One of Mike Ashley’s senior executives has confirmed the former Newcastle owner is fully committed to buying Derby County, but he is becoming increasingly frustrated with delays obstructing a possible takeover.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Keith Bishop, Ashley’s head of PR, says Derby’s debts and the complexity of a deal to buy the club “doesn’t frighten him”, but he admits “the clock is ticking” if a deal is to be done to avoid Derby going into liquidation.
“He is 100 per cent interested in buying the club,” said Bishop. “He wants the Derby fans to know he is very much interested.
“He sees it as a club that could do really well, obviously it’s not doing very well at the moment, but with his business acumen, he believes he could really turn it around.
“He’s still a very rich man, who has got the funds to put into the club, and he has got the business acumen to change things there.
“If I were a Derby fan I’d be very happy. And from the response we are getting, there are a lot of fans who want him to come in and take the club over.
“With where they are now, they deserve a lot better. And that’s what he can do.”
Ashley is one of three potential buyers interested in taking over at Pride Park, though the situation is extremely complex, and that is a source of frustration.
Debts of over £60m, legal claims from Middlesbrough and Wycombe worth potentially £40m, and complexities over the stadium which is not owned by the club, are all serious stumbling blocks.