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Bill's Take: Who Would You Choose - MacKay or Lallana?
Friday, 10th Feb 2017 07:28 by Bill Riordan

I remember back in 1970, a Rams fan who was in a position to know about these things mentioned to me that the Rams were paying Dave MacKay £250 per week.

If the word gobsmacked had been in general usage at the time, I would have admitted to being beyond gobsmacked. £250 per week? Surely no such number existed! I was being paid at an hourly rate that was not much more than I had received for delivering newspapers just a few years earlier, and I could not believe that anybody could be earning such a huge amount.

I was not Dave MacKay, and never would be but this was certainly far more than I expected to ever be paid. What caused me to think back all those years to that conversation was when I read that just a short while ago, Adam Lallana had signed a new contract with Liverpool which would pay him £150,000 per week.

Not per year, or per month, but per week. Lallana is being paid around 600 times as much as Dave MacKay was making with the Rams. It is not too much of a stretch to think that Lallana is being paid more in a week than MacKay made in his entire playing career.

I know a lot of time has gone by, and a lot of inflation has taken place, but this is a wage which strikes me as obscene. How does it compare to what the typical Liverpool fan is being paid? More importantly, it worries me to think how much some Rams players are being paid; nothing like this, certainly, but perhaps well beyond what I might think they are worth or what the club can afford.

While I am griping, here is another one, and this time it is closer to home: George Thorne. George was badly injured in the match against Ipswich in early May, and early reports were that he would be out of action for three months. This would put him on target to resume playing early this season.

I thought at the time that this might be a little optimistic, but we will take good news wherever we can find it. Well, a few days ago, Steve McClaren gave us an update, and it looks as though next season is “now the target”.

So, we have gone from three months to perhaps fifteen months. How does this happen?

Was this a medical person close to the situation who gave the original estimate of three months? Do people not go to university and learn about such things before they express opinions on such matters?

There is an important point to be made here; how can the Rams plan for the future if they are relying on bad information like this? If the club had known in the beginning how serious the situation was, would they have signed a replacement for Thorne, rather than standing pat?

Might the club have spent some money on a defensive midfielder in the summer, rather than saving it all to spend on Vydra and Anya later?

It is even possible if that had happened that the club might have avoided making such an awful start to the season; Nigel Pearson might still be manager…

Following defeat in the FA Cup replay at Leicester, where does that leave the Rams? We are currently in eighth place in the Championship, three points behind sixth place Sheffield Wednesday and eight points behind fifth place Leeds with a game in hand.

For me, the only realistic path for the Rams to be promoted this season is by finishing sixth; anything higher looks to be beyond us. It just happens that we now have three matches over the next two weeks, all at home and all against modest opposition.

Twentieth place Bristol City are the visitors on Saturday; seventeenth place Cardiff are here next Tuesday and twenty-first place Burton Albion make the short trip the following Tuesday.

This set of fixtures present an ideal opportunity for the Rams to take nine points from the three games and perhaps improve our playoff odds quite significantly.

In fact, the Rams must be looking for three wins out of three; much less and the season could be pretty much over.

Bristol City made a solid start to the season, and did well until early October; they have been horrible since then. They seem dependent on the form of Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, and have been leaking goals consistently.

This match is the start of an important run for the Rams, and after the loss on Saturday, the urgency to get back to winning ways is higher than ever if Derby want to make something out of their season.



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