Death or Glory ?
This time next week we will know whether Derby County will be playing their football next season in, the self-styled (with a bit of help from Sky TV), ‘greatest league in the word’ or limbering up for another marathon slog through the Championship.
Rams fans who have attended our last two appearances in the play off final will know this is no ‘good day out’ scenario and appreciate the absolute death or glory nature of the fixture.
That said, there are many reasons for Rams fans to feel optimistic about our chances. Indeed it’s a shame the game wasn’t this weekend, as I honestly believe the momentum and verve with which the Rams so comprehensively thrashed Brighton, would have blown away any opposition at this level. The killer question is can Steve,Simmo and the staff keep that bubbling through thistwo week build up?
Certainly the Rams fans are doing their bit with all 37,000 tickets selling out in record time and everyone in the town talking about nothing else.
So what of the opposition? Well if the game is death or glory for Derby, you can probably times that by ten for QPR. They’ve treated us all to an absolute comedy, car crash two years of everything that is wrong with modern football, throwing horrendous amounts of money at poor players who frankly didn’t give a flying about anything aside from their wage packet and their new London postcode.
Mark Hughes did bad job there but Harry Redknapp, (who weirdly everyone used to love but now seems to hate) has done an even worse one in my view. He had plenty of time and money to keep QPR up and certainly the budget to smash the Championship, yet seems to manage like a kid on football manager signing player after player to try and fix the woes of his struggling team. How he still has a job I don’t know. I doubt he will if we beat them next week – until he rocks up at Southampton and undoes all their good work!
On the pitch though, QPR are definitely dangerous and the fact that this game is such a massive get out of jail card for them merely adds to their threat.
Personally I would have preferred to play Wigan all along because, for all their faults, Rangers do have a squad choc full of quality experienced players. It’s no surprise to anyone, with a modicum of common sense, that players like Krankjer, Benayoun, Ravel, Hoilett etc don’t show up for Donny or Yeovil or Huddersfield, but rest assured they’ll all be there for a big game in a big stadium. In addition most of them have been there before. They also have arch Rams nemesis Charlie Austin leading the line.
The Rams don’t have that big game experience but we do have youth, energy, momentum and a togetherness that QPR don’t have. We also have the forces of good with us and rest assured there are only two sets of fans in English football who don’t want Derby to win this game.
There’s enough been written about the job MacClaren has done and the change in fortune since Clough’s departure, but I do have to say this is without doubt the best Derby side I’ve seen since the Jim Smith, Wanchope, Eranio Premier League glory days.
In a one off game anything can happen, but if we turn up and turn it on I honestly think we have too much for QPR. In particular Wardy and Russell must be rubbing their hand at the thought of going at Onuoha and Clint Hill (Respect to the QPR pen pusher who made such a hash of Benoit Assou Ekotto’s loan).
Whatever happens, this season has been amazing and given me some of my best memories as a Rams fans. Defeat next week isn’t going to kill our club and plenty of losing play off teams have bounced back to go up the following year – West Brom when we beat them for one. But with the team we have and the players we’ll need to replace, this is a massive opportunity to get back to the top table of English football, where we belong.
So for the last time this season all that remains to be said is ………..
Come On You Rams!