It has been a crazy, crazy few days for Derby County fans, and for the club itself, and hopefully this article will cover my feelings on all of the things that have happened and are being discussed by fans as of right now.
Just so it’s not all doom and gloom, two positives came out of the game for me. One, Ince looked fantastic, and I hope he can continue this form going into the Forest game. The other positive I took was the Bryson interview after the game. He clearly loves being at Derby, loves the club, loves the fans, and absolutely wants what is best for the club. I’ll be heartbroken if he is shipped off in the summer.
Shackell vs Wassall
One of other talking points that came out of Saturday was the news that Shackell and Wassall engaged in a bit of a spat on the sidelines after the final whistle, which was later backed up by a video. This issue has clearly divided opinions, with some criticising him for not clapping the fans and others applauding him for fronting up to Wassall and clearly venting his frustration. My view is a bit of a mix. When you’re playing away from home, I always think players should go and applaud the fans for travelling regardless of the result. However, I back Shackell for behaving the way he did, because Wassall well and truly hung him out to dry. You can’t leave a centre-half like Shackell, who lacks pace, without someone shielding him, especially when he is partnered by a defender like Keogh, who marauds forward quite a lot. I think Luke of the Ramcast made the connection before, but Keogh is very much a stopper, in that he likes to be aggressive and cut out attacks before they reach a dangerous area. On top of this, Shackell has two very attacking full backs either side of him. So essentially, Wassall put Shackell in a one-man defence and failed to see how that was an issue.
The other factor in this little scenario was George Thorne who, if you have seen the video or have ever watched him on the sidelines when coming on or going off, has a very strong relationship with Wassall. So Thorne was bound to defend Wassall, but also, in his own head, probably felt he was doing what was best for the Derby fans who Thorne also has a very strong bond with. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these issues arise in the future.
So the crazy news that broke this weekend was that Harry Redknapp is in talks and will likely take a role at Derby County. Most papers are reporting this role will be a Director of Football, however, the club are saying it is just a senior advisory role. My take is that he is essentially coming in as the manager, and I have no doubt about it. Wassall will continue to take training, Harry will chip in here and there, get to know the players, but he will pick the team, dictate the tactics, and be active on the touchline for the remaining 9 games. The club will obviously deny this, but the admission by Sam Rush last night that this was Wassall’s idea clearly showed that even he knows he is out of his depth, and that this is the best way to save face for the football club. They simply cannot sack two managers in a season after openly stating both will be there for the duration.
I will just caveat this by saying I actually really like Harry Redknapp as a guy, and if you ever listen or read his former players talk about him, all the way back to his days at Bournemouth and West Ham, they adore him. But that doesn’t mean that I want him involved at Derby. Hopefully this will only be a short-term thing and we will go again next year having rebooted, with a proper manager in charge, after what I think may be quite a large gutting of the current squad.
Season Ticket Renewal
This is arguably the most important matter for fans at the minute, because it involves parting with really hard earned money, to invest in a team that none of us even know what it will even look like next year. I have renewed mine with my dad, for similar reasons that were mentioned by Joel Clyne of dcfcpodcast in his recent article about whether to renew or not. I have been going to Derby since I was 7, and have had a season ticket every year since then, bar one. So the memories that have been made between me and my dad at the football are cherished for me and, regardless of the situation, me and my dad will continue to go. However, I completely understand and agree with those who don’t feel the current circumstances are worth investing in, and I think these people are commendable for taking a stand against the club.