County Publish: 01/30/2022 Edit: 01/30/2022 Author: Gardener

Derby CountyDerby County: Fans protest and team shows struggle in battle to save club and avoid relegationDerbyDerby have had 21 points deducted this season but Wayne Rooney's side are making a valiant attempt to stay in the championship at Pride Parkway. "We're Derby County, we'll fight to the end," they sang. Many drove their cars to the stadium and then walked back into the city center to meet in the meeting rooms for the 11:30 start last. A Football League extension means the club's administrators have another month to prove they have sufficient financial evidence to see them through to the end of the season, a home game against Cardiff City on Saturday 7 May . The expectation is somehow they will make it. There is no end in sight to the derby fans' turmoil since owner Mel Morris placed the club under management in September. He was no longer willing to fund the escalating debt which, even if 'compressed' and only a percentage offered, still leaves a potential owner considering a £70million investment for a club likely to be in next season fans have many aspirations for their club in the state it is in. There is Morris, whose ambition to lead the Rams to the Premier League has not faltered despite numerous breaches of football's financial rules. There's also the Football League to rule that Middlesbrough and Wycombe's £60million compensation claims, if proven, would be seen as a football debt and would have to be paid in full. And there's Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson, who believes Derby's accounting practices robbed his club of a play-off spot and potential promotion to the top flight in 2019. But as much as the march was an attack on those who they felt were doing their club down, this was really about supporting a football club. Thousands demonstrated in support of their association. Generations of fans peacefully asserted their point of view. Everyone walked behind a banner that read: "Founder Member of the Football League. 138 years of football heritage. Save Derby County.” Inside the floor revealed a capacity of 32,000. Almost everyone supported the team, although as it was football the Birmingham fans chanted 'we'll have a party when Derby County dies' after the 2-0 lead. It seemed a bit odd as there are many issues at St Andrew's that should have created some sort of kinship, even among Midlands rivals. Wayne Rooney was called in for an interview for the Everton manager's job but declined the opportunity given how the game was unfolding in Derby's season as a whole. It was quite unbelievable that Polish defender Krystian Bielik, whose £8million move from Arsenal in 2019 caused one of the "football debts" Derby must pay in full, scored the equalizer in added time and in the act of celebrating suffer a shoulder injury severe enough to be helped off the field. Rooney's roster included four teenagers. One of them, Luke Plange, scored the opening goal of Derby's comeback 2-0 with three minutes remaining, and another, Malcolm Ebiowei, who has never played a first-team game is not easy, the hero is straightforward. Wayne Rooney has handled the season so far with immense professionalism. His status was already high in the eyes of Derby fans even before he confirmed on Friday that he had turned down an opportunity to speak to youth club Everton about his manager's job. His name was chanted at regular intervals on the march and hundreds of fans waited until well after the final whistle to celebrate Manchester United and England's record goalscorer as Rooney conducted his post-match interview off the pitch. "Things happen for a reason," Rooney said. “There were no Premier League games this weekend and our game was on Sky. It was almost a reminder that this is a huge club with a huge fan base. I know the admins are working hard for this. The people above me, Middlesbrough, Wycombe and the EFL, they have to be sensible. People's livelihoods are at stake.” What happens now? will formally confirm their offers pending more clarity on Middlesbrough and Wycombe's claims. This is clearly a major stumbling block. However, there are others. HMRC are owed £28million and while there are hopes a deal can be struck to reduce that liability, it is yet to be agreed. And then there is the stadium. His sale of Derby to Morris has sparked much resentment around the club despite being ruled in line with EFL rules and other clubs have followed the same strategy to create greater spending flexibility. However, this means that the stadium is not part of the management process. But if he wanted to, Morris could strike a private deal with MSD and a third party for the stadium, which would significantly reduce the football club's value. The published minutes say Morris has given "assurances" regarding the sale, but BBC Sport has been told that Morris has had non-worker representatives at meetings between potential buyers and the administrators, as his status as stadium owner allows. And while there's no doubt Morris has lost more than £100million through his ownership of Derby, some are wondering if he should now offer to pay off some of MSD's liability to bring the club's overall price down, which, apart of the situations at Middlesbrough and Wycombe, is perceived as prohibitive. Sunday was a reminder that what will happen on and off the pitch in the coming months is far from certain. But for now, derby fans can take solace in knowing their team, having deducted 21 points, are just seven points from surviving the championship and battling all the way. Your supporters will continue to do so. What are the biggest rumors as the deadline approaches? Would you like to book a holiday this year? 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