'Derby County gave me a reason to live': Fans speak out to save beloved football club

·4-min read

The long and now desperate fight to save Derby County is bogged down in legal and financial wranglings that are threatening to take one of England's oldest clubs out of existence. 

For lifelong supporter Kal Singh Dhindsa, it's a far simpler equation - Derby County helped save his life.

It has to survive.

"It's a total mess," he told Sky News. "Nobody knows what is truly going on, things are being said and discussed in the background and not shared with the wider public. We're being left in limbo."

"A lot of jobs are on the line, a lot of pride, people don't know what to do."

So out of sheer frustration, fans have started sharing just what it means to them. Kal's father, Mohinder, was 51 when he took his own life back in 2006.

"It was a traumatic event in my life, I needed something to keep me distracted along the way. My attention turned to the city of my birth and my football club.

"Had Derby FC not been there for me when I needed them most at that time, I don't know where I would be now."

The thread #myderbystory has seen hundreds of moving messages on social media after an appeal from supporters' groups for fans to speak up.

Kal's post read: "This is what Derby County Football Club means to me. After the death of my father by suicide it gave me a reason to live. To keep moving forward. To Never Forget the Legends of Our Past.

"Heritage is Everything. @dcfcofficial is Life."

Rooney leading against-the-odds fight against relegation

Having been docked 21 points this season, the team is now defying the odds and fighting hard to stay in the Championship under the guidance of manager Wayne Rooney.

Talk of Rooney being considered for the managerial vacancy at Everton is just the latest drama at Pride Park.

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As one of the 12 founding members of the Football League back in 1888, Derby County has known many better days.

The Rams were champions of England twice in the 1970s under legendary manager Brian Clough - they won the FA Cup back in 1946.

The financial meltdown after the stewardship of former owner Mel Morris has left the club in administration and on the brink.

How the fight to save Derby has gone global

Fans in Derbyshire aren't alone in the fight to save their club - supporters around the world have added their voices.

From Sydney, Hilary Webster wrote that her father used to work at the club's old stadium: "My dad was the electrician for the floodlights at the Baseball Ground. In 1963, we came to Australia, but he remained a passionate fan.

"At 92, he still watches every game and interview, reads all the match reports. @dcfcofficial is everything to him."

Sunil tweeted: "Dad came to Derby in 60s from India. Going to games probably made him feel less alien as all supported the same cause. We as a family [have] done the same since '92.

"City and club part of identity even though we don't all live in Derby now."

In Pennsylvania, fan Shane Dolan simply stumbled across the club online and started supporting them from afar.

He told Sky News: "It hurts to think I may never witness a match in person. All I can say is that Derby will fight til the end & we will stand beside them as a family. We are Derby and we will not fade out."

RamsTrust spokesperson John Atkin told Sky News: "The idea for our #myderbystory campaign came from the sense that neither the EFL [English Football League] nor the administrators really grasped the sheer human cost that the loss of the football club would exact.

"We thought it might be a good way to send a different message and perhaps persuade them of how vital it is to keep this historic club at the heart of our community.

"The stories shared have been touching, funny, nostalgic and in some cases incredibly moving. They've illustrated how generations of Derby and Derbyshire people have lived their lives intertwined with the fortunes of the football club.

"Most of all, we hope these stories might help give the EFL and Quantuma the impetus to get round the table and thrash out an arrangement that allows Derby County FC to continue."

Administrators Quantuma continue to work with interested parties to secure a new owner for the club - the EFL issued a statement this week in response to fierce criticism over the protracted saga.

The EFL said: "For the avoidance of any doubt the League is not making any attempts to block any sale of Derby County, but instead attempting to do the right thing by all parties."

The team face East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest this weekend in their ongoing fight for survival on the pitch.

Off the pitch, the battle that means so much to the fans of Derby County, will continue for as long as it takes.

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