Derby manager Wayne Rooney has accused owner Mel Morris of a lack of sincerity and honesty when telling the players and staff at the club that administration was likely.
Rooney also labelled Morris disrespectful for the way he has conducted himself, having not made the effort to speak with him for more than six weeks.
The Rams officially entered administration earlier this week, triggering an automatic 12-point deduction that sunk them to the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table, with the possibility of further points being taken away hanging over the club.
Rooney hit out at Morris in his Thursday press conference for the way the businessman delivered the news and subsequently handled the situation.
“In my opinion, it wasn’t sincere enough, it wasn’t heartfelt enough, and it wasn’t done with enough honesty. Obviously he has moved on and we have to move on and put Mel Morris to the back of our minds,” Rooney said.
“I personally haven’t spoken to Mel Morris since August 9. I still haven’t had a one-on-one conversation, no phone call, no text message. Nothing.
“I find it a bit disrespectful, to be honest. Communication is so important, whether it’s good news or bad news, so we can deal with it.
“He doesn’t have to apologise to me. I just found, as manager of this football club, getting questions from players and staff and not being able to answer, I was hurt by that.
“He’s put a lot of money into the club, and he deserves a lot of respect for that, but there are ways of handling things and it has left me disappointed.”
Morris said the club had missed out on £20million in lost revenue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the administrators confirmed Derby’s debts run into “the tens of millions of pounds” without disclosing the exact figure.
Earlier on Thursday, the administrators offered hope to the club’s supporters and said they are confident of finding a buyer by the end of the year.
Derby confirmed the appointment of Andrew Hosking, Carl Jackson and Andrew Andronikou from Quantuma as joint administrators on Wednesday, which triggered the automatic 12-point deduction from the EFL.
Hosking and Jackson faced the media on Thursday and said they had already held conversations with “genuine, credible” buyers, with the prospect of some of the club’s debts being discounted due to entering administration making them a more attractive purchase than they previously were.
“A club of this magnitude is such that it does have a viable future moving forward,” Hosking said.
“No one’s underestimating the task ahead of ourselves because clearly there will need to be some difficult decisions made over the coming week or two in terms of whether we need to consider if there need to be any efficiencies made.
“But there is a considerable degree of interest in this club. A lot of it was expressed prior to (entering) administration.
“Now that the club is in administration, notwithstanding the points deduction and clearly the distress to the supporters, the staff and suppliers to the club, we do consider that the position to be able to make a successful conclusion to the story is now really very, very practical.
“We don’t consider the obstacles that we face at this stage insurmountable.”
Hosking said the timescale to find a buyer had been set with a view to allowing the new owner to be in place in time for the January transfer window opening.
They said they had met with club staff, including the first team and Rooney.
Asked whether Rooney’s future was in question, as a cost-saving measure with the transfer window closed, Hosking said: “Not at all.
“We need a manager to motivate the team and that has not come into our consideration at all.”
The administrators said they would have to evaluate the need for an agreement over player wage reductions on a month-by-month basis but Hosking said he “sincerely hoped” that would not be the case.
The administrators were confident there was enough cash left to settle September’s wage bill but that they were looking for short-term funding to cover the day-to-day losses that must be incurred to effectively run the club beyond that, even after any redundancies that have to be made.
They met with representatives of the club’s supporters’ trust on Thursday and their message to them was that “every little helps”, with Hosking highlighting the difference in revenue an extra 5,000 supporters at Pride Park each week would make.
The club face the prospect of a further points deduction over breaches of the EFL’s financial rules, and Jackson said: “We’ve had very positive dialogue with the EFL, they want to see Derby County survive, we want to see Derby County survive, but right here, right now what we can’t say is that there won’t be further points deductions. There is a distinct possibility of further points deductions.”