I have refrained from posting on my beloved Rams because I have been giving Nigel Clough every opportunity to emulate his father. Unfortunately the whole team is in disarray and some of his summer signings have proven to be disastrous. To be fair it is not all down to him because the owners, in this day and age of spectacular footballing purchases are well...the best word is parsimonious!
They refuse to spend money. Not only do they refuse to spend money but they ordered all of the high earners in the club to depart. So Nigel Clough was hired to ensure that the club paid for itself and to his credit he has ensured that the club pays for itself! The problem is that in this day and age it is a recipe for relegation. The club has to compete with clubs down the road like Leicester City who have Thai owners committed to premiership football regardless of the cost!
That however is not the real problem. The Rams began the season with four consecutive victories which saw them share top spot. I blogged at the time that I thought that Nigel had got lucky. He then had to build on his luck because last year we had a similar start which faltered and eventually we were close to relegation.
Once again he is failing because psychologically this team is weak. We almost always concede goals at vital moments and we never, ever score late goals which change matches. We were two nil up at Peterborough, allowed them back to 2-2 and then for some reason Nigel brought on a 16 year old right full back in the final minutes and of course Peterborough scored the winner. We have not won a point since that decision!
We are at Derby at last developing real talent at the academy. They are being promoted into the squad in desperation. No way should Mason Bennett (15 years of age) be exposed to championship football...so often!
Mason Bennett is keeping some of Nigel Clough's summer signings out of the team. Aberdeen went to a tribunal over the fee for Chris Maguire...is he so useless? Tommy Cywka has largely been ignored so who was at fault for signing him? Dean Leacock who, the last time I viewed him was a talented defender, is being ignored completely. He can play right back or centre back so why play Paul Green at right back when he is a talented Irish international midfielder?
Stephen Pearson was a Scottish international midfielder and yet he was also ignored and was recently transferred on loan to Bristol City. Bristol City have a talented new manager and immediately he grabbed Stephen Pearson and instantly the form of Bristol City improved. Pearson scored the first goal which turned their fortunes around. I suspect that both Leacock and Pearson were on high wages and therefore had to be distanced.
Derby County are on a downward spiral. No club can rely on kids to keep them in a division to which they do not belong. Yes one day Callum Ball, Mason Bennett, Will Hughes, Jeff Hendrick and Mark O'Brien will emerge but we need leadership today.
Players like Craig Bryson (ex Kilmarnock) or Ben Davies (ex Notts County), Chris Maguire (ex Aberdeen) were cheap but they are not good enough at this level. Similarly we have been lucky with Jon Brayford and James Bailey (both ex Crewe) but both are average championship players. We need a premiership player(s) who will propel us towards the future but they need paying.
Derby County are probably in the top dozen clubs in regard of their support. Other teams would love the revenue that Derby's board receives. I suspect that their ambition on the football field does not match the ambitions of the fans. The fans should vote with their feet. Last year they were conned by a glib chairman talking about marquee signings (one who is so crippled that he has yet to play for the club). Next year I suspect the fans will find another hobby. I bloody hope so because that is the only way that they will regain their club!!