Why Portsmouth fans could be travelling to Stoke or Leicester next season and not Derby

Pompey fans planning next season’s away days could unexpectedly be typing the addresses for Stoke’s Bet365 Stadium or Leicester’s King Power into their car satnavs.

By Mark McMahon
Friday, 6th May 2022, 1:28 pm
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 1:29 pm

That’s after it was revealed relegated Derby County could be forced into a ground share with either club for the 2022-23 campaign and move out of Pride Park as the deadline for Chris Kirchner’s proposed takeover of the Rams draws near.

The American businessman is the preferred bidder for the club which has been in administration since September 2021.

The EFL released a statement on Thursday night which stated a deal was edging closer, with an exclusivity period with administrators Quantuma ending on Saturday.

But the biggest challenge facing Kirchner is Derby's home ground, which is still owned by former chairman Mel Morris.

He separated Pride Park from the club in 2018 and it remains separate from the administration process.

Negotiations are taking place but a deal is yet to be struck.

And if the status quo continues, it means Wayne Rooney's side could be forced out of a venue they’ve called home since 1997.

Pompey in Capital One Cup action at Stoke in August 2014 Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

According to reports, Derby have been exploring the possibility of playing their home games at either Stoke or Leicester in League One next season.

They sit 52 and 31 miles respectively away from Derby’s current stomping ground.

And if either are required, it will deny Blues supporters a first trip back to Pride Park since a 3-1 Championship defeat on October 29, 2011.

Speaking to Rams TV, Kirchner said: ‘It is just the way the entities under the previous owner were tied together.

‘The stadium and the rights to that stadium are intertwined for a lot of those.

‘Without getting too detailed or too complex, and obviously to have a club and to have a deal officially approved by the EFL you have to have a lease or own a ground.

‘You have to have somewhere to play and so for all those reasons, it's tied in.

‘Because it is not part of the administration it has added a layer of complexity in trying to get this deal done because of the different parties that have to make decisions on it.’

Pompey last played at the Bet365 Stadium, formerly the Britannia Stadium, in August 2014, when they suffered a 3-0 Capital One Cup loss.

The Blues’ last competitive match at the King Power was in December 2011, when the Championship fixture ended in a 1-1 draw.