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Challenges Derby County F.C - Austerity Measures - Administration


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The Club

Derby County F.C are a club with incredible history dating from 1884. They were one of the 12 founding members of the football league in 1888 & in 2009, were ranked 137th in the top 200 European football teams of the 20th century! 

As seen below, Derby County F.C have a really strong foundation's of a fantastic 30,000 seater stadium & Excellent youth & 1st team facilities!

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The Issue- as per Wikipedia.

 Local businessman Mel Morris assumed ownership of the club. Morris initially oversaw a level of spending unprecedented in Derby's history, breaking the club's transfer record four times in his first three years, but also oversaw an equally unprecedented managerial turnover as he went through nine managers in five-and-a-half years between June 2015 and May 2021.

In this period the club endured three unsuccessful play-off campaigns, failing in the semi-finals twice and losing in the 2019 final to Aston Villa; in May 2021, the club, now managed by Wayne Rooney, narrowly avoided relegation to League One.

Earlier, in October 2020, it was announced that Morris was intending to sell the club and was actively seeking new owners. A potential deal with a Middle Eastern-backed company was discontinued in March 2021, after which a sale to a Spanish businessman, Erik Alonso, was agreed in April 2021,but in May 2021 it too was discontinued after doubts about Alonso's funding emerged,alongside possible EFL sanctions regarding breaches of financial fair play regulations(a deduction of nine points remained under consideration in mid-September 2021).

On 8 July 2021, the EFL imposed a transfer embargo on the club,leaving Rooney with a squad of just nine contracted senior professionals; however, the EFL later relaxed the embargo but said any deals will have strict wage limits.

On 17 September 2021, the club’s board of directors announced that the club were entering administration. The EFL confirmed they would face a 12-point deduction.

The Challenge

The closest challenge to going into debt on FM21 Mobile is "Austerity Measures". As described below, " the aim of the challenge is to reduce the wage bill by 25 percent before the end of the transfer window" whilst also keeping the club competitive "until the end of the season". You can see on FM21 Mobile, Derby County F.C had a wage budget of £851k but are operated currently at £1.13m - That is £279k over the budget, major debt.

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The Result

So, in the end, I did complete this challenge but it is not easy & was a real test. At the moment, I am liking teams with players strong in PACE/TEAMWORK. With Derby County F.C, At first, I found it difficult to make the tough decisions's, skirting around the squad's youngest & oldest players. The truth was though, Derby County F.C actually have a strong team.

After chiselling away at the players who would not be in my plans & assembling the 22 players I was happy with, something shook me. The wage budget was still way over the budget & the challenge & transfer window were dawning- I was going to fail.

This said, I was stuck & thought about what to do next. There was only one thing for it, I sold all of our players, some of whom went for millions & freed up thousands in wages! The wage budget was finally under control & actually in a really good state. 

Now, we had the funds but no players so a premium rebuild for Derby County F.C was required. I scanned the market for the cheapest players on good wages who were good at PACE/TEAMWORK & rebuilt our 22-man squad.

We had our new team with strong attributes & a healthy wage budget, we make it through the transfer window with a green light. Making Derby County F.C competitive would be the next challenge. At the start, I wanted us to still play Tiki-Taka football using the tactic preset but quickly became apparent, we did not hold the quality to pull this off consistently. Based on my assistant managers advice, I amended this to Fluid Counter Attacking.

So this said, the wage budget was now healthy, the squad has been rebuilt with solid attributes & in the end, found a system which would make us competitive - CHALLENGE COMPLETE.

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My Thoughts

The situation at Derby County F.C is very concerning. A perfect storm of COVID & consistent overspending to aim for the English Premier League. I really do hope in the long term, there is a buyer for this incredible football club.

From playing this challenge on FM21 Mobile with Derby County F.C, a few things became clear to me.

  1. Firstly, The club has a big squad, most of which are on reasonable wages.
  2. Secondly, The squad is really good & there's a reason Derby County F.C have reached the play offs so many times in recent years.
  3. Finally, the wage's at the club are relatively high at Derby so I can forsee them going through a tough few years of selling great players for much cheaper alternatives.

This said though, with the right players, system & direction, there should be bright future for the club in the future! 

Edited by SSolas
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