|RamsWeek 24 - Back in the High Life|
Sun 15th Jun 2008 22:59 by Paul Mortimer
The summer sun ushered in the new week with Derby County hoping it would shine brightly on their transfer ambitions.
Strikers were in the frame again as the tall young Newcastle centre forward; Andy Carroll was in the Rams’ sights as well as the seasoned West Brom hit man, Kevin Phillips.
Carroll is only 19 but has made an impact since coming through the Toon’s youth teams and on to England Under-19s. He scored, too, but was also dispatched home from the England camp with two other miscreants for breaking a curfew!
Phillips needs no introduction and is an experienced, prolific goal scorer. He would like to return to the Prem with Albion but wants a two-year contract; Derby admit an interest and if they could secure the services of Phillips and add a tall target man, we should be in business for some goals next season.
Paul Jewell, returning from his holiday of sorts, said that he’d had no contact with Phillips. In a Radio Derby interview on Monday he said he was pleased with the signings because of their attitude and commitment even if they were not names to lift supporters off their seats.
Jewell hinted that there may yet be some more recognisable names to come in and confirmed that he was still looking for another midfielder, another wide player, a centre forward and a centre half.
Ill-informed stirrers in Sheffield attempted to whip up a Rams-Blades transfer row in their local media about striker Rob Hulse. Sheffield United optimistically hope for a £1.75m fee for the player even though he’s in the last year of his contract.
Some characters claimed that Derby had made no official approach for Hulse and were attempting to unsettle the player. Rams boss Paul Jewell quashed that idiocy by stating that he had spoken to Blades manager Kevin Blackwell and Chairman Terry Robinson but could not come to any agreement.
The deal to bring Swansea’s Ferrie Bodde wasn’t necessarily completely dead, Jewell confirmed. Having had a second bid rejected which was thought to be less than £1m, they went back with a 3rd bid – which will apparently match the £2m valuation that Swansea are sticking out for.
Bodde had conveniently scuppered his posturing Chairman Huw Jenkins by declaring that he wanted to join Derby County so it was rather a matter of time and Derby’s bid being improved.
The Swansea manager Roberto Martinez then fudged the situation by adding a convoluted waffle about Bodde not understanding the significance of putting in a transfer request and declared that the player didn’t really want to leave. Bodde however had further comments attributed to him late last week:
"I don't want to talk much about this as I have already stated my wish to join Derby County. That remains my ambition and hopefully the two clubs will come to an agreement very soon. I would just like to say again that I have loved my time at Swansea but now is the time for me to move on."
Having now bid what Swansea demanded, Derby will want a halt to the circus; Jenkins said that they are ‘in no rush’, but Derby want the player and he wants to come - so get on with it! If Swansea want to open a bidding war it could get messy. Swansea have what they wanted so I hope the deal can now be completed.
Another striker, the want-away Kenny Miller, went through the exit door as his long awaited £2m transfer to Glasgow Rangers was completed last Friday. So it’s back in the high life again for Miller at the top of Scottish football, where the Scottish FA Cup currently resides and the Champions League beckons.
It will be a vast change from the torpor of his short sortie at Derby, which was only four months old when Kenny was busy choosing his next club once the January transfer window arrived. It all turned out to be a dismal episode for Kenny and everyone else, except for the opposing players and fans.
Time will tell if he has the ability to light up Ibrox Park and assist Rangers to greater successes and increase his champagne consumption! He certainly isn’t getting a champagne reception from some Glasgow Rangers fans, who are distinctly underwhelmed by the signing.
Derby are keen to add further strike force reinforcements and promoted Stockport County’s top goalscorer and club Player of the Year Liam Dickinson was next on Jewell’s hit-list. Liam scored 21 goals for Stockport in 2007-08, helping them to promotion. Derby put in a bid of £250,000 for the player, which was rejected.
Plymouth Argyle want Rams’ forward Gary Teale but don’t want to pay the £500,000 asking price unless it is Teale is quibbling over his terms. Teale hasn’t figured for Derby since the pathetic 1-4 FA Cup debacle against Preston North End and made 12 loan appearances for the Pilgrims.
Such is Teale’s irrelevance to Derby County’s cause that perhaps he is a player for which they’d consider dropping the figure demanded? I’d say that a £300k fee would be sufficient recompense for offloading such a poor player and his considerable wage burden.
Centre-half Darren Moore may be on his way to Bradford City. He has had talks with manager Stuart McCall though Bradford worry about affording him. They may also face competition for Darren’s services from Division One Leicester City and others.
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Derby County agreed an undisclosed fee for midfielder David Jones to move to Molineux but the player couldn’t agree terms with the Black Country club. Media reports suggest Wolves may be prepared to improve the terms.
Meanwhile, Phil Brown at promoted Hull City hopes to land Rams’ forward Craig Fagan shortly for a fee of £750,000. Fagan spent the last half of 2007-08 on loan to Hull and in my opinion Derby should take the money! With the departures of Earnshaw, Miller and Fagan, Derby will have banked over £5m from outgoing players so far and the club says that there is plenty more transfer activity to come.
The Championship fixtures for 2008-09 are due out imminently and the League Cup draw has already been made; Derby face Lincoln City in the first round at Pride Park Stadium in the week commencing August 11th.
The Imps dumped George Burley’s Derby side out of the LC 3-1 at Sincil Bank four seasons ago in one of Derby’s typically pathetic showings in this competition. A planned pre-season friendly between the Rams and Imps has now been called off.
In RamsWeek 24 last year, Trevor Birch (who?) was appointed as Derby County Chief Executive. With a background at Everton, Leeds and Chelsea, his recruitment was announced by then Chairman Peter Gadsby as: “another step along the way to making Derby a major force”. Righto!
The 2007-08 Premier League fixture list was announced and fans were naturally excited, anticipating a reasonable start for the Rams with Pompey visiting on opening day, followed by away trips to Manchester City and Tottenham before another home gain against promoted Birmingham City.
Derby were of course immediately consigned as relegation certainties by the pundits and commentators.
Manager Billy Davies was still in the self-promotion business, saying he would welcome a new agreement from Derby County, whilst stressing he still had two years of his existing contract to run.
"It is a great club with great facilities. It is made for Premier League football and if we can remove a number of sandbags from the balloon, it can go up a very long way - with me on board," he said.
Unfortunately, the balloon he spoke of proved to be his own ego - and when his mouth freed it from those sandbags in November, he consequently found himself released by the club into footballing obscurity!
You need to login in order to post your comments