DERBY, England (AP) Derby's American owners have sold the English second-tier club to a local businessman.

Former Detroit Pistons executive Andy Appleby fronted the takeover seven years ago by a group of Americans, including investors in baseball, basketball and hockey franchises.

Within months of their takeover, Derby was relegated from the Premier League and the team has stayed in the Championship since 2008.

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Now life-long Derby fan Mel Morris, who bought a 22 percent stake in the team earlier this year, has become the sole owner.

Morris thanked the ''North American Ownership'' group for providing the ''finance and leadership stability the club needed following the traumatic times which followed the 2007-08 season in the Premier League.''

Five Premier League teams are owned by Americans: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Manchester United and Sunderland.