Turn The Page
With the appointment of Nigel Pearson meeting with widespread approval, it’s been a generally positive week for Derby County.
However after watching Hull squat away Sheffield Wednesday with relative ease to take their place back in the Premier League, there’s more than a slight feeling that, before we all get excited about a(nother) new era, that the only team who beat Derby this season was themselves.
Our record this season against Hull is gutting. Played 4 Won 3 Lost 1 For 8 Against 3, including 3 clean sheets and yet somehow they are in the Premier League and we are not.
Darren Wassall has been the target of much criticism by me both on here and twitter. I don’t like the guy and think his record at the Academy isn’t anything like as good as everyone thinks it is. However, whilst he was the obvious target of everyone’s frustration (and let’s not forget he didn’t help himself here with some of the most cringe worthy post match interviews since the Clough days), he was absolutely hung out as a punch bag by Mel Morris who ultimately has to take responsibility for putting such an inexperienced manager in charge at such a key point and this seasons fuck up in general.
I’m really not having any of these shagging the tea lady’s cousin stories, so how an understanding of Clement’s core football philosophy can change or be so misunderstood in the space of 5 months is beyond me. We’ve done the appointment of Wassall as opposed to an experienced manager before but I now think this can only be down to FFP. DCFC’s financial year end is in the summer and I can only think that they just didn’t have any wriggle room to do anything with anyone decent on anything like a long term basis. If that was the case, we should have stuck with Clement.
One of the key reasons for removing Clement was given that he was too focused on the “short term”. So the appointment of a manager who knows how to win looks like another change of thinking. I worked in Leicester for many years and have loads of Leicester fan mates. They pretty much all love Pearson and credit him with providing a lot of the bricks for their title success. One tweeted me the other day and said “you’ll have loads of horrible 1-0 wins but he’ll get you up”. Amen to that!
Pearson’s to do list is significant but surely the number 1 priority is trimming our bloated squad. Assuming he’ll want a few of his own players, it might be less of a trim and more of a number 1 buzz cut! Don’t be surprised to see a few ex Leicester players land either (I predict at least De Laat, Nugent and maybe James or King). Who he fancies or doesn’t from our current squad will be really interesting to see.
I saw a newspaper story last week linking Ince to Boro and Norwich. I would love to know if that was planted by Tom’s camp or by DCFC (who appear to have got very good at “providing copy” for newspapers). Either way I think many Derby fans now associate him with the theory that we “have the skill but not the application” and Weimann’s dynamite performance at Hull has planted that seed firmly with everyone for the duration of the summer. His days look numbered to me.
Bradley Johnson is the other current scapegoat, but I think Pearson will retain him and simply use him better. Certainly if he gets the form back from his first 2 months with us everyone will forget about his fee pretty quickly. Pearson might even get Blackman contributing but to be fair I’m not sure even Harry Potter could do that.
At this time of year, the Championship always looks daunting and, with Newcastle and Norwich involved, it certainly looks tougher than last season (just read Derby are double the odds to win the league that they were last season, mainly due to the relegated teams).
Derby fans have been through so much trauma since Zamora’s goal, it’s really high time it was us who were celebrating at the end of the season as opposed to another miserable post mortem and subsequent false dawn. All we can hope is that the Rams hierarchy have learned from their many mistakes last season and this time we can get over that final hurdle when we hit February. The appointment of Pearson and Powell is a good start.
Have a good summer,