Derby County Barometer – December 2017
I would love to be writing this article as part of one of our, epic, Advent Calendar campaigns, doing a post a day for 24 days. But unfortunately, current personal and (mainly) work commitments won’t allow that this year. However, with plenty going on in Ramsworld as always, what better way to pull it all together than to hit you all up with a festive Ramspace barometer.
Matej Vydra – Low on confidence, out of condition and mostly out of position, our record signing has previously lumbered around like a 50-year-old Marco Gabbiadini whilst the Pozzo family laughed their arse off and high fived over another successful rinsing of DCFC. Fast forward to this season, looking super sharp, in his correct position and brimming with confidence, we now have one of the best players in the league on our hands. Gary Rowett take a bow.
Away Form – Derby have been pudding away from home for too long and early season horror shows at Bristol & Sheffield did nothing to buck the trend. However, our new style of play actually seems more suited to roads trips than it does home games with epic wins at Norwich, Leeds and Boro in recent weeks. If we retain this for the season we have a great chance & the Rams long suffering away support are in for a treat.
Super Joe Ledley – Signed more out of necessity than design after the Kieftenbeld fiasco, there is no doubt Joe’s addition to the midfield was a game changer. His 18 month contract is great news and DCFC’s back door, which has flapped open for far too long, has been firmly closed.
RamsTV – This was in the last barometer but it’s worth going again in my view as its such a strong positive to the season. The content is improving all the time (Billy Davies anyone?) and the recruitment of OB shows the club really are not messing around with this. Watching the U23 games live is a favourite for me.
Luke Thomas – The poor output from our Academy has been discussed heavily in recent weeks but in Luke Thomas (signed from Cheltenham for the record) we look to have a genuine find on our hands. Great feet, lightening quick with the ball, direct and aggressive. Best player in the current 23s by a million miles. It was great to see him with the first team and hopefully we will see more of him maybe in the FA Cup.
Contracts – With lots of players out of contract next summer, Derby have a great chance to decimate the wage bill (Benty alone will probably give scope for 4 new players!) and get the squad size down to something sensible. Then you see we have “opened talks” with JR and Fozzy. WTF?
Style v Substance – Why oh why are we still having this debate? Yes, its not champagne supernova football, but where did that get us? We are going down a different route and its working. Personally if we win a game I find that entertaining and the feeling lasts all week. Playing great football but then hiding your eyes every time the opponent puts the ball in our box is not my idea of fun. Get with the program people!
Ipswich & Big Mick – Watching that game last week, I felt like I was in some dark sci fi film where you re-live your nightmares over and over. You can’t say Mick isn’t good at what he does but I must have watched “that game” 6 or 7 times now. At least we are now onto the bit where we murder them at Portman Road!
Left Backs – Fozzy looks absolutely shot, Olsson looks/is absolutely shit, Max Lowe still doesn’t look right to me and a shadow of the Rolls Royce player we saw break through last season. This will surely be a key target for Gaz in the January window.
Season of Transition – The whole concept of playing and/or watching a season of football with no other ambition than to ‘transition’, to me, is absolute abhorrent shite. Thankfully Rowett’s work to date has led most Rams fans to reach for the “Find & Replace” option and overtwrite “transition” with “play offs” or “promotion”. Forest are a great example of where aiming for transition gets you – nowhere. Who knows where it will end up, but at least we are in there batting. Come on you Rams!