Derby County entered administration in September last year. Credit: Ritchie Sumpter.

When Brennan Johnson slid in to double Nottingham Forest’s advantage against arch-rivals Derby County, the eruption of the Trent End was enough to cause a miniature earthquake.

Yet with the financial difficulties at the other end of the A52, could scenes like last Saturday’s 2-1 victory soon be no more?

A February 1 deadline set by the EFL looms for the Rams, with the club required to prove that they have sufficient funds, in the region of £5 million, to complete the season.

Wayne Rooney’s side entered administration in September last year and were handed a 12 point deduction in the process before being docked a further nine points for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

The Rams may well be able to overcome their 21-point deficit in the league but finding enough money to keep the club alive could be a step too far with less than a week to go.

Generally football clubs bask in the misery of their rivals but this time it feels slightly different given the long-term implications.

Despite Forest fans in the upper tier of the Bridgford End dropping fake money on the away fans below, mocking their rivals’ dire situation, the two clubs are bonded together whether they like it or not.

Derby County disappearing into League One would be tough to take, but Derby County disappearing completely would be a tragedy – and bring a 130-year rivalry to an abrupt end.

So many derby day moments live long in the memory, from Peschisolido’s coffee cup goal and Bryson’s hat-trick on ‘Deforestation Day’ to Tyson lifting the corner flag aloft and Osborn’s last-gasp strike.

And that’s without even mentioning the names Clough and Taylor.

For Stuart Madden of East Leake, it’s Colin Fray’s commentary as Forest thumped the Rams  5-2 back in 2010 that sticks out for him – “And Forest hit five against Derby!”

Stuart first went to the City Ground aged 10, and has vivid memories of East Midlands Derbies at the Baseball Ground, where you could “cut the atmosphere with a knife.”

He added: “They’re the first games you look for on the calendar.

“It’s exciting and you look forward to it all week – then at kick-off you hate it.

“I’ve got friends and family who are Derby fans – it’s a rivalry, but it doesn’t have to be a nasty rivalry – there can still be a certain amount of respect there.”

There’s sympathy in Stuart’s voice when the topic of the Rams’ administration came up, as he admitted: “I think taking it sensibly, obviously Derby and Mel Morris have made a lot of financial errors but the supporters shouldn’t have to pay for that.

“Most Forest supporters will say that they don’t want to see Derby liquidated, that would be too much, but justice has to be done.”

Derby fans would argue that justice has been done, through countless transfer embargoes and not one, but two, points deductions.

However, there is no shying away from the fact that rule-breaking and mismanagement has put Forest’s bitter rivals as close to extinction as they ever have been in their 136-year history.

The real crime is that those who made the errors, splurged the millions, and fudged the numbers won’t be the ones that suffer.

It’ll be the fans that lose out. Those who have backed their side to the hilt, spent hundreds to follow them home and away, and had to watch on as Forest condemned them to yet another loss – stretching the number of days that Derby last won an East Midlands Derby to 1563.

That statistic will make Reds fans grin and Rams fans groan – yet isn’t that what the rivalry is all about.

Stuart’s motto for derby day is “If you can’t win it, don’t lose it.”

If Derby lose their battle to find a buyer, Forest will lose part of their club too.