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Middlesbrough don’t hold back as they drop their own statement about Derby County

Middlesbrough don’t hold back as they drop their own statement about Derby County following the 2,000-word piece by the EFL on Monday night.

Boro say they contacted Derby County administrators to make a compromise settlement offer over the League’s Profitability and Sustainability (P&S) breaches claim at much less than reported £45million. 

Middlesbrough have not heard back and so the saga goes on with the CRams’ future at risk – liquidation a possibility in two weeks time.

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A statement from Middlesbrough FC…

MFC is aware of the media speculation regarding its claim against Derby County and has read last night’s statement by the EFL. The club wishes to ensure that, to the extent possible given that the arbitration claim is confidential, the full facts are in the public domain, rather than ill-informed speculation.

Why are MFC bringing a claim now?

MFC became aware that Derby County was cheating under the P&S Rules during 2018/19. MFC first intimated a claim against Derby County in May 2019 immediately following the end of the 2018/19 season. The claim was held in abeyance whilst the EFL Disciplinary Proceedings against Derby County were followed through to a conclusion. MFC then sent Derby County a Letter Before Action in the autumn of 2020 and started arbitration proceedings against Derby County in January 2021. Derby County used various procedural tactics to seek to delay the proceedings and as a result the claim has yet to be finally determined. MFC is not responsible for the delay. Had it been finally determined, and an award made in favour of MFC, there would be no dispute that MFC would be a Football Creditor.

It is said the claim has no prospect of success so why continue?

Given that the claim is confidential, MFC does not understand how people can assert it has no prospect of success. MFC is a commercial organisation and would not pursue frivolous litigation at huge costs unless it had been advised that there is a good prospect of success. The claim is not limited merely to the amortisation issue in respect of which a Disciplinary Panel have already found Derby County to have breached the P&S Rules. Without breaking the confidentiality of the proceedings, in simple terms, MFC allege Derby County and its directors systematically cheated under the P&S Rules and that such cheating affects the integrity of the competition. At least two clubs, namely Middlesbrough and Wycombe, were directly affected by the cheating, albeit in different seasons. In simple terms so far as MFC is concerned, had Derby County not cheated, MFC would have been in the play-offs. However, Derby County did cheat and, as a result, MFC lost the opportunities that arise as result of that.

How can MFC hold the administrators and EFL to ransom in demanding that its claim, reported to be worth over £40m, be met in full as a condition of the share in the EFL transferring?

That is not what MFC has said. The club believes that it is a Football Creditor but accepts that, as things stand, the size of the debt due is unknown. All MFC have said is that any new owner should be required to honour the final decision of the Arbitration Panel on behalf of Derby County once that is known. There is a certain inconsistency to the arguments presented by the administrators. On the one hand, it is said that there is no prospect of the claim succeeding, in which case there is no risk for a new owner. But, on the other hand, the administrator apparently cannot find a new owner because they will not proceed without the claim being settled due, presumably, to the fact that it has merit and might succeed. If the claim has no prospect of success MFC does not understand why a new owner would resolve the matter by accepting that the arbitration decision should be honoured. Of course, if the claim has a value as MFC believes, there is no reason why MFC should not, as a Football Creditor, be entitled to recover the monies due to it.

Why is Steve Gibson refusing to compromise the claim?

MFC has made it clear since the administrators were appointed that it was happy to discuss how the claim is dealt with and whether a compromise could be reached with the administrators or the new owner. The administrators contacted MFC in November 2021. However, there has been no contact at all since then, until this week. The administrators ignored MFC’s correspondence from November and MFC’s offer to continue engagement. MFC has made clear that it does not wish to see Derby County fall into liquidation, and that MFC is happy to be realistic in its expectations in order for Derby County to exit administration. However, it is ultimately up to the administrators or the new owner to put a firm and realistic proposal forward or merely agree that MFC’s claim, when finally determined, will be met in full by the new owners.

Twitter users reacted as Middlesbrough don’t hold back when they drop their own statement about Derby County…

@WestSussexRam: ALL the EFL Disciplinary Committees confirmed there had been NO deliberate effort by Derby to break the rules. This is in WRITING in their summary documents. Your use of the word “cheating” several times must be bordering on the libellous.

@SirSmuglasEllis: Classless statement from an non-entity of a football club. #dcfc have ten thousand times the relevance of Middlesbrough. They have history, predigree and a decent fan base – everything Middlesbrough lacks. It’s such a shame that the situation is not reversed.

@Charlie1876_: Top man gibbo. No one wants to see them liquidated regardless of how thick and misguided a portion of their fans are. You break the rules, you face the consequence, simple as that. Yet, to some derby fans shock, it’s actually Mel Morris that got you lot in this mess, not gibbo.

@_TY_97: Derby fans would rather blame Steve Gibson than Morris for how their club has ended up, plus the same fans wanting sympathy are sending Boro fans death threats and were celebrating Morris cheating ffp

@lewis_everett11: Oh no we blame Morris. But Gibson is the currently hold up for us moving on. I don’t agree with death threats and haven’t seen any either tbf.

@dcfc53: WHY aren’t you trying to claim compensation from Aston Villa? They too broke FFP and went up via the playoffs that you were so sure you’d win… they also beat you in your poor form to end the season. You also lost out automatic promotion to Bournemouth 2015 who again breached FFP

@Jamie71642296: Tbf it’s makes our club look pathetic, we had more legal grounds against Bournemouth and never submitted a claim, move on Gibson the focus should be on the pitch

@Lewis8315: The rules were not the same back then the current rules only came into play from the beginning of the 16-17 season

@SteveBloomerPod: Your claim boils down to this: You want £45m from us because you *might* have won the play-offs.

@LukePingu: Fucking embarrassing… If this kind of bullshit is allowed then every single result in football will have to be questioned…

@jonloveridge83: So that’s Quantuma, Boro and the @EFL all denying they are the ones to act. Can everyone please get a grip? #dcfc #dcfcfans

@TheEightball80: A single tweet that’s about to send the entire county of Derbyshire into absolute meltdown. My fucking football club. 😍

@zakwinfield: Cheating is where you’ve genuinely gone out of your way to get the end result. Derby didn’t get promoted, and @Boro you had an awful end to the season. Your form cost you, not Derby. Clowns.

@PaddySisyphus: If Gibson is intent on seeking compensation for missing out on the play offs in 2019, he should be pursuing a claim to get all of Tony Pulis’ wages that season returned to the club.

@alexcmfc: I’m just thinking of how fucking electric Boro vs Derby will be on February 12th

@8rucey: Administrators need to pull their finger out their arse basically #dcfc #dcfcfans

No prisoners taken with that statement and rightly so.
Maybe their fans venom should be directed at the bloke who actually caused all of this. Hard to have any sympathy seeing so many of them behaving like they are.
Didn’t seem as bothered whilst the cheating was going on 🤷🏽‍♀️

@Chris_Woods28: To all Derby County Fans: Mel Morris screwed over your club, not Steve Gibson. If this was the other way round, I’m sure it would be a totally different story. Cheat the game, face the consequences. Not fair on the fans, but not fair on ours either. Simple.

@RobinBoroBobbin: As much as our statement seeks to clarify the situation because we are ‘at odds ‘with Derby the club & most importantly their fans the use of emotive language e.g.*cheating * will only serve to add fuel to the fire. Roll on final @EFL verdict. This is bad for football

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