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Derby reach agreement with Middlesbrough over compensation claim

Derby’s hopes of exiting administration have been boosted after an agreement was reached over a legal claim against the club from Middlesbrough.

The claim, along with a potential claim from Wycombe, have been held up as obstacles to selling the club to new owners.

However, the Rams announced on Friday that an accord had been developed between their former owner Mel Morris and Boro owner Steve Gibson.

The Derby statement said: “Gibson and Morris were keen to develop an accord ahead of the Middlesbrough v Derby County fixture to be played at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow.

“The claim has clearly been the source of much concern to both sets of fans, and especially those of Derby County. The fact that a resolution has been discussed and agreed should be comforting to both sets of supporters.

“Details of the accord shall remain private. However, it is important for all interested parties, including potential bidders, to be confident that the Middlesbrough claim will not be an impediment to Derby County progressing its plans for a sale of the club.”

News of the accord followed an offer from Morris last Friday to Middlesbrough and Wycombe to take up their claims against him personally to the High Court to enable Derby to “move on”.

Derby boss Wayne Rooney welcomed news of the accord and said: “Obviously, that’s been the main stumbling block in moving forward.

“I’ve been pushing and pushing about getting new owners in and this is a big step to allow that to happen.

“So now the next step is obviously the administrators engaging with the preferred bidders and getting the right one in.”

Sources close to the Binnie family, one of the bidders for Derby, had become frustrated over the lack of progress regarding the claims and feared the actions of Middlesbrough and Wycombe were driving Derby until liquidation.

Derby manager Wayne Rooney welcomed news of the accord
Derby manager Wayne Rooney welcomed news of the accord (Tim Goode/PA)

Supporters’ group the Rams Trust said: “Rams Trust is very encouraged to hear an agreement has been reached with Middlesbrough over the outstanding compensation claim.

“If a similar agreement can now be reached with Wycombe Wanderers, we should be able to push ahead with the takeover.

“The administrators have indicated that there would then be no further impediment in announcing a preferred bidder who would then fund the club until the end of the season.

“We urge the EFL to confirm with urgency that they are content to accept this agreement to enable the takeover to be completed. This is a vital step in ensuring Derby County is saved.”

An EFL spokesperson said: “The EFL welcomes today’s positive development that an agreement has now been reached regarding Middlesbrough FC’s claim against Derby County.

“The league will now continue to work with all relevant parties on finding the appropriate solutions that will secure a long term future for Derby County.”

Wycombe have been contacted for comment.

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