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!
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?