Summer Spending Should Be Met With Euphoria and Heavy Drinking

Following the signing of Jason Shackell, I wrote a reasoned piece (Shacks to Riches) arguing the positives of DCFC’s new found financial muscle. This was  following direct criticism from Shaun Dyche and general scepticism amongst some Rams fans who were not comfortable with our spending.

Following Derby’s spectacular activity on transfer deadline day and Mel Morris subsequent outright purchase of the club, I’m reading another round of articles “urging caution”, asking what’s happened to our recruitment team (I’ll tell you in a minute), questioning the Butterfield fee and warning Mel Morris that soon everyone might hate him.

What the actual Fuck?

Without making the exact same comparisons as my previous piece, Derby County are the biggest club outside the Premier league (only Leeds and Sheff Wed could argue otherwise) and have just wasted the best part of 10 years drifting along, trying to find a magic formula for promotion whilst simultaneously searching for a utensil to urinate in. Not surprisingly that didn’t quite work out.

 All the lads are cheering...etc etc

All the lads are cheering…etc etc etc

During that time Rams fans have had to look on in anguish as we were passed by various small time clubs who got a sugar daddy and subsequently went up. It’s true that many have since come back again, but that’s because they were fundamentally small clubs who couldn’t compete when everyone had money and subsequently imploded with desperate bad decisions. See QPR, Hull, Cardiff etc. If/when DCFC reach the premier league our facilities and size mean we will always be sustainable and compete.

In terms of the work in this window, it is true to say there is no balance to the signings in terms of first team marquee, squad man, one for the future etc. Every single player has been signed to contribute to the first team. However if, at this stage, our target is “we need to get promoted in the next 2 seasons” then the recruitment is in line with that target.

With regard to Chris Evans, I actually do share the view that the jury is out on him. That said, his job is to present lists of players for certain positions with certain attributes within a certain budget. When Will Hughes got injured, how many Rams fans would have honestly turned around and said “we should sign Jacob Butterfield to replace him”? Likewise if Paul Clement says we need a midfielder and within budget you can get Jamie Ward on a free, Joey Barton and his baggage, an unknown from the Dutch lower leagues or the best midfielder from last year’s Championship for £6m, who are you going to sign? Yes, we could have shopped around and tried to find an unknown centre half younger, faster and more technical than Shacks but what’s the point when you have the budget for the real thing.

"Yes, we considered the Norwegian loan market long and hard but then decided it was a shit idea"

“Yes, we considered the Norwegian loan market long and hard but then decided it was a shit idea”

Derby have money, people know we have money and thus they are going to try and do the best they can for their club with the opportunity DCFC are presenting them. This clearly has risks and won’t always work, but how many Leicester fans do you think lose sleep over signing Matt Mills for £5m now? Do you think Man City fans gave a shit about Mark Hughes pissing away £70m on Robinho, Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz when they won the league?

When the news of Bradley Johnson’s signing came through, I literally got a tear in my eye from pure joy and disbelief that for once, it was Derby, my team, smashing the transfers rather than the parade of pretenders who usually fill our screens on deadline day.

DCFC have had enough dark days over recent history. This is not a time to start wetting the bed over what might happen but to embrace the moment and soak it all up.

So, round up your mates, get tickets for as many games as you can, get on the piss, get behind the lads and let the good times roll!

Come on you Super Rams!


Posted on September 5, 2015, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Bouncing Cheque

    I normally rate your articles, but feel your head has gone a bit with the sudden injection of cash, new owner and recent success. Sadly, it reminds me of the awful Forest fans post-Nigel Doughty. They feared for the future of their club, owing £75m. Whatever his flaws, Doughty’s love for Forest was never in doubt and that £75m was waived. Forest got new owners who immediately splashed the cash and once anxious fans became arrogant again.

    A bit of humility and patience would not go amiss. Derby & Forest have more in common than they realise. We laugh at their mishaps (various recent play-off failures) and we have duly obliged in turn. We now laugh at al-Hasawi’s financial incompetence (Forest around £45m in debt). What makes you so confident that we won’t do the same? Let’s hope not, anyway.

    Firstly, why are Derby singularly apart from other clubs with this statement:

    “If/when DCFC reach the premier league our facilities and size mean we will always be sustainable and compete.”

    We clearly failed to do that during our last ignominious spell in the PL which also managed to put the club back three seasons: the signing of Savage and the deferment of his wages over two seasons, for instance.

    Second, you mention Leicester and Matt Mills. Leicester under Pearson ripped up the big spending/big wages model, to pursue instead a mix of astute purchases (still costing money) but judicious buys, especially young, ambitious midfielders from elite PL teams. The team was built over a period of a couple of years and near misses.

    I think Chris Evans, and by implication, Sam Rush, have not presided over good buys, & Evans’ success palls in comparison along the maligned Nigel Clough. The squad at the moment has a bloated look when we probably had the right balance under McClaren, the core of Clough’s team but with that bit of quality that was missing in key areas.

    I think it is an exciting period for the club and Mel Morris the figure Rams fans have been dreaming of, but we must give him a chance and not turn on him as has happened with the late Lionel Pickering. I was guilty of that, as were many.

    I also feel that whilst it’s exciting to spend big and on players for the here and now, good teams don’t just emerge, they are cultivated and take time to build. I think Paul Clement was very unfortunate to lose his best creative midfielder, and though I’ve been critical of him, this injury marred the balance of the team and it’s been difficult for the new manager to put out his preferred line-up, with so many injuries.

    But I would like to see more of a strategy at Derby than a promotion or bust. The PL is not going to run away. At this moment of time, I think the likes of Brighton are approaching it in a more sensible manner.

    • Thanks for the detailed and well thought out response to the piece. However, whilst pretty much every one of your points is absolutely valid, I think you missed the point of the post.

      Far from having a headloss, the piece was intended as a deliberate, OTT, outburst of joy and enthusiasm against what I saw as a succession of at best negative and at worst tedious posts highlighting the negative to everything that happened in those few days.

      Welcome Christiano, but is this really a good thing for Derby County etc etc.

      We have spent so long in the dark, why not be excited by a few weeks in the Sunshine?

      I couldn’t agree more on your comments about Nigel Cloughs signings. He hardly put a foot wrong in the transfer market – imagine him as head of recruitment with this budget ( he still watches our U21s now). It was just a shame his tactical nous and game management wasn’t to the same standard.

      With regard to our friends up the road, the one thing I can’t agree on is even a suggestion of comparison between Fawaz and Mel. That’s just daft. With regard to humility, A) again let’s enjoy this moment of supremacy over our rivals but B) I have tweeted various things lamenting the injury to Britt Assombalonga and have significantly more “humility” than most Derby and Forest fans you will come across online, so I’m not having that one at all.

      Whether this works out or not, only time will tell and the pressure is certainly now on Clement to produce results for sure. If it doesn’t, there’s always Sam Allardyce.

  2. Bouncing Cheque

    Thanks for the response. I just come from a different perspective & are different characters as people (before you think me ‘negative’, I also like the ‘sunny’ nature of St Etienne’s pop and remember all their singles when they came out). It’s just as tedious to see Derby fans on some sites already crowing about our name being inscribed on the Championship trophy without a ball even being kicked (ja606). Talk about setting ourselves up.

    It isn’t necessarily about being a kill-joy. Support a club long enough and it either repeats the same mistakes or good practice. My frustration is that we never have a balance at Derby, or we change strategy. We’ve moved from the slow-build to a promotion or bust because of the new Sky deal in the offing. It is either budget constraints or excessive spending, why not a balance between sensible investment at the right moment adding to the core of a very good team? (Under Pickering, this did not happen & then we had all the panic buys. Clough never received £10m in one lump sum nor did McClaren).

    As for Mel & al-Hasawi, I didn’t make a direct comparison between the two but the situation regarding benefactors of clubs. How do you know we won’t make the same mistakes? We have ridiculed Forest under al-Hasawi, but have lavished money on big money purchases in a way that if al-Hasawi did, we would take the moral high-ground. We can’t do that anymore.

    We have been down this road before with Lionel Pickering who had the very best intentions, and even uttered similar sentiments about Moor Farm producing home grown talents way back when it opened. I doubt Mel appreciates me spending his money for him, but I assume he has more wealth – according to the press. Perhaps he can absorb any losses that left Mr Pickering practically bankrupt.

    Nothing wrong with being optimistic but temper it with a bit of realism, too. As for being in the dark so long, I enjoyed Clough being our manager. It was painful at times watching his team, but progress was being made and tangible progress with the Academy. I took pride in the fact we were building a young team, shrewd purchases, & the character & dynamic changed for the better after having to see Savage & Pearson run round like headless chickens. I feel that this has been eroded with characters like Bryson & Buxton more on the periphery (injuries).

    I found your comment about Clough still attending U21 games fascinating if true – and a little sad. Perhaps his biggest failing was not to surround himself with an assistant manager of real quality. This is a whole other argument (Clough/Taylor, Smith/McClaren, how partnerships can work for the benefit of a team).

    As for the current situation, I have criticised Paul ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ Clement and feel guilty for it. You’re right, only time will tell but it will be an interesting journey nonetheless.

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