|Tickle Tackle - Bye Bye Billy|
Tue 27th Nov 2007 08:17 by Steve Tickle
Well, yesterday's announcement of the Rams and Billy Davies going their separate ways “by mutual consent” came as something of a surprise. Or did it?
I have to say I could see the writing on the wall although the announcement came sooner than I had expected... no doubt accelerated by Billy's post match comments on Saturday.
I've been pretty supportive of Billy in this column because I genuinely thought that he had what it takes to keep us in the Premier League. However, in recent weeks I had begun to seriously doubt him. His outburst against Adam Pearson after the defeat to Chelsea was never going to pass without some form of response. Whether it was the response Davies was expecting only he knows.
Either he's is supremely confident in his own abilities to the point of being totally oblivious of his shortcomings and totally misread what the Executive Chairman's response would be or it was an outburst calculated to get him the sack and with it, a way out of a situation that was increasingly ever only going to end in relegation, we may never know.
Opinion seems to be split and as I write, I'm undecided as to which way my vote goes. However, within the last week or so there were suggestions that Billy was looking to buy the likes of Sean St Ledger in the January transfer window. Well, if those rumours were true and Adam Pearson was as uninspired by the names on that list as I was, then I'm not in the least surprised that Mr Pearson has decided that Derby County and Billy Davies are no longer right for each other.
What's more, it was beginning to look like he'd run out of ideas and that there was no immediate prospect of us turning the corner and starting to be a bit more competitive. I also don't think that him continually repeating in the media that the current crop of players aren't of a high enough quality could have won him many friends in the dressing room, even if what he was saying happens to be true.
I suppose the reasons are all pretty moot now anyway, Billy got us into the Premier League and he genuinely deserves our thanks for that. The main issue now is who is going to be tasked with the responsibility of keeping us there. It seems the smart money is on Paul Ince, someone who I would never have even considered. My own choice would be Paul Jewell but the idea of Ince coming in is certainly more intriguing than some of the tired old names that are inevitably trotted out every time a manager gets the sack.
Certainly we need someone who can re-inspire the dressing room! I know there's a gulf in class and ability between the Premier League and Championship but surely those (for the most part) same players who so doggedly won points which we often barely deserved last season can't suddenly be so lacking in spine and determination as has so often seemed to be the case this season? Apart of course, from us desperately needing all three points from our visit to the Stadium of Light next weekend, it will be very interesting to see just what kind of performance we put up.
I know we've been pretty abysmal on far too many occasions this season and we are without doubt, currently the worst team in the Premier League, but I have always and still do believe that relegation is far from a certainty... we're fortunate in that the other strugglers have been unable to pull away from us and the gap to safety is still one which can still be bridged.
What Billy Davies achieved over the relatively short period he was with the Rams is pretty miraculous. We find ourselves in the Premier League before our time but I think that can be said of Billy Davies as a manager too.
We need to appoint Billy's successor without delay and Adam Pearson strikes me as someone who doesn't mess about. It wouldn't surprise me if we have a new manager before we go to Sunderland and the speed with which the announcement is made might well be an indicator as to the preparedness of Adam Pearson for Billy's departure.
After the Chelsea defeat I didn't know whether to be encouraged that we held them to a 0-2 defeat – a score that many people might have predicted before a ball was even kicked in the summer – or be disappointed that we were so close to making a game of it but again failed to do so.
Anyway, although we're bottom of the table and managerless coming up to Christmas – a situation that on the face of it looks pretty gloomy, I now find myself feeling much more enthusiastic about the Rams than I did just a couple of days ago.
As Adam Pearson himself has said, if we're going to be relegated, let's go down having given it everything we've got, rather than just sliding out of the division without a fight.
© Steve Tickle 2007
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