|RamsWeek 36 - City Pride |
Mon 07th Sep 2009 01:49 by Paul Mortimer
The week commenced with headlines about the aftermath of Derby County’s 3-2 defeat at the City Ground and the melee that erupted on the final whistle.
Plenty of newspaper column inches were generated over last weekend and the FA charged both clubs with failing to control their players and staff. The brainless F*rest forward Nathan Tyson was charged with improper conduct and can expect a ban. The clubs have until mid-September to put their own cases.
Referee Martin Atkinson’s report contained notes about the brawl which was initiated by Forest’s Nathan Tyson, who unwisely - nay, stupidly - took a corner flag and celebrated the Trees’ victory by waving it right in front of the 4,400 Rams fans that occupied the lower tier of the Bridgford End stand. It was an inflammatory action that led to the teams and staff clashing.
Rams’ players were already at the same end of the pitch to thank the travelling fans for their support so it was a brainless act by Tyson - which was then stupidly condoned by his manager.
For a start, Tyson - who had already been booked for removing his shirt when celebrating a goal - should have been cautioned again by the referee and hence collected a red card. Tyson’s lack of discipline will no doubt earn him a few hard lessons before he is very much older.
My own view is that it should be a bookable offence for intentionally removing ‘pitch furniture’ in this way; it’s needless and in these circumstances, dangerously provocative - arguably far more so than when a player removes his shirt in celebration, which does carry a yellow card caution.
Derby County received an apology from Forest’s chief executive Mark Arthur. Rams manager Nigel Clough said he was pleased about the way his players and staff reacted to the situation and he anticipated that “the professional Premiership officials” who witnessed the scenes would include it all in their report. I’m not holding my breath on that one!
Great tribute was paid to the restraint shown by Derby fans, who did not storm the pitch. I wonder what would have happened at the Boleyn Ground just days earlier if a West Ham player had celebrated their Carling Cup win in that way, in front of the Millwall supporters?
It emerged that there were casualties at Forest on Saturday, including children, who got pushed and crushed in the surge of anger from within the Derby end. A 12-year old girl was knocked unconscious. The potential for escalation and serious injuries was considerable and Billy Davies should think twice before foolishly indulging his opinion that nothing untoward had happened.
It is remarkable how the Trees fans and manager want to play down the potential consequences of Tyson’s behaviour and distort the incident to equate it with Robbie Savage’s celebrations at the City Ground after Derby beat Forest twice last season. Quite delusional!
Clough had been pleased with the team’s fightback during the second half of the game, when they pulled back two goals but made specific criticism of forward Kris Commons, who was guilty of giving away an unnecessary foul leading to the Trees’ second goal and then losing the ball through overplaying in his own half, with Forest immediately breaking through to make it 3-0.
The August transfer window came to a close with more activity at Pride Park Stadium. Most importantly, a bid for Rob Hulse from Middlesbrough was refused, with the player confirming he was staying with the Derby. Rams’ Director of football operations Adam Pearson said ‘it wasn’t the right move for everybody’, declaring Rob as ‘the talisman’ of the squad. That was a big relief to supporters but it didn’t mean that Derby were unwilling to sell their star player.
Derby did agree a fee of £4m+ with Boro - as confirmed by no less a figure than the Wolves’ chief executive Jez Moxey, who was preparing to let their young striker Sam Vokes come to Derby on loan. He’d hardly have been a replacement for a prolific striker and one of the best target men in the League; Derby’s strike force would have been severely depleted.
Clearly, Boro offered a big fee but Hulse elected to stay part of Nigel Clough’s plans instead of moving to a club arguably with a greater immediate chance of Premier League football than Derby County; he no doubt declined a wage hike in the process.
Hulse cannot have liked Boro’s overall package or the location itself or failed to agree a satisfactory severance figure from Derby, so remains a Derby player. For the time being, the “curse of the Player of the Year” has not afflicted the latest recipient of the Jack Stamps Trophy.
Left back Jordan Stewart, one of the many players that Nigel Clough inherited that he deemed superfluous to requirements, went to Sheffield United on a two-year deal and Derby took veteran forward Lee Hendrie from the Blades on loan until the end of the season. Hendrie joins Dickov as an experienced but unexciting and out-of-favour recruit that Clough hopes will add some know-how and cover to the ranks.
They both have something to prove, that’s for sure. Mind you, before he’s even kicked a ball for his own club or Derby County, Hendrie declared that he wants a contract for next season! I think there is a bit of work to put in before he can anticipate that Derby would consider that - and aren’t Derby supposed to be building for the future? Fans view Dickov and Hendrie as stopgaps and not building blocks.
Hendrie needs to show industry and quality, as he’s certainly not a scorer - he has an average of less than a goal every ten games. The Blades had put him out on loan to Leicester and then Blackpool for virtually all of 2009. However, swapping him for the unwanted Jordan Stewart makes sense in that Hendrie adds cover and experience to Nigel’s choices.
He started this season with a 4-match ban, having been sent off in Sheffield United’s Wembley play-off final defeat by Burnley after playing just five minutes as a late substitute. He was also sent off last December when on a short-term loan at Blackpool. He’s had past enmity with Robbie Savage; let’s hope they have kissed and made up.
Before the deadline, it was also reported that Ipswich were trying to sign Rams’ full back Paul Connolly - but nothing transpired. Clough has now trimmed the ranks as planned and the Rams have achieved their objective of cutting the wage bill.
Fans will hope that the current players can improve their teamwork and consistency and that the loanees can make a genuine contribution on the pitch, so that Derby are not continually marking time in the middle-to-lower reaches of the Championship table.
The Rams won their friendly in Spain against Athletico Marbella 2-0, courtesy of a goal from Ben Pringle and a penalty by Gary Teale. Leacock, Barker and McEveley got a run out and Rob Hulse was present, but on the bench after a busy day in communication with the club over Boro’s transfer bid.
Due to the international break there was no competitive match action for the Rams; their international players on duty, Kris Commons and Miles Addison were not used during their nations’ respective internationals last week but will hope to be involved next week.
Lewis Price, the Rams’ Welsh international goalkeeper currently on loan to Brentford, is with the Wales squad preparing for their home World Cup game with Russia next Wednesday, as is ex-Rams defender Lewin Nyatanga, now at Bristol City.
The major event of the week at Pride Park Stadium was the visit of the FA VIPs, who are proposing England’s World Cup 2018 bid. The FA has to choose 12 host cities to stage the tournament and have a checklist of 16 cities from which to choose their final list. Derby has submitted a preliminary bid to be among the host cities.
DCFC President and chief executive Tom Glick said that the new board had always been aware of the possibility of Derby’s inclusion in the World Cup bid and the facility to expand Pride Park Stadium to a 44,000-seat venue. Fans hope that by 2018, the Rams will be an established Premier League club with an expanded (44,000 capacity) stadium and that would certainly be a scenario that would grace the World Cup!
The Rams’ board have a challenging ambition to fulfil that vision and build a successful top-flight team with the ability to fill the stadium to that capacity with an established Premier League side. 2018 is nine years away of course - and a hell of a lot has happened at Derby County in the last nine years!
Much work is being put in by the club and city to stake Derby’s claim for a lucrative helping of city pride should Derby be chosen to host 2018 games. That seems along way off and a lot more work would need to be achieved to make Pride Park Stadium and Derby reach the tournament requirements. The city could benefit by as much as £200m from the event and of course the global status and awareness of the city would be greatly enhanced.
Derby has an indisputable football heritage and appetite, the stadium is excellent as are hotel facilities and transport links. The proximity of Moor Farm, Burton Albion and the FA Centre there will certainly enhance the bid as potential bases for visiting international squads.
Midlands’ neighbours Nothingham and Leicester are also hoping to be part of the bid. At present, Nothingham only has an imaginary 50,000-seat stadium as their main facility and so are hardly well placed! Leicester of course has the new Walkers Stadium but nothing of the international experience and pedigree that Derby County can demonstrate.
Pride Park Stadium has staged several full-house England Under-21 international games, a full England international and also the Ladies FA Cup Final. The club and the city would be a worthy choice.
RamsWeek 36 last season saw Derby temporarily rid themselves of Tyrone Mears by allowing Marseille to take him on loan, for a fee of £160,000 possibly leading to a permanent transfer.
Miles Addison, having recently broken into the first team at Derby as a midfielder, signed a new three-year contract. At least manager Paul Jewell seemed to have got that one right!
The team was on international break and could regroup after a disappointing 2-0 Championship defeat at Barnsley. The newspapers filled in the gaps by carrying stories highlighting first-team dropout Robbie Savage’s array of luxury cars, which he rotated to arrive at training in style.
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