Derby County Barometer – March 2014

Friends, it’s been a while. February was a fantastic month for DCFC but a quiet one for Ramspace.

There’s enough folks doing pre and post match game stuff now, so here we go back with a bang and the old Skool classic that is the Ramspace barometer.

The Promotion Run In – With 12 games to go, make no mistake, the Rams are involved in a full on promotion tilt. For the last 3 or 4 years our season has been all but over by now which makes the current position all the more exciting. Strap yourselves in, regardless of Millwall, this ones going to the wire.

Jake Buxton – When Nigel Clough joined Sheffield United, I think we would all have expected Jake to be the first Rams player to join him. His commitment has never been in doubt but he always struggled against the really top strikers. No doubt Steve has had a hand, but Jake has somehow come out of the Ipswich fiasco, seen off not one but two players who were signed to replace him and become the first name on the DCFC teamsheet. Player of the year anyone?

Sheffield Wednesday Away  – To me this was what watching football & loving DCFC is all about. Fantastic ground, a tight away game and with 12 minutes to play Bamford scores the goal of the season to send the packed noisy away end into delirium. The Spice of life is right here in this fan video.

Patrick Bamford – Talking of Pat. By the time Fawaz was celebrating the signing of the very expensive, out of condition and fundamentally shit Eric Djemba Ali Ba Ba Djemba. Patrick had already scored several key (and fantastic) points winning goals for the Rams. Signed almost on the quiet by Steve on day one of the window, Bamford is just pure quality. These two signings tell you everything you need to know about the way Derby and Forest operate today.

The Recruitment Department – Clearly this could go pear shaped, but hands up who’s not excited by the prospect of a new wave of Wanchope, Poom, Baiano type signings coming from Argentina and Holland? More next level stuff from our new structure.

Zak Whitbread – Whilst I guess I’ve referenced this to a degree in the Bucko piece above, can anyone explain to me the point of Zak Whitbread’s presence at Derby? Even when he was injured we didn’t send him back and when Keogh was injured we signed Keane. I can only think Rush did an uncharacteristically bad deal in the rush to sign a defender as Clough left. Weird.

Three into Two Doesn’t Go – – Whilst there is no doubt that on paper, Hughes, Bryson and Jeff are our top three midfielders, how many more times does it need to be proven that they can’t all play effectively together? All are limited in a wide role, Jeff can’t hold and Hughes doing anything other than picking locks on the edge of the box is a massive waste of his talent. As the Beach Boys once said, “don’t fuck with the formula”.

Hey look if I puff my tummy out I look like Andy Ried.

Hey look if I puff my tummy out I look like Andy Ried.

Leicester City – Storming into the Premier league and again dishing out a 5 star gubbing to Derby at the King Power. I tipped them to struggle this year but there’s no doubt they’ve been the best and most consistent team in the league this season. Bastards.      

Martin Taylor – Whilst the management team have improved many of our players, one that’s rarely mentioned is the mercurial form of Lee Grant. Whilst he was already good, his all new dominating and confident stature have taken him to a new level. Compare that with Martin Taylor taking Frank Fielding from the edge of the England squad to League 1 reserves and turning Adam Legzdins into a quivering wreck and our gain in the goalkeeping department is clear.    

Nottingham Forest – Fawaz’s celebration of his fantastic window sounded hollow at the time  and proved to be so. The signing of Hobbs in particular was lauded like Ronaldo despite the fact Fawaz had clearly been played and rinsed by Hull. Yes the injury situation is horrific, but the debts are building as fast as the promotion charge is faltering. The managers banned, no one wants to join them and the latest rumour is dressing room unrest at the salary being commanded by Djemba Djemba (sic) who the rest of the red dog players think isn’t that great. Its not good to be over confident but, whisper it quietly, we’ve got a real chance to properly put these wankers to the sword this month. Let’s hope we do.

Posted on March 8, 2014, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The Recruitment Department – Clearly this could go pear shaped, but hands up who’s not excited by the prospect of a new wave of Wanchope, Poom, Baiano type signings coming from Argentina and Holland? More next level stuff from our new structure.
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    I think you’re jumping the gun on a number of points. For a start, signing players from around the world is all very laudable but still costs money. I see that we brought in Lee Naylor. Now if Clough had done this sort of signing, there would be groans.

    I think there’s a lot of hypocrisy under the ‘new’ set up at Derby. We have a manager, or head coach, who has employed his son yet that has gone without comment in contrast to Simon Clough; we’ve got a Head of Football who worked with Gary Megson, hardly known for his total football and who helped bring in Johann Elmander for millions, a signing that helped lead Bolton into debt – and this is the guy now scouring the world (at our expense) searching for talent; and apparently we’re now not fishing in a SPL pond but a huge ocean – and employed a scout from Millwall, who, when asked about the lack of Asian footballers on TalkSport, said they weren’t interested until I pointed out in an email to Millwall that there is a amateur league in London with Asian teams and which had links to other professional London clubs. He couldn’t even look for talent on his own doorstep. Now I find this scout is at Derby.

    As for Derby’s rapid improvement under McClaren, the side is beginning to falter. Why? Because we don’t have a big squad and tiredness will kick in as it did in the past two seasons under Clough. Bryson & Hughes have both picked up knocks recently. A high tempo game takes its toll when you don’t have options.

    Finally, some of the loans have been very good (Wisdom & Bamford) and a number of Clough signings simply weren’t up to the grade but then what do you expect when you aren’t given substantial resources. One of the most disappointing things about the new set-up is how so few of our own home grown players are getting involved, with the next Hughes or Hendrick being put on the subs bench to get experience in the first team set up. Instead we are giving experience to players who are likely to leave at the end of the season/

    I think our Academy is going backwards.

    • Cheers Bob. Some interesting and strong views there for sure. My point was just that the recruitment piece was looking interesting.

      I did also say it had the potential to go pear. I actually agree with you that the pedigree of some of the new guys in recruitment is questionable, especially the boss. However my point was that it was a new angle which could be a jump on our competition and could throw up some new cult heroes.

      With regard to the Academy, I don’t agree at all. Our team has got better and thus the youngsters need to be better too. Hughes is a one in a million and Hendrick is a full international. I firmly believe both Mason and Max Lowe will be Rams first teamers and Lowe could easily end up right at the very top of football.

      Both Middlesborough and Twente had and have excellent youth structures so don’t expect ours to go to pot on Steve’s watch.

  2. Some interesting points from Cap’n Bob.

    As Clough senior told his son, ‘three points shuts everyone up’. Nobody questions a manager’s methods after a series of wins. CB is absolutely right that had Clough signed Naylor – the nearest he’s come to a George Boateng signing at Derby, thankfully – the antis would have been up in arms (actually, I don’t think NC would have signed him in a million years.)

    Also, there was a very interesting comment in McClaren’s recent BBC profile piece with Natalie Jackson, which nobody seems to have picked up on. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26399905. At 4 mins or so in, answering a question about his affinity with Derby, he says:

    “Always in the back of my mind… Derby was there… When you’re not so ambitious, when you just want to go out and enjoy your work, maybe Derby County would be a great club to come back to.”

    Jackson’s bumbling interview technique perhaps sometimes disarms people and I don’t think Steve would allow himself to be recorded saying that again – they certainly wouldn’t put it on Rams Player, put it that way.

    Re recruitment, difficult to say the academy is going backwards. If you look at our squad for next season, Hendrick, O’Brien, Bennett and (hopefully) Hughes will all be part of it. Whether the likes of Lelan, Lowe and Hanson eventually break through remains to be seen, but it’s nice to have a fair few of our youngsters representing England.

    I would say that the policy of bringing in very good loans is sound – if we solely relied on our own youngsters for cover and results suffered, people would soon be howling for reinforcements. Wisdom was a huge upgrade on Kieron Freeman and has been a big part of our success this season, while Bamford was more ready to make an impression in the Championship than Bennett. So Mason goes off to Chesterfield for a bit to get games, which is no bad thing.

    When I look at our provisional squad for next season, I feel pretty good about it and quite excited at the thought of adding three or four permanent first-teamers to what we’ve got – plus one or two good loan acquisitions if the opportunities arise, or we have injuries. That’s when we’ll find out whether the new recruitment staff are up to the task or not.

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