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Americans invest $100M in Derby deal

  • Story Highlights
  • Derby County taken over by American-based group of investors
  • Derby are bottom of the Premier League and facing relegation
  • Deal will not involve new owners taking on addiional debt burden
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LONDON, England -- Derby County became the fourth Premier League club to fall under the control of Amercan owners on Monday when a Detroit consortium took charge.

Derby County manager Paul Jewell faces a tough task in keeping his side in the Premier League.

General Sports and Entertainment purchased a 93 percent stake, valued at about $100 million, and takes control of a club that is last in the 20-team division and facing almost certain relegation to the League Championship next season.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us and the community because we have resources and relationships that go beyond money," said GSE chairman Andy Appleby, a former Detroit Pistons executive.

"It's more than just throwing money at players, it's about building an entire organization and a strong foundation. If we do that we will create additional revenue streams to build a better club."

Appleby said earlier in a Web site statement: "We have visited Derby County over the last six months and experienced a match day at Pride Park Stadium, where we were impressed with the incredible potential of the club and the loyalty of the fan base."

Derby join Manchester United, Liverpool and Aston Villa in embracing U.S. backers. Also, New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner has told The Associated Press he is interested in buying into English soccer.

Five other Premier League clubs have foreign owners: Chelsea (Russia), Portsmouth (Russia), Manchester City (Thailand), Fulham (Egypt) and West Ham (Iceland).

Adam Pearson will remain Derby's chairman. Tom Glick, a former marketing officer with the New Jersey Nets, another GSE affiliate, will be president and chief executive. The executive vice president will be Tim Hinchey, a former vice president of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Derby were promoted to the Premier League this season but have only one victory and seven points from 23 games. They were knocked out of the FA Cup on Saturday, losing at home to League Championship team Preston 4-1 in the fourth round.

New manager Paul Jewell took over from the sacked Billy Davies, who steered Derby to promotion last season, before Christmas but has been unable to reverse their poor form.

Steinbrenner has said he would be interested in purchasing Tottenham -- or even League One side Nottingham Forest -- for the right price. He regrets not buying a 33 percent interest in Spurs in the 1990s, when his baseball team was approached to invest $32 million.

He discussed the renewed interest in English soccer while ruling out adding further American sports franchises to the Steinbrenner family holdings.

"The only thing would be a soccer team, a major soccer team in Europe, probably at this point preferably in the Premier League," he told the AP. "That's always a possibility for me. We'll just have to see what happens." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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