Derby County – Our Plan For Progress

Last year Mel Morris spoke about re-writing his plan for Derby County and publishing as much of this as possible to the public domain. To date this plan has never materialised.

When Steve McClaren was first appointed and the Rams were winning regularly, nobody cared about Mel’s plan. However, with the team & the club once again rudderless, the topic of “the plan” has started to be raised again.

Whilst Mel gathers his thoughts, we’ve put together our own plan, which the club can have on us, with our compliments.  Some are big issues, some minor, some serious, some not so much. Let us know your thoughts.

Team Management – Steve McClaren remains one of the best coaches in world football but remains an enigma as a manager and perhaps is now a little past his sell by date in this regard. We propose to promote Steve “upstairs” to oversee all footballing policy from the Academy U-7s to the first team, leverage his extensive contacts and to link the football operation to Sam and Mel. We will replace Steve with a young, hungry manager who will create a team in the image of himself. Examples are Gary Monk, Gary Rowett, David Wagner, Julian Nagelsmann of Hoffenheim etc.


“Birmingham at home, first game? Bring.It.On.”

Style of Play – The new coach will implement a new style of play that will not be mired with a particular formation but will be centred on core philosophies of pace, energy, organisation and technical ability. The team will aim to retain the ball as much as possible but will focus more on being effective with the ball and operating as a single cohesive unit or multiple small units who have set movement patterns for every scneario.

Recruitment – This is a key area of improvement and central to the future success of the team. The club should ultimately look to replicate successful models at clubs like Southampton and Udinese, however we accept that this takes time. Thus in the short term we will replicate the policy of Red Bull Leipzig who do not buy any players over the age of 24. We are willing to take a season of progression across three windows to build a new all action, young, hungry team who’s market value will soar. No player will ever be given a contract for more than 3 years. In season two, this new team will obliterate the Championship and then aim to finish top 10 in the Premier League immediately. Consideration should be given to making Nigel Clough head of recruitment although we would clearly need someone else to cover non UK markets.

Cup Competitions – Any manager who is deemed to have fielded a weakened or under strength team in a cup tie against a team of a similar or a higher level to Derby at the time of the game will be dismissed immediately.

U23 games – All U23 games will be free entry to all fans regardless of season ticket status. In addition, all U23 games, home and away, will be streamed on a new web channel where all fans, again regardless of season ticket status, can watch games online for £2 per game. Season packages will also be available.

Safe Standing – Derby County will accelerate investigation into Safe Standing with immediate effect. This will improve atmosphere and address the very un-safe standing we see at every match. We will be in the vanguard of English clubs pushing for this initiative and will rip the seats out of the South Stand as soon as we are able. We will also investigate “safe pyro” and see if this is feasible although we accept this maybe a long shot.

roses with pyro

Clear proof that Safe Standing and Pyro can work with big crowds.

Matchday Drink – The existing bars which serve Piss for £4 a pint will be dispensed with and replaced by more Cask Shacks serving real ale from the keg and branded canned Lager and Cider for those who prefer that. The price of beer will be reduced as far as possible which, coupled with the increase in quality, will mean more sales and, of course, much more atmosphere in the ground. Refer German football for multiple successful implementations of this policy.

Matchday Food – Rather than make Greggs close on Matchday, we will do a deal with Greggs to install their outlets throughout the ground. Again better cheaper product for the fans will mean more people in the ground earlier, spending more money with the club as opposed to other vendors around the ground. Refer West Brom who have made a mega sized Greggs the centre piece of their fanzone.

Matchday Music – All forms of soft rock, soft metal and bloated 80’s anthems will be banned from the ground with immediate effect. The music policy will focus on House Anthems, Dance Bangers and vibrant young people’s music like Stormzy. Occasional Indie classic are of course allowed but any Pride Park DJ who mentions the words “Dagger”, “Chelsea”, “Ed” or “Sheeran” will be dismissed immediately.

Matchday Program – Reduce the size and quality of the program but make it £1 or £2 tops. Re-introduce the concept of the “centre fold” player poster. Kids will buy them in droves and Dad will read it to justify the spend. Clearly flood it with incentives to get to the ground early and spend loads of money on Beer and Greggs!

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Bolton Wanderers v Derby County - Reebok Stadium

Worst team in history for sure, but tell me this kit isn’t cool as fuck.

Derby County Kit – the club will stop arsing around with second tier brands with immediate effect. We will invite Nike and Adidas to pitch for a 10 year contract to be DCFC kit provider. We will also dispense with the policy of incorporating colours that are “a bit different” (read a bit shit) and our change strips every season will be variants on an all black strip and a yellow one. In the first season these two will purposely copy Dortmund and one will be black with yellow trim with the other being yellow with black trim. Going forward there will be regular variants on the classic Columbia away and the epic Premier league Black Adidas away kit.

Derby County Leisurewear – On the basis of our partnership with Nike or Adidas, teamwear will fly out the shop. However, it has long been acknowledged that Rams leisure wear outside of teamwear is low quality shite that you wouldn’t wash your car in. As such we will invite several known brands of mid range leisurewear with links to football culture to be our partner in this area. Examples would be Peaceful Hooligan, Weekend Offender, Ben Sherman, Fila, Marshall Artist etc. This would be ground breaking and massively mutually beneficial. We will pilot with a few items and then expand as the sales take off.

Main Sponsorship – Acknowledging how distasteful and inappropriate the association with Just Eat has been, the club will introduce a new ethical partners policy. A list will be drawn of specific companies and industries that we do not wish to be associated with. Once the final decision has been made internally on any new main kit sponsor, the club will hold dialogue with key supporters groups to road test the agreement, prior to humiliating its fanbase for three years. As penance for the Just Eat fiasco, we will also advertise a chosen charity on both arms free of charge each season for the next 10 years.

End of Manifesto.

Derby County – Feel free to use as much of this as you wish. You know it makes sense.

Come On You Rams!


Posted on March 9, 2017, in General Rams Comment and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Absolutely bang on! Especially about the music and cup competitions.

    Regarding the style of play, a plan A, B and C worked on relentlessly in the Summer would be great. The biggest hinderance to that is giving Chris Martin a new contract while he’s away.

  2. Richard Harcock Northampton

    Just one small amendment to the plan.Since sam Rush has been here the club has stagnated.Get rid and start again.

    • I think that harsh as he pulled up trees when he first came. However I agree since Mel took over I am not even sure what he does. As for John Vickers…….

  3. Disturbingly good stuff !

  4. Well! What do you have to say for yourself? No sooner do you write this and bang goes the mac!

    Seriously though, what’s happening? I love reading your blog. I agree with a lot of what you say. I’m looking forward to your opinion. Where do we go from here?

    Personally I had no issue with the americans and cloughie plodding along. Seems a long distant memory! I had no problem with schteeve first time round and had no problem with clement playing the way he did.

    What is “the derby way”? For me Mel is getting a bit to fawaz! Appart from he doesn’t have the cash. It all seems very desperate.

    I’ll support Derby whatever the situation, no matter what but right now it all seems a bit mad!

    • Cheers Sam. Less than a week from the piece and two suggestions have been done and football league have given amber light to rail seating for safe standing! Keep ticking them off as the summer progresses.

  5. Bouncing Cheque

    I agree about Sam Rush (Richard’s point). He took a gamble getting rid of Clough which almost vindicated itself but ever since then the club has gone backwards in a number of areas as identified by the OP: recruitment, team spirit, Academy graduates into first team.

    The club seems to have gone from one extreme to another: GSE’s slow build due to an absence of finances (one ‘marquee’ signing a season) now buying players with little plan of how to integrate them into the team: signings made as statements of intent to the rest of the division rather than to improve the team. It is ironic how Clough was lambasted for signing Sammon (£1m+) at the time & the likes of Vydra (£7m) now sit on the bench.

    I think the main problem is that the owner has no-one, or rather will not tolerate anyone, to tell him the truth. Rush occupies a much lower profile & McClaren was his appointment first time round. There’s a lack of distance (Reading intervention, drones). I mean, who sanctioned the £10m spent on Butterfield & Johnson? Even the presenters on BBC Derby were taken aback about the Johnson signing, coming out of the blue. MM has to start backing his managers instead of a set of players who have failed now for a number of seasons.

    We’re now in a similar position when we went down from the PL. A squad that looks disunited, expensive deadwood on big contracts on whom we’re likely to make a loss, fortunately or fortunately, Mr Morris is the one who will have to take the hit.

    Rather than simply be negative, after the OP offered his take on solutions, I think Rowett needs to find a couple of characters/leaders to shake the dressing-room up in the first instance. My only concern is that Rowett is similar to Pearson (formation, type of football). I was very pleased when Pearson arrived but he tried to change things too quickly in the face of a resistant squad.

    Personally, I did like the look of Jokanovic who has done a fantastic job at Fulham, how he has transformed a shambles into a stylish team. Glad Rowett is here though if the rumours are true & maybe he can benefit from a few games to get a feel for things in preparation for next season. He’s shown he can turn players round in how he got Shotton to play well for him at Birmingham. He was admired in the lower leagues for his tactical acumen & he has done a number on us a couple of times.

    Mel Morris needs to show patience though, something he has patently failed to do. The sides who tend to get promoted have had managers in place for at least a season (continuity) or go again after a near miss (play-offs). At the moment, we don’t even have continuity on the pitch in terms of formation (4-4-2/4-3-3/4-2-3-1).

  6. Bouncing Cheque

    A squad that looks disunited, expensive deadwood on big contracts on whom we’re likely to make a loss, fortunately or UNfortunately, Mr Morris is the one who will have to take the hit.

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