RamsWeek 36: Listen To What the Man Said
Monday, 6th Sep 2010 01:50 by Paul Mortimer
After the euphoric unveiling of the Clough & Taylor statue and the see-saw emotions of the 2-2 draw with leaders QPR, Derby County took a break in Marbella.
Fans hoped for good news during the last days of the summer transfer window.The slow news feed of business up to the transfer deadline of 6 pm on Tuesday August 31st kept supporters waiting for announcements.
It all happened right on the deadline and then the full details were not disclosed. It took until Friday afternoon for the football authorities to confirm that the transfer of Rob Hulse to Championship leaders QPR had been ratified.
First reports suggested that the fee received for Hulse was only £400k, rising to £800k - but Derby County refused to confirm this. It seems more likely that the transfer cost QPR in the region of £750k.
With add-ons, (perhaps paid to Derby upon QPR’s promotion or reaching Rob’s goals and/or appearances targets?) The payments apparently could exceed £1m, some sources said. The reluctance to disclose the fee will cause some to assume that it is a low figure that the club would rather people didn’t know.
The arrival of Bueno at Derby adds a bit of spice to the forward line, and with Tomasz ‘Zorro’ Cwyka looking like he’s enjoying life at Derby, the loss of Hulse might not spell a diminished goal threat from the Rams’ forward line. A goalscoring target man is however a desirable asset for any club with pretension of progress.
Fans are also as sceptical as the manager in wondering if Chris Porter can fulfil that role.
It’s not the fact that Hulse has departed - there were compelling reasons why it made business sense to cash in on him now, due to his age and imminent contract expiry. Truth is, the club will be under close scrutiny from supporters in how (or if) they permanently replace their top striker.
Mr Glick spent quite a bit of time and effort on the radio and websites explaining the sale of the club’s top goal-getter It was a case of ‘listen to what the man said’ to pick up some pointers to the club’s ambitions and hopes for the future in replacing Hulse satisfactorily. Fans want a focus on team building and not business-speak.
We apparently have another ‘partner’ - the ‘official motor fuel partner’ in Texaco plc - as announced on the DCFC website this week, but unless the Rams are going to lubricate the opposing penalty area with crude oil to make defenders slip and slide, fans will wonder what benefit yet another name in the portfolio brings to the team.
“We know what Rob can deliver but we are focused on players who will be part of our future”. We do have some good prospects - though it could also be argued that Bueno and any temporary forwards to follow aren’t necessarily going to be part of the Derby team of the future; loanees have to be replaced every few months.
Loan players betray a lingering sense of impermanence and when that involves one of the three key positions (goalkeeper, centre half and centre forward) then that feeling can be amplified. Teams need stability and an identifiable fulcrum up front.
Tom Glick admitted that Derby’s squad is “temporarily lean right now” and declared that the club would be working on further loan players as soon as the 7th September access to that market arrives. He mentioned “ten targets” that the club would pursue.
“Take a look at the squad that Clough is assembling, the style of play, the chances being created,” Mr Glick continued. We will have to wait and see how the newcomer settles into the goalscoring void that Hulse’s departure could create and see if any other ‘signature’ signings arrive during this season.
The club themselves might look at the meagre points total so far. Action to show that the squad is good enough to climb the League table is how the manager and chief executive will be measured this season. It is goals and points that really count; pretty but ineffectual football is usually followed by underachievement.
Hulse is now reunited with his old mentor Neil Warnock and will play for the team that top the League; who knows, as he is on a three-year deal at Loftus Road, he may even get another shot at Premier League football - which seemed unlikely at Derby.
TG is excited by the signature of Spanish prospect Bueno; he has played at junior international levels for his country. He will need to convert potential into productive Championship performances, in England for Derby County; Hulse scored a goal every three games or so and the last thing we need is another Emanuel Villa.
Expecting ‘signature’ signings from what was said early this year can evoke supporter derision at the moment. Mr Glick’s springtime assertions about paying ‘Shaun Barker-type fees’ was carefully commuted this week to asserting that the club had certainly spent more on players this summer than they spent on Shaun Barker.
Mr Glick stated that DCFC did bid for striker Billy Sharp but wages were an issue. Crikey...I don’t know whether knowing that Doncaster Rovers beat us up on wages makes me feel happy or sad! The worry is that we are not truly competitive at the moment, on the field or in the transfer market.
Tom Glick said that the club ‘won’t settle for anything less than success’ and that ‘we expect to be competitive, starting with this year’. There’s only 4 months of this year left and we’ve been out of the top-half picture throughout 2010 - so I assume he really meant tangible improvement by the New Year and further strides by next May.
Asking fans to look beyond the ‘temporary injury situation’ is also stretching it – the sad fact is, ‘temporary fitness’ would be a rather better description for Derby County’s squad!
Fans will accept what the chief said as long as success arrives on the field where it matters; not on just the balance sheet. Mr Glick reminded his interviewer that the club has brought in eight players since the end of last season. Anderson, Bailey, Brayford, Cywka, Doyle, Martin, Roberts, Bueno (loan).
The club have jettisoned other well-paid players; Paul Connolly, Lee Hendrie, Jay McEveley, Lewis Price and Gary Teale, and now Rob Hulse. They also signed up five young players on junior professional contracts in the summertime (but have let four others go).
The Rams currently have Ross Atkins, Lee Croft, Graham Kelly, James Severn, Luke Varney, Greg Mills and Arnaud Mendy out on loan.
Mendy came on as a substitute for Tranmere Rovers in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Accrington Stanley on Wednesday, which Rovers lost AET on penalties. He then thumped in a debut League goal on Saturday to win the game, as Rovers pulled off a shock win against fancied Peterborough United.
The only Rams’ action of note this week was the Under-18s’ 4-3 defeat by Blackburn Rovers in their Premier League Academy fixture at Moor Farm. Rovers scored two late goals to deny the Rams; sounds a bit like the first team’s last outing.
Another monument to Derby football has sprung up at the site of the dear old Baseball Ground. A 20ft monument featuring three football figurines will be unveiled in Cambridge Street, Normanton on Friday 10th September 2010. It’s a rather anonymous artefact and to me looks like three metalwork gingerbread men. You can track down a feature about the monument on the BBC Derby web pages.
The Rams had some involvement in the international weekend as Paul Green played the full 90 minutes for the Republic of Ireland in their 1-0 away win in Armenia. Kris Commons - not fit enough to be considered for Scotland, saw his adopted nation beaten by Macedonia; not a good start to their Euro campaign.
Scottish boss Craig Levein was unhappy with some of the robust Macedonian play so it is just as well that Commons wasn’t on duty to face such physicality. Commons has recently reminded DCFC publicly that his contract expires next summer, saying he wants to negotiate a new deal to stay.
He is a proven match-winner but one reason why Derby win fewer matches than they need to is that Commons doesn’t retain his fitness long enough to translate that ability into goals and points toward the team’s progress. Here’s hoping Kris stays fit and successful and is at Derby beyond the next transfer window.
Robbie Savage appeared on Football Focus and the 606 Five Live phone-in, and said that Welsh boss John Toshack should go, after his national side had crashed 0-1 to Montenegro; he wasn’t alone in having that sentiment. Tosh has been in charge for 6 years and the Welsh haven’t qualified for the finals of a major tournament during his tenure.
England had a happier day on their rehabilitation from a World Cup disaster, thrashing Bulgaria 4-0. They looked pacey, purposeful and punchy as Defoe and Rooney destroyed the Bulgars. It will take time for England to recover their credibility only the Euro finals will tell us how good they are, as an excellent World Cup qualifying record was followed by a hopeless Finals’ campaign.
An ex-Ram - another match-winner in his day and an England international - flying winger Nigel Callaghan is having a tough time of it with bowel cancer at the moment. There is a charity match as a testimonial for ‘Cally’ at Pride Park Stadium next Sunday, 12th September, where an ex-Rams XI will play an ex-Watford XI.
Stars like Igor Stimac will put in an appearance and it is of course for a worthy cause. It might not pull in a crowd like Ted ‘Tin Man’ McMinn’s Rams vs Glasgow Rangers extravaganza did a few years back, but here’s to an exciting game which results in a helpful boost to Nigel’s appeal.
The focus next week is upon the third home game of the season against Sheffield United. Some of Nigel Clough’s recovering wounded will be available and other players recharged after their self-financed training trip to Marbella. Loan star Bueno will make his first appearance and who knows, another loanee or two might arrive.
It seems important nowadays that we are told that the players are paying for their own training breaks. No doubt one of the ‘partners’ set it all up at a discount for them.
RamsWeek 36 last year discussed Derby’s ‘city pride’ with a World Cup bid being presented to visiting officials. As we now know, the networking magic didn’t quite work in football circles and Derby lost out to mighty Milton Keynes, Bristol and Plymouth for the right to stage 2018 World Cup games.
There was a media and disciplinary backlash to the antics of Forest and Derby at the end of the City Ground clash the previous weekend. The clubs were charged with failing to control their players and excitable striker Nathan Tyson was on a charge of improper conduct with a ban to follow.
Derby fought off a £4m bid for Rob Hulse from Middlesbrough. The player wanted to stay, apparently. Nigel Clough dumped useless full back Jordan Stewart on Sheffield United, who dumped useless forward Lee Hendrie on Derby County in exchange.
It’s a fair cop but society is to blame, as Monty Python once observed.
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