|Clough Confirms Romantic Riggot Return Is On The Cards!|
Sat 02nd Jul 2011 12:57 by Daniel J Sewart
There is rarely room for romance in football but it seems that Nigel Clough has booked the table and is ready to at least organise a date. Could Derby born and bred, player and fan Chris Riggott, once again go into battle for the Rams?
After being plagued by injury during the latter part of his time at Middlesbrough, Riggott was released earlier this year by Cardiff city after only managing 2 games for the club. A serious back problem made playing more and more difficult for Riggott after at one stage, looking like becoming an elite top flight defender for Boro.
Chris now has his fingers crossed that a new operation he had recently, will finally fix the ongoing issue and allow the 30 year old to return to regular action. Wherever Riggott was playing, Rams fans would have wished him all the best but when he attempted a come back most would never have thought it would be at Pride Park.
Today Nigel Clough revealed to the press he is hoping to give that scenario every chance to happen. Speaking to the DET today, Clough said Riggott will link up with Rams training shortly and will begin the road back to full fitness. If he can get his body right and prove he is ready to re-ignite his career, Chris will be given a place in the Rams squad for the 11/12 season.
Nigel Clough spoke about the romantic decision he had made:
"He's going to come and do pre-season with us and what we've said is that if he can prove himself over the next five or six weeks, then we'd love to have him around for the season.”
"He had an operation around the end of last season and we hope that will cure the problem that has dogged him for the past couple of years. It will all be down to his back – that is what has kept him out and restricted him playing so much.”
"If we can find a solution to that, there is no reason at all why he can't get back to playing at this level. It's not as if he's 34 or 35. He's a couple of weeks behind but has been working over most of the summer, so some of the slog of pre-season, he will be doing. But we will get him involved in games as soon as we can."
"He's been out a long time, so we will have to take our time and be patient but it's a no lose situation for everybody. Chris wants to get back playing again and he's a Derby lad, so it's ideal. He was a popular figure when he was here before and he can be again.”
"He's got great experience at this level and I'm sure if we get him back at Pride Park in a Derby shirt, he will be just as popular as he was – and that's our aim. We've had a chat and we're all very relaxed about it all but he's got to get fit first before anything else can happen."
Chris Riggott was one of the most popular players in his time at the Rams and accrued 100 games for the club which included winning the clubs ‘Player Of The Year’ award in the 01/02 season.
A promising career that began at Derby in 1999 featured highlights such as being capped in the England Under-21 squad and after the Rams were relegated sadly was split from the team he loved when he was sold to Boro.
Riggott always looked like he would go from strength to strength and became a regular in the Middlesbrough team. 148 appearances and eight goals in just under eight years were marred by injury and the inability to get his body right to deliver the quality he showed on a regular basis.
I find it exciting that Chris will have the chance to prove he still has something to offer and even more exciting that it if it does, it could take place at the Rams.
At only 30 years of age, if his back operation solves the problems that have plagued him, a fit again Riggott would be a massive signing who could bring great experience and talent to the squad. A fit and firing Riggott would cost millions in today’s market and could prove to mirror the Seth Johnson scenario.
Perhaps things won’t work out but the last time it happened with Seth it sent our pulses racing and we fell in love all over again as the lad played a massive part in the clubs promotion season.
Whatever way this story ends there is little to lose for the Rams and possibly a lot to gain. For Chris there is an opportunity to renew a romance with his home town team and give his career the final hurrah that he so richly deserves.
Call me an old romantic but I really hope this has a happy ending. There is little room anymore for sentiment in football but frankly there should be.
It’s nice that Nigel is allowing the club a second chance with a long lost love. As the ‘Clough’ romance with Derby reaches crunch time this season, so will Riggott’s chances of successfully playing elite football. Hopefully both will gain positive momentum in 11/12.
Good luck Chris - I doubt there are many Rams fans who won’t be cheering for you every step of the way!
What do you think about the possibility of Chris Riggott once again becoming a Ram?
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Daniel J Sewart