London to Paris to Madrid to Derby
A month ago I wrote that I felt Steve McClaren’s position as head coach of Derby County was untenable. Although it took a little longer than we all thought, Steve is now history and we await the formal introduction of Paul Clement on Thursday.
In the last few years, chopping managers became unfashionable with the word “stability” thrown around a lot. However I think what you now see is a new culture where the “stability” required is more outside the football department and the Head Coach/Manager get a shorter contract and are more dispensable than ever.
From a fans point of view, it’s an exciting time when a new manager joins. He inevitably brings new backroom staff and new players, but also brings new ideas and a new style of play. Generally it freshens everything up.I remember when DCFC first signed to Adidas, a 5 year deal with the agreement that we change both kits (which soon became three kits) every year. I was initially shocked by the blatant commercialism but now I love it we change all our kits every year. Maybe we shouldn’t change coach every summer, but you get the comparison.
So onto the old and the new. Firstly let’s close the book on McClaren. His first season with us was outstanding and some of the best football I’ve ever seen from Derby, he also gave us the 5-0. It was a travesty of the highest order and unbelievable bad luck that we didn’t go up that year. However the responsibility for last year’s inexplicable and embarrassing collapse must sit firmly at Steve’s door. Add to that his scandalous flirtation with Newcastle and his equally scandalous post season committal to Derby, when Newcastle didn’t look so rosy anymore, and Mel Morris (note, not Sam Rush) was right to sack him.
With regard to Clement, there’s not a lot to say that hasn’t been said. Great CV, great contacts, top coach, great relationships, unproven as a number 1. Time will tell of course, but what is true is that Rush has once again closed a big deal amongst fierce competition, which he is particularly good at.
In terms on new players this is already looking exciting. Bent appears to be in the bag, as does Pearce from Reading. Tonight’s rumour of Andi Weimann seems a serious upgrade on Wardy and we’ve not even got to who Clement is going to bring to the table – let’s hope he can get one of the all-conquering Chelsea U-21 team for starters. He might also consider Faz Rawson and Max Lowe from our own U-21’s who must surely be in the reckoning this season.
With the quality of the teams coming down this year and the fact Norwich went up, a re-invigorated Derby really do have an outstanding chance again.
Bring it on.
PS – An early season prediction – Nigel Clough will be manager of Forest before the season’s end.