The real reason behind Sam Rush’s return to Derby County


Former Derby County Chief Executive Sam Rush has been spotted at Pride Park as the agent of young academy goalkeeper Jack Thompson.

The England youth international signed a two-year scholarship deal with the Rams on Wednesday morning and announced the news on social media, where he was pictured alongside Academy Director Darren Wassall, Goalkeeping Development Coach Ross Atkins, First Team Head Coach Paul Warne, and agent Sam Rush.

The news of Thompson’s scholarship agreement came as part of a triple contract boost for the Rams, after their academy set up was decimated as a result of entering administration in September 2021. 20-year-old defender Max Bardell signed a contract until 2025 after making his professional debut as a substitute in the FA Cup First Round Replay against Torquay United. Northern Ireland youth international Darren Robinson also committed his future to Derby by penning a deal until the summer of 2024.

The former Derby President is now Chief Executive and Director at ‘366 Group’, a London-based sports management and player agency company.

Rush was photographed at Pride Park for the first time since being dismissed by Derby County in 2017 for gross misconduct after he breached fiduciary duty. This included scouting and consultancy agreements that weren’t authorised by the club’s Board of Directors, then headed up by now ex-owner Mel Morris.

Suspicion first came to light around Rush’s wrongdoing when contracts between Derby and a number of agents and agencies came under criticism. The Rams sued Rush in the high court for a total sum of £6.8million whilst also seeking security payments in relation to “significant contingent liabilities”.

These liabilities were in relation to the five players that Derby signed between 2015 and 2016 that were clients of Rush’s Wasserman Media Group (WMG) player agency. Bradley Johnson, Darren Bent, Jacob Butterfield, Jason Shackell, and Nick Blackman’s transfer fees totalled to an estimated £20.3million, of which agents can receive up to 20%.

The contract of winger Abdoul Camara was taken on by WMG upon the French-Guinean’s arrival in the UK, and the company received a six-figure fee for acting for the club during negotiations of former Sweden international Marcus Olsson’s contract.

In March of 2018, the high court ruled that “there was no credible explanation for why the Club acted in the way they did.” Derby’s argument regarding a fair dismissal had no real reasonable prospects of success according to Employment Judge Clark.

Mr Rush’s lawyer Paul Daniels said in an official statement:

“We are very pleased but not at all surprised that Mr Rush has won his claim for unfair dismissal. We have always made clear that Mr Rush did absolutely nothing wrong at the Club, so to be treated in the way he was, was extremely disappointing to say the least.”

“Mr Rush looks forward to telling the whole story of his treatment by the Club and to the High Court ruling on his claims as soon as possible.”

Rush’s salary of £500,000 per year made him the best paid CEO in the Championship until his sacking in May 2017, meaning he collected over £2million in his four-and-a-half years at the club, alongside compensation claimed from Derby for a breach of contract and unfair dismissal. His five per cent shareholding in the club also meant he claimed a dividend of the profits each financial year.

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