Saturday, 21 July 2012

Derby County

I will now indulge myself and comment on my beloved Rams. Actually I am beginning to appreciate what the Derby board are trying to do. They have decided on an austerity programme and when we see the state of British football (Glasgow Rangers for example) we do have to appreciate that perhaps this Board have got their priorities right.

We must remember however that Derby County are one of the best supported clubs in the country. They command amazing loyalty and yet we are consistently outbid by clubs with just half of our support. To the South of us (Leicester) we have Thais with millions to spend and now to the East (Nottingham) we have Kuwaitis who also have millions to spend. In the middle we have a parsimonious American owners who want to 'develop the club'.

It is now becoming apparent that the Rams are 'cherry picking' the better players from the lower divisions and Scotland and hoping that they can improve them into Championship players.  It could be success on the cheap but an even more important aspect of the club policy is the academy. 

Darren Wassall is in charge of the academy and his success rate is astonishing. Last year the academy promoted five players into the first team squad. Andy O'Brien, Callum Ball, Mason Bennett, Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick all came through the ranks of the academy which is a remarkable record.

So what is left? We need a twenty goal a season striker. We seem intent on moving Stephen Davies on to Ipswich, Callum Ball has been loaned to Coventry so we are left with Theo Robinson, Nathan Tyson (who never ever scores a goal) and whisper it 16 year old Mason Bennett.

We need a presence up front...a bully who puts himself about and who upsets the hard men. We will not find him cheaply. I get the impression that we broke the bank for Richard Keogh (the new captain signed from Coventry) but decent strikers don't come on loan. We want much much more from Nathan Tyson and I think that Jamie Ward could be better employed other than a winger. He is a clever player.

Nigel Clough has staked a lot on his imports Jacobs from Northampton and Coutts from Preston. Jacobs is expected to give us craft and Coutts strength. We do need an enforcer in midfield. Other than that the closed season excitement has been minimal. Personally I don't feel tempted to buy a season ticket on the strength of the performance of the Board. I expect us to remain competitive in the Championship but unless a few raise their game that will be the extent of our ambition. I so hope that I am wrong.


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