The Boys from the Blacklist

One of the constant trends of Nigel Clough’s tenure at Derby has been his penchant for blacklisting members of his squad.

Players who have previously been key or widely accepted as “a good prospect” are, often from nowhere, simply bombed out of the first team picture (or in some cases quite literally sent to Coventry) with maximum prejudice; until time as their contract expires or we can get rid by other means.

Once a player finds himself in this situation, he is dead to Clough. Crofty nearly turned things around at the start of last season but very quickly found himself back in the development squad and subsequently binned off to Oldham.

As an exercise, we recently starting listing out players who have found themselves on the wrong end of such a fate. As you can see below, there’s pretty much a full squad now to choose from!

Blacklist team

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Posted on May 16, 2013, in 30 Days of Ramspace, General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think calling all of these “Blacklisted” is a bit harsh… A few of these just turned out not to be as good as the other players we have…

    Croft – Never impressed (always thought he might have been a decent RB)
    Addison – We don’t know whether he ever really recovered from his injuries
    Bailey – Nigel always said he’d love to keep him as a squad player, but thought Bailey wouldn’t be happy with that
    O’Connor, Naylor, Robinson and Tyson – All brought in for good reasons, but we’re now in a position where each would be 3/4th choice and they’re gonna want more games than we can offer them

    The others for me are debateable whether they’re actually good enough… I rated Cywka but he’s hardly set the world alight since leaving us. Maguire has been pretty poor according to my Pompey and Sheff Weds fans mates. Martin and Leacock have sloped down to the lower leagues.

    The one I will admit that I never understood was Albrechtson… Quality CB and always did a top job for us… Think he just suffered from being one of Jewell’s signings and therefore not someone Nigel had chosen.

    • Thanks for the comments Chris. To be fair, the merits of each player can be debated all day. What can’t be debated is that they all got blacklisted by Clough in the end – which was the point of the piece.

  2. Clearly, in Clough’s judgement, those players weren’t going to cut it at this level. I think the test has to be – have any of the ones who have left pulled up any trees since he decided they weren’t for us?

    Miles will have a chance next season, although I think he’s continued to have injury issues since leaving us.

    • Good point, none of the players Clough has released have gone on to prove him wrong. I don’t know what that means, whether he should be congratulated for getting the best out of the player’s at his disposal, or if he justs signs players who were never good enough in the first place. Personally i think I think the former is the only way any manager can be judged, and he’s doing a good job along those lines.

      Players like Theo are much maligned by some fans until they’re ostracised, at which point they become cult heroes who have been shockingly treated. Clough can’t win with some.

      • I think your last point there James is spot on. Classic case of this is Rob Hulse, widely derided and not rated by most Rams fans whilst he was here – treated like some sort of footballing Demi-god on the various occasions we’ve been linked with re-signing him.

  3. If there’s one thing NIgel has excelled at, it’s been squad management. He’s decisive and he’s seldom let anyone go who has gone on to bigger things, with the exception being Commons, and there’s an argument to be made that Commons wouldn’t have had a Celtic career without Clough lighting a fire under him anyway.
    On the incoming side, he’s been forced to filter through a lot of cheap signings to pick out a few gems, so there are bound to be players who’ve come and gone. A lot of those who have gone have found a berth at a higher level to where Clough plucked them from, which again tells a story. The ginger lad from Il’son doing well for Rotherham last year for instance.

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