I Still Believe In Alchemy
Derby County under the stewardship of Mel Morris is a football club that has, sadly, become only too familiar to change and general turbulence. However, even by the rollercoaster standards of the last 17 months, this last 6 weeks or so has seen new levels of mayhem at our club – only to inexplicably end up exactly where we started, with Stevie Mac at the helm trying to make like its 2013 all over again.
If you consider what Mel Morris is – local boy done good, genius businessman, multi-millionaire, unconditional supporter of his local team; then what he has done for our club – invested millions of his own money into the training ground, the Stadium itself and broken our transfer record on multiple occasions – you really do have to have served up a Michelin star standard shit sandwich to get yourself to a point where the majority of fans have no faith in you or are at best embarrassed by you. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Mel has done over the last year and a bit.
Whilst everyone has heard their own version of events, we will probably never know the whole truth behind Nigel Pearson’s departure. However, what is now very clear is that what looked like “a bad start” is now going to go down as one of the most calamitous tenures of any manager in Rams history. Pearson’s hell bent drive towards 442, without doing anything in the transfer market to support the plan until the last minute has left us in a real mess.
The team has some serious catch up to play in the league, with Pearson having squandered a series of winnable games playing players out of position. Unfortunately, with “the Derby way” of 433 now fully restored, the team has been left with a £9m striker who has never played on his own in his career, our loan star out for the season, Chris Martin on holiday in London and then Darren Bent and Nick Blackman. Unsurprisingly goals are still proving difficult to come by and with the end of the emergency loan system, that’s not going to get any easier anytime soon.
Once you get past the shock of the lightening return of Stevie Mac, at this point it makes sense. If you are sitting around in a room, considering the fiasco of a Pearson type hardman, saying “we need someone like McClaren”, then why not appoint McClaren? Whatsmore he knows most of our players so there isn’t really any fact-finding required, especially with the retention of Chrissy Powell (“Butterfields the best player Steve, he’s got to play”).
On a positive note, one thing Steve does have going for him this time is a more than solid back line and goalkeeper. The introduction of Alex Pearce (early shout for player of the year anyone?) in place of Shackell and a rejuvenated Bradley Johnson at CDM (why has no one played him there before?) has made the Rams a very tough nut to crack. It’s certainly incomparable to Mr Punch, Shotton, Albentosa and Bucko.
I think all Derby fans appreciate that it’s not 2013 anymore and Steve himself has said the job looks harder this time. That said, the general upturn in mood at the last two home games has been a welcome change from the toxic atmosphere that has paralysed the players too often this season. Mel has also noticeably retreated into the background and pushed Sam Rush back out stage centre.
We probably should accept it isn’t going to be pretty until January. But if you still believe in magic, with our new found solidity, if Steve can get us scoring, there is no reason why the Rams can’t rise again.
Here’s to another new era, let’s hope it lasts a bit longer than the last few.
Come on you Rams!