Derby’s prospective new owner Erik Alonso says he wants to restore the club’s prestigious history and insists he has the wealth to do it.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News in his first TV interview since agreeing a deal to buy the Rams from Mel Morris, subject to EFL ratification, Alonso says he wants to see the club playing Premier League and European football again.
The Spanish entrepreneur says he is just a “simple guy” who wants Rams fans to trust his actions, not his words, and he will start by backing Wayne Rooney as head coach and retaining Roman Calderon – the ex-Real Madrid president – as the club’s lawyer.
Alonso told Sky Sports News: “I’m really excited because I want to start this project. It’s a very big club and I will be more than happy to become the new owner.
“Derby’s history is there. It speaks for itself. Derby is bigger than every one of us. What we want is to bring Derby back to its old days. That’s why it’s a very exciting project. If we can bring Derby back to its old days, back to Europe, that will be a great success.
“First of all we have to be realistic and stay in the Championship this season. We can’t think further than that. Let’s go step by step. After we reach that objective we will speak with (chief executive) Stephen (Pearce) and Wayne and set up the next season.
“Next season we will be fighting for the play-offs and the promotion to the Premier League. Why not?
“We will not change Wayne. He has all my support. He is a very good coach and a very good person. He is learning with us and we are learning from him. (And) Stephen is a good person and professional man and he has all my support. He will be with us for sure.
“Roman Calderon will be the club lawyer. He will be with us. He is a close friend of mine, and who better than him to advise me? He was the president of the biggest club in the world, so I will be very happy with him in the team.”
Little is known publicly about Alonso – although Sky Sports News shed some light on Thursday as Calderon’s involvement was revealed – and he refused to be drawn on his financial backing.
Derby have been in the grip of financial problems made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, but Alonso has vowed to spend what is necessary to achieve the club’s ambitions.
“I will not say how much money I have, and that’s normal,” he said. “We will spend the right money. If we think a player is right for us, and we will spend it. If there is one for free, we will do that too.
“We will not throw the money. We will do things properly. If we need to spend £20m we will, if we need to spend £150m then we will. It depends. We have that sort of money. If the team needs that, we will do it.
“First we will talk to Wayne about which players will continue next season, and which others we will bring.
“It’s just me. I will not talk about any backers, because right now it’s me. I am the one who will fund and work for the club. I’m a common guy, a simple person. I talk with everyone. I can say hello to everyone.
“I’m just a businessman who had luck and success in my businesses. I don’t want to look arrogant but I am wealthy enough. My experience speaks about me and what I will say to Derby fans is; don’t just trust my words, let me work and see what we will do.
“(Now) it depends on the EFL. But the takeover of the club is ready. If they tell to us be ready on Monday, I will be more than ready. I already saw the club, but I want to go there and to stay there, and look after the club on a day to day basis. For next season the plan is to come over (and live in the area).
“What I think will be a success would be take out all the debts, make a strong team, fight to go to the Premier League. If we go there it will be a success – but the biggest success would be to make all the Derby fans proud.”