Erik Alonso blames everyone but himself for his failed attempt to takeover Derby County


Erik Alonso has lifted the lid on his failed takeover of Derby County – blaming anyone but himself for the deal falling apart.

And he has even implied he is still involved in a potential Derby deal. 

The Spanish businessman and boxing promoter announced in early April that he and No Limits Sports had struck a deal to buy the Championship club.

But within six weeks, whatever agreements Alonso thought he had secured had collapsed.

And now sunning himself on a beach in Ibiza, rather than calling the shots at Pride Park, the Spaniard has given a self-indulgent interview to The Athletic reflecting on what went wrong.

Erik Alonso launched a takeover of Derby County in April, but the deal collapsed by end of May

Erik Alonso launched a takeover of Derby County in April, but the deal collapsed by end of May

In Alonso’s eyes, the EFL’s intransigence over proof of funds was the main factor, but the ‘hacking’ of his social media account that led Derby fans to accuse the club’s would-be owner of passing off a £42m TikTok house as his own, didn’t help.

Sportsmail reported in mid-May that the Rams’ chairman, Mel Morris, had finally accepted defeat in his bid to sell the club to Alonso, with EFL sources saying the deal was ‘dead in the water’.

Morris, who Alonso describes as ‘not an easy person to negotiate with’, had held on for over a month in the hope of the Spaniard producing the funds to complete a takeover. At the time, sources claimed the EFL had asked Alonso to deposit £35million in a holding account and heard nothing.

The EFL claimed Alonso was unable to provide 'tangible proof' of funds, be he insists he did

The EFL claimed Alonso was unable to provide ‘tangible proof’ of funds, be he insists he did

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch appeared to confirm this position in early June when he told talkSPORT that Alonso ‘wasn’t able to deliver’ when it came to ‘tangible proof’

Not so, Alonso has now told The Athletic from his sun lounger in the Balearic islands.

‘It predominantly broke down because the EFL kept putting up more barriers,’ said Alonso, in a wide-ranging interview.

‘I think, in my opinion, and maybe I am wrong, that they see a 29-year-old kid would own one of the founders of the Football League and they did not want it,’ said the ex-boxer.

Alonso has formerly been linked to takeovers at Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City

Alonso has formerly been linked to takeovers at Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City

‘There were three conversations with the EFL,’ he added. ‘The first one was for proof of funds and to justify the movement between the banks. It had to be €75 million over a three-month period.

‘Initially, the EFL said it was OK, but they wanted to know the source of the funds. I said no problem, I provided all the information about the businesses and sent it to the organisation.

‘Then they (EFL) came back and told me it was not sufficient. They asked me to provide all information for all business dealings I may have in Indonesia and Spain, including tax returns and bills. I then provided all that information. I spoke to my lawyers and they told me what we had provided was already sufficient.’

During the intense weeks of the doomed takeover negotiations there was speculation in the media about Alonso’s source of funds.

Derby owner Mel Morris will continue to fund the club until he finds a buyer

Derby owner Mel Morris will continue to fund the club until he finds a buyer

Alonso said his business interests in football, pharmacy, family-owned wineries in the Spanish region of Rioja, hotels and a coal mining business were sufficient to support the buyout, but he admits others were involved.

According to The Athletic, it has seen three months of bank statements, as well as evidence of a deposit of £35 million.

But it appears the EFL wanted evidence of the source of funds to be sure the club would be run sustainably in the future.

And as the saga came to a head, a bizarre incident involving Alonso’s Twitter account simply added to the drama.

A tweet from Alonso's account was an 11-second clip filmed inside a luxury property

A tweet from Alonso’s account was an 11-second clip filmed inside a luxury property

But the video - and the music accompanying it - looked identical to a TikTok clip posted by LA-based real estate agent David Pfaff in April 2020

But the video – and the music accompanying it – looked identical to a TikTok clip posted by LA-based real estate agent David Pfaff in April 2020

The original caption of the TikTok video by Pfaff said the property was worth $60million

The original caption of the TikTok video by Pfaff said the property was worth $60million 

Stan Collymore gave his reaction on Twitter to the tweet that appeared on Alonso's account

Stan Collymore gave his reaction on Twitter to the tweet that appeared on Alonso’s account

A video showing off a lavishly decorated home with panoramic views was posted to Alonso’s Twitter account, with the tweet captioned ‘Good Morning’.

Some fans interpreted that Alonso was filming from inside the property, but quickly Derby fans claimed the exact same video clip, with identical music, had been posted by Los Angeles-based luxury real estate agent Davis Pfaff back on April 11 last year.

Alonso later disabled his Twitter account.

Mr Pfaff confirmed to Sportsmail that the property is located in Bel Air, California and that he filmed the video while hosting an event at the home last year.

Derby retained Championship status on final day of the season against Sheffield Wednesday

Derby retained Championship status on final day of the season against Sheffield Wednesday

Derby players celebrated their survival in the Championship outside the ground with fans

Derby players celebrated their survival in the Championship outside the ground with fans

He said nobody has purchased the nine bedroom, 15 bathroom property since then and it is currently on the market for $42m [£29.65m].

And Alonso has now told The Athletic he was the victim of a hack.

‘My Twitter account was hacked the night before the tweet was posted,’ he says. ‘By the next morning, the police had looked at it and confirmed my account had been hacked.’

Finally, on May 20, Derby confirmed that the proposed takeover of the club by the Spanish boxing promoter had failed. 

Stephen Pearce, the club’s chief executive officer wrote to supporters on behalf of the directors, to confirm Derby are looking elsewhere for a buyer. 

Derby County says it is in touch with  'credible parties' interested in buying the club

Derby County says it is in touch with  ‘credible parties’ interested in buying the club

‘Mel Morris is in touch with a number of credible parties in respect to purchasing both the football club and Pride Park Stadium,’ wrote Pearce.

‘Due to confidentiality reasons, we cannot expand on this information at this time in terms of the identities and complexities of the discussions, but should we be in a position to share more details then we will do so.’

Meanwhile Morris and Rams’ fans are on a roller-coaster ride with more downs than ups. 

The club, managed by England and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney, retained its Championship status on the final day of the season in a nail-biting 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. 

Fans gathered outside Pride Park relieved that their club avoided relegation to League One

Fans gathered outside Pride Park relieved that their club avoided relegation to League One

However, as well as the failed takeover, Derby were also found in breach of EFL financial fair play rules concerning accountancy practices. Derby are likely to be hit with a points deduction next season.

Morris remains desperate to sell the club and there has been mention of an American consortium being in talks. Alonso implies he is involved in a Derby deal, saying that ‘the American group is continuing to try and work on the deal and I am by their side’.

Meanwhile, with money tight at Pride Park, fans are looking nervously ahead to next season.

Sportsmail has contacted the EFL for comment. 

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