An Unpopular Opinion

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Derby’s recent successes (if you can call them successes) in these past few years have transformed the club from mid-table obscurity to favourites to win the league every season. This can only be a good thing for the club but it has bred a huge amount of impatience amongst fans and media alike. The Rams are expected by many to have sewn up the title by March of recents years and any deviation from this plan causes near hysteria amongst many fans and local media, starting our almost weekly special ‘Twitter Meltdowns’.

In the past 6 months, we have signed virtually an entirely new team spending £25m in the process and now will need replacements for Paul Clement, John Peacock and David Burke, possibly more. Some may see this as a statement of ‘promotion or bust’ but I really don’t think it is. It will take an extremely long time for such a changed team (even newer backroom staff included) to gel together and know each other’s game inside out, which they clearly don’t at the moment. As long as we don’t go mental changing the team during the summer, the stability can only breed success. Though since Clement’s bizarre sacking, this could all go belly up if the incoming Head Coach/Manager/Emperor is told to or decides to completely turn the squad upside down and reinvent the team, sending us straight back into a rebuilding cycle once again.

The club desperately needs stability on and off the pitch, something that seems to have deserted it in recent years. There are brief spells of a few months here and there where everything looks rosy, as if everything is actually fine for once, but it doesn’t take long for rumours of managers flirting with other clubs, players flirting with each other’s wives, players/staff not getting along to disrupt everything that has been built. However true or untrue these rumours are, it ruins the stability that has been created, effecting results on the pitch in a usually dramatic fashion.

Derby do not NEED to go up this season, they didn’t need to under Clement and they certainly don’t need to under caretaker Darren Wassall or whoever it is that is brought in – anyone got David Moyes’ number? If we get promoted before we are ready, both on and off the pitch, then it won’t end well, a quick peak at the 2007/08 venture proves that immediately. We have to be absolutely ready, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that we can get up and stay up. We want to be competing in the Premier League, who would want to go up and just about scrape survival every year? Lets go up, comfortably stay up and become a Premier League regular, pushing for European spots when possible. Its not a totally impossible dream, Southampton, Swansea, Stoke, Leicester etc. have all managed to do so at some point.

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In fact, Leicester are a perfect example. They spent massively like us but it took them a few years to get it right and it was spectacular when they finally managed it, and look at them now. There’s no reason that can’t be us. We’ve become so impatient as fans and we need to calm down. Clement was absolutely guaranteed stability and the chance to build a team to achieve these goals and the new manager will need to be promised the same, but this time have it delivered. The team is unsettled and it needs to get to know each other, as a wise man once said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job.”

As fans we have to help deliver this stability. We cannot boo the players off the pitch, we can’t get on their backs and we can’t demand instant success from them, or this will effect their confidence and performances. This team desperately needs unconditional support from what is the largest fan base in the league. Without our support the players will really struggle to get us up and undoubtably need us as much as we need them. Lets get behind them, support whoever is brought in and sing ourselves ragged.

Who knows what will happen anyway? We may manage automatic promotion yet this season. Never give up hope. Up the Rams.

Twitter  Jimmy Gregory

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