|Tickle Tackle - Bring It On Home|
Tue 13th Jan 2009 21:01 by Steve Tickle
And another quiet week goes by in the world of Derby County. So much so that by the time last week's Tickle Tackle appeared, it was already out of date.
And so Derby County is again managed by a man with the surname Clough. I have to admit I had (and maybe still have) a few reservations about Clough Jr taking on the mantle of Derby County manager. Not because I have any doubts about his ability or anything like that though. I think part of it is because I would hate for it all to go pear-shaped for Burton Albion when it looks like they really could be playing in the Football League next season.
Ultimately though, like many many other Rams fans, I think this is a good appointment and probably the one that Derby County needs to really get the club back on the right tracks again. The Rams have been in a slough for eighteen months or more. We did brilliantly to win promotion at least one year ahead of schedule but then in my opinion at least, Billy Davies' ego got out of control and last season set the club back several years.
Paul Jewell is a good manager, his track record speaks for itself. However, there was obviously such a huge negative momentum built up in the first part of last season that it took Jewell until well into this season to begin to neutralise it and get it under control. There were signs that he had begun to do that but obviously, from the inside, he could still see issues he felt unable to deal with.
It's not that the players aren't good enough, the performance against Man Utd in the Carling Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg showed that - even though several of them were 'write-offs'. No, it was more than that, it was more like a psychological thing which affected everyone from the fans right through to the tea lady. What it needed wasn't just a capable manager, it needed something else.
The appointment of Nigel Clough seems to have provided that 'something else'. Just the fact that the names Clough, Taylor, McFarland and Todd made last week's headlines seems to have reinvigourated the club. The best manager in the world would have it on his hands to overcome that negative aura before he could begin to turn the cloub around and the appointment of the best manager in the world wouldn't I believe, inspire the club in the way that the appointment of Nigel Clough has.
Nigel Clough isn't the best manager in the world but he probably is the perfect appointment for Derby County. It's still a big gamble though but having said that, any managerial appointment is a gamble, as the appointments of Davies and Jewell showed. They had track records at Championship level but ultimately, weren't right for the club (Billy Davies may not be right for any club - we'll watch events at the wrong end of Brian Clough Way with interest). What I'm sure we as Rams fans are all yearning for is a sustained period of stability. Nigel is probably going to need every minute of his 3½ year contract and he needs everyone around the club to have patience and realistic expectations.
Hopefully, having worked at a vastly different level, Nigel will bring a different style of management. At Burton, he'll have been working with players of limited ability. One of the skills he will have had to develop is of being able to build self-confidence within his players. He gets them to keep the game simple, do what they do well and stay away from what they don't do so well.
While it's debatable how much direct input he had into squad selection and tactics in last Wednesday's game against Man Utd, the way those players applied themselves, quite out of character from what we'd seen previously, was most welcome... and not a little surprising.
If Nigel can instill that kind of endeavour and application, we won't go far wrong.
Suddenly it feels good to be a Rams fan again.
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