|Happy 2nd Anniversary Mr. Clough!|
Sat 08th Jan 2011 10:04 by Daniel J Sewart
This week marked the anniversary of Nigel Clough in charge at DCFC. It is a period of history that has had its share of ups and downs as he has attempted to rebuild the shattered football club he inherited.
It has been two years since Nigel sat in the stands and watched Kris Commons score a stunning goal to defeat Manchester United.
So much has happened since that day as many fans have at times proclaimed him their saviour while seemingly in the same breath, ready to offer him up as a sacrifice when the road seemed to get a little too long.
Nigel spoke to the official site about his journey as number one at Derby:
"There has been a lot of sorting out to do and we're probably still in survival mode at the moment, trying to keep our heads above water, but overall I think we're in a much better position than we were two years ago.”
"The young lads we've got give us a lot of optimism for the future. We get wrapped up in the results of here and now and the immediate memories of the last two years are our recent results.”
"If we look at the bigger picture, I think we're in a better position than we were two years ago. We feel it is a better place, and we feel that every day. There is a different atmosphere from the Academy right the way up to the first-team.”
"We've tried to sort things from the under 8s right the way up to the first team, and an overhaul like that can take some time. We feel we have a plan in place to take us forwards and everyone has seen how we want to play."
"We've shown we can get up there, we were a few minutes off third place just over a month ago, but we need to show we can stay there. Going up to fourth gave us all a taste of what it would be like to be up there, and no-one is more disappointed than the players we've not been able to stay there.”
"I see no reason why we can't try and get back in the top six, but realistically, as we have said from the start of the season, let's try and establish ourselves in the top half. We haven't quite done that yet, but we feel we can.”
In my humble opinion fans sometimes forget exactly how big a basket case Derby County was when Nigel took the reigns at Pride Park.
The team had only recently been appointed the worst in Premiership history under Davies and Jewell plus were in the throws of becoming the whipping boys of the Championship under the latter.
Jewell resigned and the Rams were on the brink of relegation. The fact is Nigel restored confidence and kept the team up. For that we should all be thankful or things may have been much, much darker for a lot, lot longer.
As the son of Brian, no matter what he did or how he fared, Nigel was always going to be and forever compared to his late, great father. The fact he was willing to come to a club where that would be amplified a million times over was for me, a massively courageous act and again one that is often forgotten. He could have taken shunned the instant scrutiny but in the tradition of many a great manager met it head on.
Signing as manager of Derby because his father always felt he had “unfinished business” at the club, is for me the type of sentiment and courage that is rarely seen in the razzle, dazzle of modern football. Plus it is a part of the story fans should embrace more readily when deciding how much patience to afford him.
Nigel has had to battle with an over-earning, under-performing squad of players, the worst run of injuries a club could ever have hoped to encounter and working to a tight budget that has left him little room for extravagance or flights of fancy in the transfer market.
Unlike his predecessors he has worked tirelessly for the club to achieve and build without making false promises, ridiculous threats or running away when it gets too tough. And from his own statements he see’s this as a change of culture from the bottom up, which anyone one who has worked in a failing business knows, is often a long and thankless task.
At the start of the season his team produced some of the best football that has been at Pride Park since the stadium first opened its doors. Many have seemingly forgotten that over a month of bad results, as quickly as he was lifted to god like status it seems many are now looking to crucify him.
He would probably be the first to admit he does not always get it right but those who expect instant, long lasting results in this day commercial football madness had better prepare for just as long in the football wilderness if it is done wrong.
For me Nigel Clough is a stubborn, out spoken and determined character who wants to do things his way. He wants to do the job right and wants to do it well and sometimes that takes time.
He will not bow to outspoken opinion or populist decisions and instead works with the tools he is given and sticks to his convictions of how to once again make DCFC great.
His father would be proud.
Happy Second Anniversary Nigel!
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Daniel J Sewart