|Parting Is Such Savage Sorrow - A Final Goodbye!|
Sun 15th May 2011 10:42 by Daniel J Sewart
The season is over, we have a new Captain and when Sav picked up his Sony award he was described as an ex-Derby County player. The time has finally come to move on but you know what...? I am going to miss him!!
This week Sav was crowned best new radio talent in the prestigious Sony awards and there would be few who would deny him the gong. As an entertainer he does what he has always done by being loud, outspoken, annoying and someone you just can't ignore!
His final season at the Rams and rise in the media, is a long way from last year I wrote an article for RamZone about my belief the club should sack him after the BBC Radio furore. I had finally been won over by Sav and was gutted by his behaviour in regards to a club legend. The article was harsh and fuelled by emotion, much like something Robbie himself would do.
Pot – kettle – black!
This season his form, improved demeanour on and off the pitch coupled with his antics on 606 eventually won me over again. I think I now understand better the beast who may look more like a Bee-Gee than a footballer but is as genuine as the day is long.
When Savage joined the Rams it was to vocal derision and mixed views from the Derby faithful as Paul Jewell splashed his cash around on players that were either frozen out at their clubs or on the way down in the pecking order of the English game.
I like most Rams had detested Savage since the infamous Leicester incident but such was the plight of the club I honestly felt perhaps his fire and passion, which no one could ever deny, was exactly what the team needed to add some spine and save face.
It was not to be for the club nor player as Paul Jewell performed one of the best comedy acts ever seen in football. Over the next year in charge of the Rams, Jewell took things from dire to near irreversible as he destroyed the things Billy had not already broken.
Robbie was one of the victims, falling out with the gaffer, shunted out of the line up and finally out of the club on loan. It looked like the end but a player who was once so determined to prove Sir Alex wrong, after the Scot turfed him out of Old Trafford, was intent on doing so at Derby, whatever it took.
It took Nigel Clough.
When Nigel joined the club, he not only saved the club from relegation but revived Robbie’s prospects. This has gone a long way to allowing Savage the platform to become the sought after media man that he now is. At the same time it has given Derby national exposure they would never had hoped to get otherwise.
Over the season Sav hinted that perhaps he might play on for another year and I like most scoffed that he had another year in his failing legs. But in a season that he has made the leagues team of the week on more than one occasion and constantly the heart and soul of an underperforming unit on the pitch, at times it was easy to ponder the possibility.
There was the bombshell (or is that the blonde’s bombshell?) that Robbie was thinking of leaving Derby not just at the end of the season to join a new Canadian franchise in the MLS. It came to nothing when he considered it would slow the momentum of his media career and having to move his young family.
With the playing stocks low and the team in a tail spin, it could not have come at a worse time as Sav’s experience and attitude was needed more than ever. The club needed its Captain and he stood up time and again in the remaining matches to help ensure the Rams safety.
It is debateable the Rams have had as truly inspiring Captain for many years. Burley rarely grabbed a game by the scruff of the neck, Oakley was solid but quiet and Connolly was nearly invisible. In your face is not always good but Sav grew into the role and matured because of it.
He became a Captain that led from the front, bled for his team and took younger players under his wing. Plus he was always available, niggling injuries didn’t bring him down as playing over 600 league games proves.
Sure the boy has upset a lot of fans and at times doesn't know when to shut his mouth but the self styled media man is usually the first to admit it himself, for that I give him credit. He wore his heart on his sleeve and is open, honest and loyal. A trait that is as hard to find in the modern game as it is a player’s agent working for a minimal fee.
His charity work and realisation that his profile and status in the game can achieve much for others not so fortunate, has been inspiring to watch unfold. Plus the publication of his Autobiography (which is a cracking read) tells the story of a man much humbler than he portrays and who learned from his mistakes, constantly striving to be better and determined to excel in everything he turns to.
He wanted to play, right until the very end and will be hard to replace and are in a great position by having a ready made Captain ready to step up. Barker will not provide the sparkle but he will provide the leadership and hard work required to be as equally popular in the role.
I think it’s a shame that the Rams could not find a way to keep Sav at the club in some way (coaching or media relations) as he brings more to the DCFC than any club outside the Premier League (and even most of those in) could ever hope for.
Perhaps he is now getting too big for the club but it is thinking like that which should upset fans the most. We are a big club!
Robbie Savage has given his heart and soul to the Derby County Football Club. He has swallowed his pride, proved he deserved a second and third chance, plus won over the hearts of many a Rams fan who swore they would never be swayed (a show of hands please!).
Some will never be won over, some will deem him one of the worst signings in the clubs history and we are better off without him.
Some will be wrong.
When it’s all said and done, the debate and controversy is all part of the Robbie Savage magic. With all the twists and turns, ups and downs, I for one have enjoyed the show and glad that Paul Jewell did one thing right for the Rams after all.
Sav was a beacon of light in some very dark times but now like with all good shows the curtain has finally come down and the encore is over.
On his 606 show after his final game he said he new it was time to move on when Derby awarded him an "achievement" award that was won last year by an 80 year old man.
Time to move on yes Robbie but please never forget Derby County and the place you managed to find in our hearts - even if you had to use a sledgehammer to break into many of them!
Good luck for the future Robbie and congrats on the Sony Award - you deserve it!
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Daniel J Sewart