Derby County Football Club is pleased to announce that well-known local businessman Mel Morris has become a new owner and a Director at the Club with immediate effect.
Morris, who is 58, was born in Derby and has lived in the area for most of his life. He was previously a Director at the Club during 2006 and 2007.
Morris, regarded by many as Derby’s most successful businessman, has taken up a significant minority shareholding within the Club and joins as a co-lead investor.
Morris is also a shareholder in, and non-executive chairman of, King Digital Entertainment Plc, the publicly quoted company behind the range of highly successful smartphone and mobile games including Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and Papa Pear Saga, with more than 350 million monthly users. He was also behind the 1998 launch of the dating website uDate and the internet security company Prevx.
Morris, having been in regular contact with Derby’s Board of Directors during the course of this season, has been delighted with the direction and progress of the Club over the past several years.
In his discussions, he has revealed a considerable eagerness to be part of the Club’s drive towards the Premier League.
With Derby already in a strong financial position under the current Ownership Group, Morris will join the board to invest in and support the Club’s promotion ambitions moving forwards.
He has been impressed with the running of the Club by the Rams’ senior executive team and management staff, and has also taken a particularly keen interest in the Academy, Scouting & Recruitment areas within the Club.
Morris said: “I am delighted to be joining Derby County as a Director and am looking forward to what is an exciting future. The last 12 months has seen this Club make considerable strides in the right direction. From the outside looking in, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and humility at all levels. To have been within a whisker of making the Premier League shows how well the team, under the exciting and capable guidance of Steve McClaren and his coaching staff, performed on the pitch this season. It is evident to me that Derby County is a very well-run operation and I hope, by coming on board, I can further strengthen the incredibly positive position that the Club enjoys both on and off the pitch.”
Morris continued: “As I said a few weeks ago publicly, the atmosphere at the iPro Stadium against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Play-Off Semi Finals was simply electric. I think that was the best game I’ve seen since the Club moved from the Baseball Ground for excitement and the style of play, and I am sure there’s more to come next season. While Wembley was a disappointing outcome for us all, I am confident that everyone will learn from this experience and be much better for it in the fullness of time.”
Derby County’s President & Chief Executive Sam Rush said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Mel to the Club as a significant investor and as a Director. He is a highly respected local businessman who is well known across Derby and his arrival is a great opportunity to help drive the Club forwards towards the Premier League.”
Derby County Chairman Andy Appleby commented: “Mel’s appointment confirms our ambitious plans to accelerate our efforts to move Derby County forward. The current owners came together in 2007 with a desire for Derby to become an established Premier League club. We have been challenged in many ways but have persevered because we believe in Derby County Football Club – in its legacy – and in its supporters from around the world. As a supportive and motivated ownership group, we understand the importance of not resting on what has been achieved both on and off the pitch this season. With Mel Morris’ investment and appointment, we further reaffirm our sincere desire to return Derby County to the top flight.”