The Curious Case of Saul Deeney

Football is such now that the concept of the long serving player is petty much defunct. The Bosman rule and increasingly tighter budgets in all levels of football means that players will either move on for a better deal or get moved off the payroll long before many of them could even spell the word testimonial.

Derby County are no different and thus there is not one single player (academy graduates excluded) who has been here longer than our manager. However when you look at our long servers, you might be surprised to find Saul Deeney pretty much at the top of the list and about to start his 5th (fifth!!) season at Pride Park.

What makes this stat even more bizarre is that despite being in the first team squad for the majority of this 5 years (allowing for his lengthy shoulder injury) he’s only made 3 appearances – one of which was a 27 minute cameo at Reading before being promptly sent off!

Despite strong evidence, Saul's claims of bullying at Burton were never proven.

Despite strong evidence, Saul’s claims of bullying at Burton were never proven.

How old do you think Deeney is? 26? 27? He’s actually 30 and has been a professional footballer for 13 years. Most keepers with that ratio would have a minimum of 250 appearances but probably more like 350 plus. Saul’s got 125 (including 2 for Eire U-21’s) which equals 9 ½ games a season.

Clough’s concept of using Saul as backup on the understanding that any lengthy requirement for a reserve keeper wouldn’t be Saul’s concern is an innovative one. When you think about it why would you burn wages on a player unlikely to play 99% of the season? However to makes this work you need a reasonably senior keeper prepared to comply with the plan (youngsters are better off playing games for the U-18’s) – thus nobody else does it.

I’ve seen Saul play several times and he is nowhere near Championship standard. Indeed if he left DCFC I doubt very much he would even make a conference team. However it seems Saul knows that too, which is where I have to give him credit.

Regardless of his wage – given the option of being a professional footballer, training every day at a facility like Moor Farm, being part of a Championship first team squad versus playing part time( at best) and having to find a “proper job” to support yourself, what’s not to like? I certainly wouldn’t be walking away in a hurry.

Saul Deeney is quite literally living the Dream and I’m not going to knock him for that. What price a testimonial in 2020?


Posted on June 1, 2013, in 30 Days of Ramspace, General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. his performance in the U21s against Leeds this season was by far the worst (and most embarrassing) performance by a goalkeeper i have ever seen. a no armed blind man with one leg could have done better (no exaggeration!). clearly a poor goalkeeper that as a person must have so little belief in his own ability he thinks a safe pay day at derby is more up his street than vying for a starting birth at a conference team. talk about lack of ambition! him and cloughie must be very very very very very very good pals.

    • Funny you should say about Deeney’s U21 performances. Steve Nicholson is the most diplomatic of reporters but he frequently drops hints that Deeney is at fault for the U21s. Things like “could have done better”, “would be disappointed”, “appeared to misjudge” etc. (not exacts quotes by the way)

  2. Cracking article. I just wonder how much Ross Atkins would be on? Surely a better keeper too?

    • Without checking the facts, I’m quite confident that Atkins has played far more league games – he did a full season in League 2 whilst Deeney has just done a couple with us.

  3. It makes sense to be getting Atkins games and first team experience rather than kicking his heels around after Legzdinz and Fielding. I assume both of these will be off this summer, so who will be back up for Grant? It surely can’t be Deeney.

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