Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Derby County

I must post on a somewhat lighter subject. It is some time since I have commented on the progress of my beloved Derby County. One of the reasons that I began this blog was to regularly comment on 'The Rams' because these days it is the only voice I have got.

One again our American owners have insisted that Derby County stand on its own two feet. They refuse to pump any money into the club and appear to have insisted that the manager sorted out the books. So Nigel Clough has ruthlessly got rid of all the high earners signed by previous managers and concentrated on cheap signings from the lower leagues and Scotland and developing an academy.

Now this policy will in my opinion never get us into the Premiership and if we get there we won't remain there. Having said that I must be fair and point out that Swansea and Norwich have not spent wildly. Norwich have a striker in Grant Holt who apprenticed in the lower leagues and the leading scorer for Swansea is Danny Graham who Rams fans will remember as a loanee who never scored a goal for us!

So is the policy of growing and developing our own talent realistic and how far has Nigel Clough gone in this direction? Well he has raided the lower leagues and Scotland. He went to Crewe and grabbed John Brayford and James Bailey and frankly they haven't done badly. He went back to Burton Albion and brought in Jake Buxton and reserve keeper Adam Legzdins and they have both surprised me. Buxton in particular has filled in for injured captain Sean Barker and has appeared solid. Ben Davies arrived from Notts County and sometimes flatters to deceive. Tom Naylor recently arrived from Mansfield and is very promising. Most of them are progressed and can play at championship level

Craig Bryson and Chris Maguire arrived from Scotland and one has succeeded and one failed (so far). We have also taken other players like Theo Robinson, Gareth Roberts, Nathan Tyson and Jamie Ward from championship level rivals with mixed success. Roberts has done well but players like Robinson and Ward will probably keep us in the division but no more. Tyson has failed.

So what about the academy? Here we have an unqualified success. This year alone we have fed Jeff Hendrick, Mark O'Brien, Callum Ball, Mason Bennett (15 years of age), Will Hughes (16) and recently Kwame Thomas (16) into the first team squad. I have no crystal ball so I don't know what the future holds but the three younger ones regularly turn out for the England age squads.

It would appear that Derby County are only prepared to pay proper money for centre backs (Jason Shackell and Sean Barker) but we need a strong midfielder and more than anything a finisher. Sometimes a club does have to push the boat out to compete. We remain a middle of the table unambitious outfit who play boring, uninspiring, football. We shut up shop at every opportunity and revel if we get a one goal victory.

Consequently this well supported club are losing fans. Every game is a struggle because in my opinion the manager has only one aim and that is to survive at this level. His 'fear' is often translated onto the field of play. They very rarely have a comfortable victory which was emphasised recently when they went 3-0 ahead and completed the game hanging on for dear life!

Football is an entertainment. People pay to be entertained. If you do not intend to entertain then you should find another profession Mr Clough. Your Dad knew how to entertain both personally and professionally and that is why he was so successful.


SAB said...

Hey it could be worse! You could be a Forest fan and be fighting off relegation.

Things have picked up recently though. Went to see them at home to Brighton the other weekend and it's the most entertaining fluid football i've seen them play for years! They have finally found some form at the last minute (luckily).

Must say we were glad to offload Nathan Tyson to Direby :-). The lad's got plenty of pace, but no finishing ability. And that's when he's not injured. Every time he went to ground in a Forest match you'd hear a gasp from the fans wondering if he'd ever get back up again!

Nigel Clough has done 'ok' i guess. More and more clubs are 'playing it safe' these days because of finance and not wanting to overstretch the wage bill.

Not sure what's going to happen with our friend's at Leicester though. All that money pumped in and the play-offs are virtually out of sight. I hope their owners don't pull the plug or they'll be in serious trouble with debt.

GrumpyRN said...

If Nigel waits long enough he could get the (Glasgow) Rangers first team for a knock down price. Whether he would want them is another matter.

bryboy said...

Football binds us guys together even though in my opinion it has become overrated. I would never pay today's inflated prices. In the 1950's when I queued for the boy's gate to watch Derby County with Tony Hateley it was nine old pence. Forgive my looking back. Nice to hear from you again GRN. Motherwell is still my team north of the border and Derby did produce Henrik Ojamaa through our academy. Rangers won't be allowed to fail but we could do with one or two of their cast offs!!

bewick said...

Do you know BB I never actually got to the Baseball Ground! In the 50s I couldn't run to the bus fare to Derby as well as 9p for admission. By the time I could? Well I couldn't because I had a Saturday job. Later I moved away so again ,well, couldn't. I did see Pride Park once when a train to Bristol, from Newcastle, was held up for 20 minutes in sight of PP.
I did visit St James' Park when Derby were playing Newcastle. My nephew was visiting - mainly to see Derby County. Charlie George was a player at the time so I think it was oct 1981 and we lost!
Ticket prices? Hell they cost as much as a week's groceries for me. There is no way at all that I will be so stupid as to fund silly wages (and profits) for somewhat over-rated footballers.