When I first began this blog I wanted it to be about family, friends and interests. In the intervening years the characteristic of the country and the political scene has changed to such an extent that I have become a political animal. I now believe that the blogosphere has become such an important instrument on behalf of the electorate that I have no choice but to continue down this path.
I do however still support my football club Derby County with a passion. I have been very critical of manager and board mainly because, with such a large fan base, their parsimonious approach to football contrasted significantly with that of so many of their neighbours.
Thirty miles south of Derby near neighbours Leicester City spent money like water and still failed to gain promotion. Arch enemy Nottingham Forest have always been able to spend to compete but the Rams have relied on potential stars from the lower leagues, cut price transfers from Ireland and Scotland and the academy.
I doubt very much if any other club in the country has introduced more graduates from the academy to the first team. The academy team in the past two years has only been defeated in the FA Youth Cup by the multi-national academies Chelsea and Manchester United. During that time they have dismissed Arsenal and Manchester City!
Mistakes have been made. Chances have been taken and have failed but the ethos has been correct. Build from the bottom, get the right type of character, if it fails then the cost has been cheap. Do not buy expensive foreigners! Derby, at the moment, has one young chap from the Albanian Under 21 team on the books. He paid his own way for his trial.
If they challenge for promotion this year and they finished 10th in the Championship last year, then Nigel Clough and the Board will be rightly regarded as turning the tide of British football. I never, ever thought that Nigel could emulate his Dad and he won't but he might just do something differently.
Derby County is being run correctly and yes I know, that I have in the past criticized this approach. They seem to buy one expensive signing per year but then they also sell someone. This year Johnny Russell arrived from Dundee United and it would appear that John Brayford will be the player sacrificed. he must be mad if he signs for Wigan ahead of Derby but Nigel Clough and Derby know that they already have a replacement (Freeman).
I just hope that we can hang onto Will Hughes (who at 17 played for the England under 21 team) because he is sensational and linking with Hendrick (now a full Eire international and both academic products) and Craig Bryson (cheap from Kilmarnock) will provide a very strong midfield.
Finally the strike force which so often let the Rams down last year has been improved by the addition of Johnny Russell from Dundee United. He is the big money signing this year! I have seen limited clips of this guy and he seems fast and prolific. If the Rams are to succeed this year then Russell will be the key but he has to step up a gear.
So to sum up. Derby County under Nigel Clough will hopefully step forward this year. They have the ammunition to gain automatic promotion even though the Championship league is so competitive. Players playing for Derby this year are motivated by ambition and not money. Their time will come.