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There is one man Derby County supporters should never be ungrateful for

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David Clowes is the man to thank for Derby County’s quick elevation to the Championship following their bankruptcy rescue in just two seasons.

With a thrilling 2-0 victory over Carlisle United on Saturday, Paul Warne’s team secured automatic promotion by just missing out on third-place Bolton Wanderers. It’s difficult to forget the Rams’ situation just two years ago, even after the champagne corks have burst with their promotion to the English Football League’s second level.

Relegated from the Championship in 2021–2022, Derby County had debts totaling £60 million. An apocalyptic scene played out at Pride Park, as numerous senior officials abandoned ship prior to the club’s collapse. Wayne Rooney, the club’s former manager, left quickly, citing the “uncertain period regarding the ownership” as his primary motivation.

One guy intervened just in time to prevent The Rams from going bankrupt and collapsing completely when all hope had appeared lost.

Man of the hour, David Clowes

The insolvency firm Quantuma managed Derby for the ten months that the team was under administration. The company let go of a significant number of employees and sold off the majority of Pride Park’s best players in an effort to turn the club around. As the Derby doomsday clock appeared to be about to strike twelve, David Clowes, a Sunday Times Rich List 2023 contender, intervened. Rams supporters will always remember July 1, 2022, as the day Clowes sealed the deal to take over the team.

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Immediately following the completion of the deal, Clowes wrote an open letter to the fans explaining that he could “not stand by while the possibility of losing Derby County became all too real.” If I hadn’t taken every precaution to safeguard it, I wouldn’t have been able to look in the mirror.”

Since then, Clowes Developments’ founder has given the team unwavering support, paying as much money as financial constraints would allow to return the team to the Championship. This summer marks the end of the EFL’s restrictions on their ability to enter the transfer market, providing Warne and Clowes with the best opportunity to enhance their team in preparation for a return to the Championship.

Trophies of the Clowes period

Derby supporters have been showering the guy who kept their team from going extinct with praise. For Premier League clubs, the story of relegation causing irreversible harm is all too familiar. Rushden & Diamonds FC experienced this in 2006.

The decision by Clowes and his board to replace interim manager Liam Rosenior with Paul Warne was arguably their most brilliant move. They had enough stability after finishing seventh in League One to push for promotion in the 2023–2024 campaign, which they did.

Despite the transfer restrictions that are currently in place, the manager has worked wonders, using loan agreements with players like Max Bird of Bristol City. The 23-year-old defensive midfielder has made 33 appearances this season in League One, tallying six goals and seven assists.

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Another point of excitement in the Clowes era is how entertaining the Rams have been in-front of goal. Ebou Adams’ thunder-volley at home against Blackpool in March was a critical point in their season, igniting tangible feelings that the Rams could get promoted.

Derby County leading goalscorers 23/24
James Collins 16
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 10
Tom Barkhuizen 8
Louie Sibley 7
Martyn Waghorn 7
Max Bird 6
Conor Hourihane 6

At Derby’s last game against Carlisle, Clowes was present and carried the promotion trophy onto the field for the team to hoist. He stated, “seeds have grown into the delight of promotion back to the Championship,” in one of his numerous fan letters.

Considering that the club might not exist without him, he merits equal recognition for this positive move.

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