Today is a critical day for the future of Derby County Football Club.
We have, of course, been saying that for quite some time.
A couple of months ago we launched a #savederbycounty campaign – MPs got involved, fan groups put pressure on, and we reported on the huge protest at Pride Park.
Finally, the process finally saw movement with the announcement of Chris Kirchner as the preferred bidder, by Quantuma administrators.
Yet, here we are today, still questioning what on earth is going on.
Here’s a look at the current situation and in particular that day of madness on Wednesday.
The current situation
Chris Kirchner is STILL the preferred bidder and the party with exclusivity.
As reported, there have been delays transferring the finance due to issues to do with money laundering checks, clearance, and complications that I will not begin to fully understand.
That exclusivity agreement
The delays have been ongoing, and torturous for fans, and I would say for all parties involved.
Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph’s John Percy tweeted that Kirchner is “still hopeful of providing funds” but may lose his exclusivity as preferred bidder of Derby County if there are further hold-ups.
A headline grabber, but in truth, it’s very logical, this cannot go on, and will not be allowed to go on indefinitely.
Creditors need to be paid, and the administrators have a duty to make that happen and take the club out of administration.
The EFL, administrators and Kirchner remain in dialogue and extensions / deadlines will have been made clear.
But yes, that deal could end in theory at any moment, meaning it would be a race to the finish line.
How close that finish line is for Kirchner remains to be seen.
Will the deal get done?
In my humble opinion, it could still happen, and should still happen.
DerbyshireLive wrote on Tuesday that funds had left his account, and the process in the eyes of the Kirchner camp, just required rubber stamping at this end.
Today we will learn more of what has happened to the funds and if indeed they have cleared.
I tweeted last night that I expect the deal to progress, despite the widespread rumors of the deal collapsing, exclusivity set to end, and Mike Ashley ready to pounce.
This is not to say any of those things could not still happen, but I trust the intentions of Kirchner, and I believe he is desperate to push through the deal to buy Derby County.
I was asked if I would stake my mortgage on it, and the answer was simple but flippant – “You would not ask that if you’d met my wife.”
The truth is, I wouldn’t, of course not.
Not given the crazy weeks and months that have proceeded this.
But I believe the money is in place, I believe the funding is complex, and I believe a lot more will make sense if and when a deal is announced.
Indeed, issues surrounding the stadium.
I am not putting my head above the parapet to say it will happen, and that is certainly not the official view of the Derby Telegraph and DerbyshireLive, but from discussions and information I’ve been party to, I know that the intent is there.
I’ve seen the whites of people’s eyes and made my own mind up.
I appreciate that is of little help though, in truth.
So what next?
As my colleague Leigh Curtis wrote yesterday, there have to be answers, and now they have to come fast.
Kirchner had little to say when quizzed about the status of the takeover at a golf event in Hertfordshire earlier today, only saying “no comment” and “it will come out soon” when pressed for an update.
It’s gone on far too long, and delays to the proceedings could prove rather fatalistic for Derby’s hopes of building for perhaps the biggest season in the club’s history.
The Mike Ashley link won’t go away, we know he remains interested, but crucially, Kirchner remains in the driving seat until a decision is made that changes that.
It’s fair to say that the sands of time have all but run out.
Today, I expect, and I hope, will deliver answers.
As ever, it may just present more questions than answers.