Paint A Vulgar Picture

In the month of December I wrote a series of articles for this blog as part of the Ramspace advent calendar feature.

Although the topics and people covered were varied, there was a common thread of positivity, underpinned by a clear conviction that the Rams, along with Middleborough, were in the process of storming their way into the Premier league.

This was a very different Rams team and head coach and there was no way we would fall away again, as in previous years.

Six weeks later, Paul Clement is consigned to DCFC history and the Rams are arguably in the biggest state of turmoil we have seen since the horror days of Phil Brown and the 3 Amigos.

Derby’s collapse has been as remarkable as it has been harrowing for us, the long suffering fans. Whatsmore, with a string of PR gaffs that would make Fawaz cringe, the Rams well earned reputation as a well run operation who “do things the right way” lies in tatters alongside our hopes of automatic promotion. The football world loves a harsh sacking and press and pundits have queued up to bore us with “footballs gone mad” rants at the expense of the not so super Rams.

So let’s start with Clement’s sacking. I was as surprised as anyone when the news broke but I didn’t think it was as far away as some. I’d actually said to my dad and on twitter that if we didn’t beat MKD, Clement may have a problem.

rush clement

Sam Rush buzzing after persuading Clement to take his basic wage for two years instead of a lump sum.


There is no question that the sacking was harsh and a definite direct contradiction to various public statements (including your season ticket pack) that Clement was our man. That said, with the Rams still within striking distance of the top two, Paul seemed no closer to bringing the team out of their downward spiral.

Before the Fulham game I thought it was great we had made wholesale changes. Afterwards I thought he’s throwing things at the wall here and has no idea on his best team, system or how to turn the ship around. The football was poor but no one cares if you win. When the points dry up and the footballs still poor, then there’s a problem.

Weirdly I think the Man Utd game was actually the killer blow for Clement. Derby may not have been disgraced but our negative set up and pattern of play gave the Reds an easy night when they were there for the taking.

So the sacking itself I was ok with, confident that someone was waiting in the wings to re-ignite the Rams and get the show back on the road. Then the real problems began.

Appointing Darran Wassall until the end of the season I was sure was a smokescreen and we’ll get to him in a minute. However whatever Mel really meant by his statements, what he achieved was making Derby a laughing stock and causing widespread unrest amongst our fans.

The “Derby way” thing has already been done really well by the Derby County Blog, but to suggest that promotion isn’t a priority after spending £25m on players is at best outrageous and at worst bonkers. You would like to think Mel was trying to defend the decision by pointing out it wasn’t down to league position, but if he was, he could have worded it significantly better. If promotion isn’t our main target, why are we even bothering to compete in the league and why should anyone pay good money to watch a team who aren’t fussed about going up?

Anyway, our new manager will sort all that out. But hang on, it seems we really are going to let Wassall have a proper shot, with every manager link dismissed out of hand and assurances that Darren knows the players, club and culture better than anyone. He’s also the best motivator in the club apparently.

There are two common opinions on Wassall. One is of the figurehead of our Academy, a key player in its development as one of the best in English football. The second is of a sycophantic opportunist, given his job by a mate, whose entire reputation is built on the fact that Jeff, OB and Hughes were just graduating as he arrived. You decide.



With Saturdays pathetic performance against MKD (in front of an astonishing 30,000 crowd) and his crazy post match analysis, what he certainly isn’t is the answer to our problems, an inspiration to anyone or anywhere near suitable to be dealing with such a massive job for more than a few weeks. And make no mistake our club is in an awful situation.


On the pitch almost every single player in our squad who isn’t a defender or keeper is hopelessly out of form. We have £4m of January signings that appear to be substandard & can’t get on the pitch (or even the bench in Camara’s case) and nobody seems to have any idea what our best team, formation or pattern of play should be.

Off the pitch, we have the Clough disciples who lambasted our summer spending lapping up the current misery and poor form of our team, we have even the most ardent Rams fan questioning the sanity of our previously god like owner and we have a lot of season ticket packs that won’t be getting completed and returned anytime soon. Then just when you think things can’t get any lower, we get one of our greatest players in recent history sending a seemingly contrived open letter asking us all to stay calm and get behind the club. Whoever came up with that piece of sub A-level PR can fuck right off.

So how do we fix it?

I tweeted last night that the biggest issue now is Rams fans have no-one to believe in. The players are losing friends by the game, our manager isn’t a manager and our hero, local boy done good Chairman is all over the shop (and our dressing room and the media and YouTube).

What we need is a proper manager. Now. I don’t even mind if it’s initially to the end of the season as long as it’s someone new. Who that should be is an article in its own right but frankly right now I’m not even bothered. I would even have taken Warnock for 3 months, at least he would have cracked some heads and shown some passion.

Ridiculously, we are still very much in the promotion mix. Add 5 points from PNE and MKD to our tally and look at the table. However what we need now is not champagne supernova football, not consistent team selection and not 4 lads from the Academy sat on the bench.

We of course urgently need to win a game of football. But even before that, our great club needs its self-respect back.


Posted on February 14, 2016, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Richard Harcock

    Great lead article and agree with all your comments.I would like to add to the criticism as a long suffering supporter.As a quick one liner to start, a friend recently said,”will we ever see Derby in the premier again”,I wonder!
    Now there are many people to suffer under this debacle but personally I don’t blame Mr Morris who is a great supporter and has put his money where his mouth is.I would like to discuss “Little big sam in all this and hold him in some way to account.He sacked Cloughy and I wish he had ,had the money his successors have had.Little big sam has presided over all this and has presumably been advising Mr Morris on his decisions and responses.
    He could be ruining his career here whilst ruining our lives!He was during Mclarens reign busy telling us we had an international coach and we’ve got another one.(I remember an argument I had at the brummie away game about Clement knowing what he was doing.Our last international coach didn’t know his best team 9 months in.!
    We keep being told we are not infringing the FIFA fair play rules,with our ‘donkey ‘signings.Lets wait and see!
    No academy players in the team with such wonderful facilities and we appoint the director.
    The supporters are wonderful but how much more can we take.The players need a big kick,& the show ponies are going to cost the club a fortune because no one else will want them.
    We need a rough diamond to kick the club into life.Ala jim smith.There are plenty out there.Steve Evans for one!HaHa.

  2. I agree with most of this great post, but would just like to add that I think the Clement sacking was a bizarre, stupid and self-destructive decision. I’ve listened to the ideas about why it was right, from Mel and from certain Derby supporters, and I don’t buy them.

    The alternative to possession football is, apparently, the cretinous, up-and-under shit on Saturday. Let’s call that ‘Wassallball’ and I never want to see it again. That’s outdated, third division crap. We tried to beat Milton Keynes by out-scrapping them, which is about the only way Wassall could have contrived to have lost that match.

    We hadn’t won for seven league games. We’d drawn four and lost three, making it five defeats in total all season, less than anyone but Brighton at that stage. The new signings hadn’t bedded in. It was not good, but for god’s sake, if struggling in a single calendar month – especially when it’s an in-season transfer window – is a sacking offence…

    The problems were mostly due to the fact that we lost Hughes and Bryson on the first day. When I wrote a piece for this site about Johnson, I ketp the tone upbeat, but did signal a major concern, which is that he isn’t as good a footballer as our other midfielders. A midfield three of Thorne, Hughes and Bryson would have had played the ‘old style’ / ‘Derby Way’ / ‘well’, but Clement never got to field it.

    If you want to play incisive football, get your recruitment right. If Clement did particularly target Johnson, then that’s a black mark against him, but from the amount Mel raved on about what a great opportunity it was to sign him, I’m not so sure. Also, nobody mentions the fact that ‘recruitment guru’ Chris Evans resigned in September, having overseen all those summer signings (and Albentosa, Shotton, Warnock…) Why was that?

    Clement made some mistakes, of course he did – but given time to build something, he might have got it right, eventually. We may have ‘only’ ended up in the top six this season under him and maybe we might have missed out in the play-offs, but hey… “it was never about promotion”. Does anybody seriously think we’ll make the top six any more? I don’t give us a cat in hell’s chance under Wassall.

    Ancelotti reportedly sneered that Derby will remain a ‘small club’ after this ‘childish’ decision and you know what, I think he might have been right. Dyche, Karanka and Bruce are absolutely pissing themselves laughing, because we have made their job so much easier for them.

    If Wassall proves us wrong, great – but he shouldn’t be in this position and Saturday was an absolute embarrassment.

    • In fairness, my support for removing Clement was based entirely on my belief that someone was waiting in the wings to pick up the baton.

      I was thinking in terms of lessons learned. Last year we didn’t replace key injured players. This year we did. Last year we did nothing about a manger who had clearly ran out of ideas and threw away certain promotion. This year we addressed it in good time I thought and waited for Pearson, Monk, Rodgers, Rowett or even Warnock to stroll in and see us right.

      If Wassall is really here until the end of the season, then I agree with Olly 100% that removing Clement was nuts and an expensive way to write off our season.

      • First off I’ve been a regular reader since the baseball bat and think you’re comfortably the most accurate, most enjoyable Derby County site on the net.

        But Wassall style flattery aside what really depresses me about this article is it is becoming more relevant week by week. It’s been along time since we’ve been a club this rudderless.

        Derby County are one if those interesting teams that look as comfortable on a league table from 6th in the Premiership to 12th in the Championship largely due to a huge depth of footballing history. We’ve been and done almost everything. From Europe cup semi finals against Jurventus to very near extinction.

        What I’ve learnt over the years is that an enjoyable season doesn’t actually need promotion necessarily. It just needs a direction. A style. A purpose. The George Burley play-off year was belting. Young and exciting footballers gelling with bargain foreign imports that oozed class. The fact we didn’t get promoted was a shame. But I had 9 months of quality football, players I could relate to and most importantly a project I could belive in. Replace foreign with Scottish and the same could be said about 14/15.

        I’ve had a season ticket for 18 years and I’m seriously considering not renewing next year. Not because we’re shit. I can forgive that in certain circumstances as I did during the Clough “balance the books and belive in the academy” era. I might not renew because I have no idea what I’m meant to be buying in to.

        Keep up the tip top work Spaceman and hope for a Monk-Rush promotion push in 2016-17. But this season is scrap metal unless something bloody spectacular happens.

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