Huddersfield Town 1 The Rams 2
After suffering watching all the championship teams, bar two, play their opening games of the new season it came to the moment the Rams did likewise at the John Smiths stadium. Every Ram fan had mixed feelings in so far as who would be chosen, how would they get on against last years premiership players, because having not done too well in pre season games can they show some valid improvement. A new manager who is also to enjoy a baptism in championship football, has to show some fortitude and determination. Thus the obvious question was how would the Rams fare. Ninety minutes later and the answer was, very much to the delight of every Ram Fan, fantastic. The game started with the Rams showing no fear, no timidity and no respect for the Terriers. They began to command the game giving Huddersfield no time on the ball and making them look second best and anxious. What was eye catching was that every player in the new away black coloured shirt was on top of their game. So much so they forced error after error within their opponents which culminated in Elphick trying to pass back to his goalkeeper in an unorthodox way making his goalkeeper dash out of his goal to try to head the ball away which he did directly Lawrence who without a thought lofted the ball over everyone around to watch it bounce into the waiting, vacant, onion bag. This was great to watch and what was more delightful was that Lawrence had improved 99% from his last ventures. So much so that two minutes later whith a deft movement and just enough space for the ball to pass through a crowd of players he slammed it past a despairing Terriers goalkeeper again into the onion bag for the Rams second goal. What could be better? Huddersfield had no real reply for the remaining time of the second half except for when Dowell trying to deny (another) Dutchman Bacuna inside the penalty area did it illegally and from the misdemeanour Grant sent the ball to his right whilst Roos dived to the left. Rams fans were deflated and a little anxious as to whether this would inspire there opponents. The obvious problem was that the Terriers were playing premiership style football where they have time to play the ball without being hassled, and Derby were hassling, which was good for Derby. It came to pass that Huddersfield were much improved in the second half and created some worrying moments for the Rams. The game began to play more in Derby’s half yet they remained solid. Huddersfield created a few good opportunities non more so than when a cross found the Terriers leading goal scorer from last season, he had four to his name, and a gaping goal missed sensationally to land the ball into the back of row Z much to the delight of the 1,863 travelling fans plus the television viewers. The end came with three points to Derby, well deserved and won with aplomb.
The end result was what was wanted and it was achieved with a steady and well worked game. Obviously early days and more will be realised after about ten or so games, however at the end of the ninety minutes no one could voice criticism to any of the players. Odd to say that Lawrence must have played one of his best games for Derby and has to stay within the same form. The new man Clarke making his debut looked as if he had played there for years, Dowell and Evans did not shine to brightly yet got on to doing what they were supposed to do. Even Huddleston was more deliberate and remained in his position. Waghorn worried and hassled and was unlucky not to get a goal, only a good save by the opposing goalkeeper denying him. Flo Jo died off in the second half although not too potent in the first half. Bogle, Keogh and Roos all showed their mettle. Bennett came on for Flo Jo and again did what he did with his usual gussto. Knight got a few moments in place of Dowell. Mr Cocu must be pleased with his squad for they showed they could be a team to be wary off this season. Cocu seems to be the sort of manager that is firmly fixed on one style of play which came to the fore. Last season the back four with the inclusion of Huddleston insisted on passing it square to each other until they were hustled out of it and were under the cosh. It was pleasing to see that this silly stuff was not apparent in this game so he has eliminated it. There was more intent on sending the ball forward and the midfield players collecting the knock downs either from opponents or the Derby forwards. The style, or game plan was very much different to what we have seen in past seasons. It was also notable that the mangers and staff were in black suits and ties, so Derby do not have a “track suit manager”. Lastly what is in the air is the name Wayne Rooney. If this person comes to Derby will it be for the better or the worse? Surely when we have a manager wanting to create a team from the academy and bringing on good well developed players why upset the apple cart to employ an has been just for the self egoistic delight of Rooney. Let him go back to Manchester or Everton. Can Derby in all realism afford him and his entourage?
Wednesday August 7th 2019 09.30
So, the news has broken that Wayne Rooney will be a Ram in the year of 2020. Will this be a good move for Derby County or and adverse appointment. If the team was to improve by the end of 2019 and be in contention for either promotion, Caraboa Cup and a reasonable draw in the FA cup would the inclusion of a 33 year old egoistic footballer be at the expense of maybe Waghorn, Marriot, even Lawrence or Holmes or Dowell from midfield; create an imbalance within the team work that Cocu and his aids had worked diligently to create? Within the last few days 28 persons have viewed this web site, hence there may be 28 different opinions over this enrolment plus many, many more, so why not let the world know how YOU see this inclusion of Wayne Rooney into the Rams pen. You are invited to write your opinion to Heanorrams2017@gmail.com today so that the Heanor Rams fans and their followers can read your views. It will be very interesting to know who welcomes this appointment and why and those who consider it to be one huge publicity stunt which will die a death after or before the eighteen month gestation period of his contract. As one wag remarked is the number seven shirt being held back for David Beckham. We have suffered the Lampard come and go publicity will this be another “Flash in the pan” for our football club? Your considerations are now awaited.
The Rams 0 Swansea City 0
This was one of those games that was given seven minutes extra time yet had it been seventy minutes extra time the dour way the Rams played would give the same end result. It was impossible to count how many silly daft passes went astray, it was impossible to count how many silly errors almost all of the Ram fraternity managed to make. In comparison to the way they played at Huddersfield this was appalling. There was no determination, no agression, no individual committment, only one player Bogle showed the mettle he has, the others just watched and passed the ball as if it was not their turn to have it. Such was the apathy that when given a penalty Waghorn, usually reliable in such occasions, scuffed his kick for the goal keeper to stop him scoring, and that epitomises the whole show that Derby County gave at Pride Park. There was nothing to note that can be mentioned which will give the impression the team played well, because they did not. Lawrence introduced as Super Lawrence lived up to his reputation of playing fifteen percent of his ability, where the tag super comes from is a mystery. Jo Flo did show some of his ability yet he is too fragile for English championship football. Evans is not a midfielder and never will be. Huddleston is to donkey now and enjoys too much time in the back four. Obviously Cocu is now watching his employees playing under the proper conditions and not taking stock from the every day training. It becomes very difficult to distinguish whether a player can be effective on a Saturday as well as from Monday to Friday on the training ground. It is on match days when it counts and in this game none came up to the mark required.
Cocu and his cohorts will need to get their heads together and begin to sort the wheat from the chaff. The mid field he chooses is pathetic. Not one followed up to get a knock down from the opposition yet Swansea playing five at the back five in midfield with one loose up front won all the loose passes in the middle of the park. Their style of play was far superior to the Rams who just had no idea or even no one to break their way through. All the time they wanted to pass the ball even when they had room and space to take it themselves and try to make something happen. It was as if they were all being watched intensively and were so nervously tight they were afraid to make a mistake, and by being in that emotional state they did every thing wrong. A trip to sunny Scunthorpe might alleviate a lot of the tension if the chosen squad decide to relax and show some class and skill which they are supposed to have and put a few goals past those Iron men.
Scunthorpe United 0 v The Rams 1 Caraboa Cup
No report on this game owing to the Heanor Reporter enjoying a respite from football and enjoying a weeks holiday in North Yorkshire. However the most intriguing issue to come from this competition is the next opponents in round two, Nottingham Forest. Will it be reserves verses reserves or first team verses first team?
Stoke City 2 The Rams 2
If a graph was drawn showing performance against time in this game then the line would begin at the top of the page, slowly dipping towards twenty minutes then taking a dive for the next twenty five minutes. The second half maybe the line will be half way up and wavering for a while until a big dive at about sixty minutes, then for the remaining period it will waver yet the trend would be upwards. From another view point it is baffling how Mr Cocu and his cohorts seem to work, for it seems to go against normality. The Rams have two left footed players playing left back and right back, Malone and Lowe. Malone is taken off, so Flo Jo is put to left back and he is right footed. The midfield seems to be any where and not playing with confidence or cohesion, Lawrence is more intent on using his fists than using his feet and deservedly pulled off, yet why does he always seem to get the start? If this squad was compared to a six cylinder combustion engine then only four cylinders are giving consistent power. Maybe Cocu is experimenting against the Championship teams to see and realise who is wanting to be man of the match and those who think they are good enough to get the start yet only go through the motions for ninety minutes. The back four defenders can be relied upon for at least ninety five percent of the time. The midfield has a mixture of good intent and poor intent the forwards on paper look dangerous yet with out Waghorn would be more insipid than water. It is heart rendering to watch certain players giving all they have to be let down by a gross lack of concentration and personal ability from other team mates. The “chaff” will be discarded no doubt eventually, yet until then performances and results will be as wavering as the Atlantic Ocean in a force ten gale.
Mr Cocu is doing his job in an uncanny way. he is picking the same players every game and watching them play the same way every game which may or may not be contrary to his methods. Then taking off certain players to put on others to consider if he is watching what he wants to see. It is a little technical and maybe baffling to the ordinary football fan, yet the end result in the new year may become fruitful. It is quite obvious that the whole set up of teams within the Derby County Football Club will have to play to the same game plan Mr Cocu has initiated so that any of the younger lads called upon to the first team should know his job. What about those “first teamers” who are on the outside looking in. Martin, Wisdom, Forsythe, Thorne, and Anya. to name a few. Can it be that their way of playing or their attitude is not to Cocu’s liking? or that their age is against them. This must be a difficult situation for both the players and the manager. It cannot be a pleasant position to be in to go to train every day and to be ignored by the boss, and to see younger lads getting the nod to get on the bus to away games. Human emotions must come to the fore, which can determine the individual to either accept his demise or show determination to be one of the chosen, or is it they give the younger lads the benefit of their experience and slot into the training programme that way. What ever the outcome is, it can either boost the squad to better heights or it may deter progress. During past seasons the fans have enjoyed Martin scoring, Thorne being dominant, Forsythe being a sturdy left back, Anya’s pace and occasionally Wisdom doing the right thing. However if Cocu has no need for them what is their future? No doubt all will be revealed eventually. In the meantime the chosen few will have no alternative than to do what they are asked off or else their name may be added to the aforementioned list.
The Rams 1 Bristol City 2
This was not a game to recall for any other reason than to see Jack Marriot do what he enjoys doing and what 25,000 fans enjoy watching him do. Apart from that the display that the Rams put on was abysmal. To say they gave the ball to the opposition too many times is an understatement, to say that certain players need to sharpen up is an understatement, and to ay that the style of play or game plan is working is more than an understatement. To take a good analytical assessment it is noticeable that Mr Cocu watches his brood practice daily and from this he decides who will start the next game. All that can be said from this is the whole brood must be showing signs of wanting to be chosen yet when that referee blows to start the game the majority of those in black and white shut off. From this attitude by the chosen few Mr Cocu now knows who will and who will not wear a shirt in the forthcoming fixtures. The result as much as it matters is irrelevant it is those players whose non commitment is producing the poor performance or who is producing a determined performance that is parramount. It is too easy to criticise players or pick out who was on form and who was not on form, yet this has to be done to name and shame. Malone is number one, Lawrence is number two and Huddleston is number three to be eliminated from the next game. Why? Malone played as if he was still an under 14 and sent the ball anywhere because he had no acumen to do other wise. Lawrence he is an enigma. He is playing on his fortune he had at Huddersfield. He allows his emotions to control himself and will not show any determination with quality and skill. He wants to be man of the match yet do nothing to earn it. Huddleston seeks praise by just standing still and sending the pass to wherever. He cannot collect the ball, run with it to pull an opponent out so as to make space for a team mate. He is absolutely too static. Number four to name is Keogh. Count how many times he will stand still with the ball at his feet looking where to send it then send a stupid square pass to Clarke or Lowe. Never sends a forward killer pass, maybe similar to the Robins over the back defenders, and he is the captain to inspire the team. Inspire the team? no way. Cocu keeps changing the system at half time because the original system is failing. So if the system changes and the team begins to improve as it did against the Robins then surely he knows how the team performs so why not begin a game with that system and get the Rams up and running from the start of a game instead of waiting until they are two goals down and change it after forty five minures?
The Derby fans will pay their money to watch shambolic performances quite a few times within the next few months. The players at Cocu’s disposal are of a standard good enough to compete against any of the championship rivals yet for some mysterious reason they will not do it. This mystery has to be solved and the sooner the better. Could it be that as much as we read or listen that the camaraderie within the club is good yet in reality it is to the opposite and that certain players have a reluctance to either play with each other or refuse to pass the ball to a team mate who is disliked. It appears at times this is most obvious. It also come to the fore that before they take to the field the team is instructed on how to play and so forth yet as they cross the white line these matter are tossed aside and the individual intrinsic way they want to play is adopted hence the whole team plan falls apart and they look a ragged outfit. At times managers try to be too technical not really understanding that from a very early age footballers were coached to play their chosen position in a certain way. Along comes a new manager and “tells” players to do this, that and the other, when it is contrary to the coaching they have received from day one when they put on a pair of football boots. Thus they are befuddled as to where they should be and where they are during the game. Just watch some Derby players and this comes apparent. For instance, Malone whose position is left back was seen playing centre mid field, he lost the ball and his patch is bear for the Bristol team to exploit. Being aware of a situation during the game is another. Flo Jo had the ball at his feet, the Robins goal keeper was completely out of his goals, the crowd shouted “shoot” Flo Jo passed the ball back to Keogh. This epitomises where the thinking and awareness of Derby players and coaching falls apart. Who takes the flack from such situations, it is the management whilst the player is allowed to carry on regardless. Put a similar scenario in a factory environment and the errant worker would be on the outside of the gates.
The Rams 1 West Bromwich Albion
In retrospect to the last home game the Rams showed a bit more determination endeavour and enthusiasm, yet they still misfire with Huddleston and Lawrence. If Huddleston was taken to one side and told it is not illegal to get a pass and run with the ball to draw an opponent to create space for a team mate there is no doubt his reply would be “Is it” The same applies to Lawrence. Were he told that it is a custom in the game of football to challenge for the ball when an opponent has it and to remain in a position to such a degree you are making yourself available to gather a pass instead of being in some one else’s position, then no doubt his reaction would be a blank expression. Both need to be omitted from this team to give other players the opportunity to thrive and improve the teams performance. When all is said and done had there been more flair from these two positions then both the performance of the team and the score would be much different. (Our) Jack Marriot, the crowds favourite, got his first start and once again proved his worth although not on the score sheet. Waghorn was both master and villain for winning and scoring a penalty then missing from the spot later on. In between times the new faces, Buchanon and Knight gave a good account of themselves and given a few more starts and free of injury then Derby have two more starlets. The results are not too good yet whilst the display and better football are being played there is hopeful anticipation. The Baggies are a good experience bunch and they showed their acumen for most of the game yet to say that Derby matched them using “raw” recruits is a proud statement. All in all it was a good encounter and the score reflects the equality of both teams. From this game the new lads have to take credit for they did not let themselves or the team down. The only draw back was the silly substitutions Cocu made by bringing off both the strikers and going to a 4 – 5 – 1 formation then the Baggies equalised and the Rams had only Bennett on the front row to try for a winner. It was reminiscent of those Clough’s days and that failed.
Have you ever watched the Rams squad “warm up” before a game? They go through the same routine every time without fail. When Bristol City were at Pride park their system was geared up to one prominent and obvious system and it came through in their game hence the win. They did a sequence of passing the ball at speed which needed total concentration. It was interesting to watch and it was obvious that it was intended to keep the players minds alert and focused on the practice and watching the ball whilst on the move. The eyes then went to Derby County and they were prancing up and down the touch line as if it was the opening of a revue show on Blackpool Central pier theatre. They have become so accustomed to this routine that they are brain dead. Look to see who is in front and who trails. It is as if there is a pecking order. For ages it has always the same chap taking this routine and he must be the fittest person in Pride Park, yet his system is archaic, and is in dire need of a shake up. After the prancing they have a short one touch game then shooting practice, which again take note if they fail to find the goals they have no self shame they just shrug it off. The conclusion is their minds are closed from the very beginning and it come through in the beginning of the game. They have to force themselves to be motivated yet in comparison Bristol City who were lively and full of running right from the start. One other interesting point which is more humerous. We hear the South stand “choir” singing their ditties yet the most baffling question is. Who is the choir master to lead them into their songs? Answers please.
Nottingham Forest 3 The Rams 0
So, it was not to be a successful evening in Nottingham, and after the game was it any wonder when the squad chosen to play were not as worldly wise as the Red squad. Yet give credit where it is needed they tried, and if they try they do not bring disrespect on themselves or the club. It cannot be easy to be playing at under 23 level in front of a meagre crowd then to be plunged into a senior game with twenty five thousand baying for blood at the City ground.. For example seventeen year old Louie Sibley took to the field and from that fifty or so minutes he must have aged about two years and now knows just what he has to achieve. The same applies to Whittaker who had the good chance in the first half only to blaze the ball over the bar, alas a bit to eager to score, yet lets hope it does him no harm to be a little more steady for his next chance. As a whole the team played a little too bunched up and obviously showed their inexperience of playing the senior type of football. However how does any footballer learn if he is not given the opportunity to play against older wiser and crafted players. When it is analysed Cocu has done the right thing to play the lads who he chose. He is new to the squad of footballers under his wing, he sees them play against each other Monday to Friday yet he has to watch them as they play different opposition on Saturdays. He has to decide who is the most mentally aware, physically aware, and skilled to the desire that suits him. From this game he too has become more familiar with his squad and how they perform. Hence why he is giving all of them the chance to have their name on the next team sheet. He is working out his players, whilst not really going for the desired result. Ram fans obviously do not like to lose against the Reds yet, there are two more fixtures forthcoming and will it be no surprise to see a different squad and a better result in both these encounters, thanks to this game from which Cocu learnt his first lesson in local derbys.
It is a shame that the Caraboa cup draw put these two teams together. In reality neither club were happy for this fixture, yet had no option than to play the game. Cocu used this game to watch his reserves plus a few “young uns” so from it he can draw a few conclusions as to who will be his regular twenty or so for the season. He is noted for his willingness to give the younger lads a chance to shine and if they mix well with the older players the object of his intentions is met. Bogle is proof that the academy is doing a fine job, the results of the under twenty three’s last season proves this as well, so why should these willing lads be left floundering and waiting watching their older counterparts being chosen to play, just because they are older. It does not follow that the older players are better players. It must be daunting to see the club paying “ex” pounds for one player and taking up the position an Under 23 had visions of playing in. Cocu may know players who can do a job for him yet it may be short lived for many players have come to Pride Park to sit in the comfort zone ensuring that Derby County pay their demands then do not give enough respect and willingness back. The results may not be to the expectation of many, many Ram fans at the present time, however the performance of the first squad is slowly and steadily improving. Cocu knows which of his squad are not pulling their weight and who is, so it will come as a shock to certain players to find themselves on the outside looking in very soon. Cocu seems to come across as a manager who managers, and not as a “one of the lads” managers. A shovel is a shovel in his eyes, not a dust pan!Lastly, Derby County have been usurped in Leeds. From the last encounter with Leeds United when the Rams put the Whites in their proper place, a few miles down the road from Elland Road at a venue called Headingly along came a chap named Stokes and by using a piece of willow wood he hit a leather ball scoring enough points to give his country team what many claimed was an equally good job on those “Bruces “. Alas they no longer talk of the demolition job the Rams initiated in West Yorkshire.
Brentford 3 The Rams 0
Everyone at some time in their lives has had a good reason to be enthusiastic to do something whether it be get ready to go to a show, to a dance, a visit to somewhere even to start a new school or job. Thus they were motivated, either self or by another. So when the team representing Derby County enter the field they have to be motivated in the same fashion as an athlete is to run a race, an high jumper or long jumper to win, to be determined, to be mentally charged. Individually excited to achieve the desired result. On the other hand, a coach or trainer can have the negative attitude and instil in the sportsman the vibes that infer they are not to loose, do not think you are the best, and many other thoughts relative to football such as do not give the ball away, do not go to far up the field, or do not try to score if it is not a clear opportunity, and remember what you have been told. Hence the footballer has his mind more on what not to do, than what he can do. It is the consideration of many fans that this mindset is inside every Ram player when the whistle starts the game. For the first fifteen minutes the team shows well yet as soon as the opposition begin to retaliate and show their acumen the Ram team begins to worry and they fall apart because their mindset has come to the fore and they begin to make silly errors which eventually costs them goals. It was written in the last opinion that they “warm up” in the same format every game so they must go back into the dressing room and be installed with the same negative vibes every time. If history is consulted then the same trend keeps coming to the fore, no matter who the coaches are or the manager is. Some one is putting the wrong message into the eleven at the wrong time, and until that ague is healed then the team will not prosper. The players seem to have to motivate themselves individually. Perhaps by scoring first or by over powering the opposition. Not necessarily by playing certain systems. In comparison to other outfits the Rams seem dormant and timid in the sense they dare not express their own ability, dare not dribble around an opponent, on collecting a pass dare not turn about to face the opposition goal, dare not pass the ball into a space for a colleague to run on to, always playing warm potato football. Always playing square passes or back passes. Always negative football.
This result has to be a warning and wake up call to Mr Cocu. There are no good points to mention. His team selection and the mental attitude of some players has to be addressed very forcefully. He has good players at his disposal, and he has pathetic players at his disposal so all that can be said is to dispose of his pathetic players now and give those on the fringe the chance to grasp the nettle. The statue Huddleston, the inept Lawrence, and alas Dowell who just do not fit because either no movement or just not got their mind on the game. It is grossly unfair to have players sat on the bench their bums twitching to be on the field and having to watch other players getting a chance and abusing it. The Bees stung the Rams players in every position, they stung them for every pass and every opportunity they had, and the Rams deserved all they got for being such a tame and subdued outfit, some not fit to wear the shirt. Thank goodness there are a few days rest before going back to Pride Park. It gives the supporters the time to dilute this crap performance from their minds and to go into the stadium with a fresh hope. That is if Mr Cocu does not decided to play the same eleven in the same system with the same stupid heads on.
The Rams 1 Cardiff City 1
After the time lapse of allowing the debacle at Brentford to be erased partially from memory, the fans filled Pride park to see if Mr Cocu and Co. had instilled some sort of football ability into the squad he chose to play against Cardiff. It came as no surprise to see that he had picked a more experienced eleven with the biggest shock seeing Mr Martin named in the substitutes. Holmes was put in the proper place with Bielk and Huddleston in the midfield and Clarke in the centre full back, and Malone at left back. Would it become a more solid performance against a typical Warnock (Sheffield) set up. The Bluebirds having come out of the Premiership could be caught cold for they were not having the best of times from not winning away and the Rams not winning at home. It soon became apparent that it would not be a happy event for Marriot who was sent passes in the air having to battle against six foot six defenders when he is only five foot six. However the spirit the Rams began with was full gusto, and soon the reward of a goal from a ping pong style of play in the Cardiff penalty area found “Molly” Malone in the inside right position and almost on the “Babby” line to put the ball into a vacant onion bag for the goal. From then on the referee decided he was going to be incompetent. His decision of over looks were more than blatant and pedantic. Cardiff were brutal and mardy in equal combinations. Warnock just stood absolutely poker faced at his teams antics. It has been witnessed many time from his teams, so it is obviously encouraged. There were several instances where blatant gamesmanship and blatant fouls were performed to no avail from the referee, yet to the chagrin of the Rams supporters. The referee was the only person to decide Keogh had grabbed an opponents shirt when a fracas in the Rams penalty area was in full force, hence Cardiff were given a life line which they took, albeit much to the disappointment of Roos who only just missed saving the ball from entering the goals. Over all the performance from the Rams was an improvement. The sight of Huddleston increasing his walking pace into a trot with the ball at his feet was one notable issue to mention and the occasional sight of Lawrence trying. Bielik showed promise by running the ball into the Cardiff half yet no one gave hiom a decent option or support, the same applies to Holmes. Marriot needs a pass just wide of the full backs not in the air, Waghorn showed some really good football skill, having been given some freedom to be more self expressive, this could be an omen for the future.
Maybe Cocu has got a reputation for giving young players a chance, yet is it a good move when the results are not in his favour yet the potential from these lads is encouraging. It is a paradox as to decide who is to be chosen. He has obviously given much thought and decided to add one at a time instead of several at once. Hence the team chosen against the Bluebirds was a more experience outfit. If only two better players were available to take Huddleston’s shirt and Lawrence’s shirt: (who by the way showed the same apathy when wearing the red shirt of Wales). Then more involvement from these two positions would benefit this team greatly. The inclusion of Bielik and Holmes changed the style of play straight away, now the forwards have to be more aware of these two players style and get themselves in a position from the hard work these two lads do. The passing back from the forwards is still too dominant. This is an obvious sign of timidity and fear when in possession of the ball. What was most pleasing though was to see such as Holmes and Bielik with their back to the opposing goal collect the ball then turn around and go with it rather than to pass back to the full backs. This excites the crowd and must pump more enthusiasm into the players to continue to do it. To see Chris Martin named was a fillip to the supporters. He has shown great determination to get back from when Pearson sent him to Fulham and maybe now he is a little more wiser with the same acumen his height and presence could suit the centre midfield position. (Also his notable wardrobe style of play). If Cardiff can get the benefit from gamesmanship, then why not the Rams. It could be that Derby are a little too honest and need to be more street wise. Martin can encourage this and as an old favourite he could enthuse the fans as well.
Leeds United 1 The Rams 1
Who can recall that unforgettable event the victor named “Rope a dope” The boxing match that Mohammed Ali won by allowing Joe Foreman to punch himself out until he was so fatigued and mentally gone it then allowed Mohamed to knock ten bells out of him and win the contest. In a similar fashion, Derby did a similar ploy in this game albeit not actually done by design. Derby were suffering the same collective insecurity at Elland Road as they did last season in the league game. It was as if they were psychologically in dream land and went through the motions without any gusto or determination. Some of their antics were so woeful it was embarrassing to watch. How on earth Leeds failed to win this game can be put down as the eighth wonder of the world. Some outside influence must have been with the Rams to deny the Whites a goal feast. Roos in goal was so edgy he needs to have counselling. It is not to often Keogh gets berated yet he was the instigator of so many cock ups the abacus was worn out. Huddleston need not have been on the field. Jo Flo was just a waste of time his pussy foot attempts to tackle were farcical. Clarke collected the anxiety from all the rest of the team and Bielik was there but what did he do that was notable. It was obvious Marriot would be shut out, so to Waghorn yet who stood out to get the plaudits? The answer to this creates silence. Cocu to give him some credit realised the somnambulism in his chosen eleven and decided to change the set up. On came the warddrobe, off went Marriot, on came Knight for Holmes and although this was with about fifteen minutes to go it was noticeable that the Leeds team were getting fatigued from their hard endeavours, for they run around like ants until they just cannot do it at the same pace when the time is running out. It was at this juncture that the Rams started to show some of their ability. Martin kept winning the free kicks from his “warddrobe act”. Not just that though he got involved with the game and from setting up a good move where the ball was on the right wing under the charge of Lowe who sent it across the penalty area to Patterson who touched it on to Martin who was on the left corner when it came to him he duly obliged to put the Leeds crowd into silent mode. Hence why this game can now be labeled in a similar classification as “Rope a Dope” because Leeds had tired so much they could not stop Martin scoring. Derby took advantage of this and in some degree finished the stronger of the two teams. Yet why oh why is it that they are so doleful. It is understandable if one or two players are having a “bad day at the office” however for eleven to be off it all at the same time is mystyfing. They show promise in one game then give an abysmal performance the next game. Why?
It is still contentious that someone within the team is putting to much anxiety into the minds of the players. They come out with so much pent up emotions that they are to timid to express themselves in case they are berated for doing it. All the adages can be addressed to the way they play, hot potato; pussy footing; timidity; bad decision making; ball watching, and it can go on and on. What makes it worse is that they are, or supposed to be, professional footballers, who get a tidy sum of pound coins on a regular basis yet seem to delight in the fact they do not have to earn it. The basic tactics within a game are cast aside and one of the worst for doing this is Keogh. It is said in a facetious manner that if he goes across the half way line he will get a nose bleed, that is why he never leaves his own penalty area. He has this quaint system of being able to lift his left foot into the air and pass the ball with his right foot to his left at the same time. Maybe he should practice kicking the ball forward and when having perfected it do it in a game. Huddleston is the same he too cannot pass over the half way line, just in case he gets lost. The full backs as one unit will not push up, the mid field reacts the same so then there are seven in their own half whilst the three forwards are battling it out with the opposition, who clear the ball to their waiting midfield and away they go. Within two passes the ball is in the Rams penalty area and the Ram fans are holding their breath. If Roos gets it then the best farce begins. He rolls it out to the dormant Keogh who stands still with the ball under his foot until he gets a visit from the opposition then in panic he sends square ball pass to either Clarke or Lowe who are immediately challenged (because the opposition read the pass) and then it is ping pong until the ball gets pumped away or it goes back to Roos who starts the process off again. Such pathetic play inspires the opposition fans to sing the song “Your supporting (expletive) excreta” It is a fact; we are.The Rams 3 Birmingham City 2
15.00 hrs on Saturday 27th September, the referees whistle blows to commence the game and four fifths of the assembled crowd’s thoughts transfer from the sordid events four days ago to what will the next ninety minutes bring. 15.02 hrs and these thoughts were expunged as a scuffed kick at the ball by Chris Martin sent it trickling over the goal line with Mr Camp the Birmingham goalkeeper on all fours truly bemused and groping at fresh air, meanwhile the four fifths of the crowd went into joyous rapture. Was this the panacea needed to wipe out the evil aura hanging over Pride Park? Would this the harbinger of an exciting and successful game just to give every one the required spiritual lift? The answer soon came about. Birmingham had come to make a bad week for the Rams an even worse one. They more or less out played their host for the remainder of the first half. Partly by their own ability and partly by the abject play by the Derby team in general. The abysmal attempt by Roos to “play out from the back” needs to be eliminated it fails nine times out of ten (or even ten times) This malady makes Roos very unsettled and needs to be addressed sooner than later. The placing of Bielick in the back four was a bad move. He needs to replace Huddleston. Davis was constant all the time and so was Lowe. Malone was again his reckless self. Holmes shows himself and so to Waghorn and Martin and Patterson occasionally. Flo Jo was in his usual mode, pathetic and ineffective. At the interval it was still one nil and in reality the Rams were lucky. So to the onset of the second half. Within three minutes it was two to the Rams with Waghorn getting the goal his determination and efforts deserved. Now the Rams could settle down and begin to show their supporters what they had paid to watch. Alas it was not to be. The stupid way they have for some reason inherited continued and from a corner kick by the Blues that seemed togo straight into the goal, the mood changed. Two minutes later from a half hearted clearance by Huddleston the ball landed perfectly to a Birmingham defender just outside the penalty area who sent it directly past Roos. The four fifths of the crowd were now back into morose mood. It seemed as if this was going to be another draw to mooch over until a square pass just inside the Blues half landed at Jamie Patterson who ran on into the penalty area and sent the ball past a hapless Mr Camp and into the onion bag for the Rams third goal. A really good effort from the lad who deserved it because he began to show his true ability during the second half. At long last the Rams won three points at home and sent the four fifths of the crowd back to their homes with a smile on their face.
Two goals in three minutes can be said for the inclusion of Chris Martin. One in the last minute at Leeds and the other within two minutes against Birmingham. If this is not enough to make Cocu think, then what is. Martin needs to have more game time as centre forward. His style of play will benefit Marriot and Waghorn. He has the foresight to be in the right place at the right time so when his compatriots begin to understand this the goals will come. Flo Jo is not for championship football. His positional play and marking his opponents is non existent. His football ability against quality defenders is just not to the standard required. He had one opportunity and instead of finding the net he found a supporter sat in row “N” That was his only contribution. He should not have started or been substituted earlier than he was. Patterson began to shine later in the game and getting the goal will give him a boost. Huddleston must know he is playing on borrowed time. All that was needed was to put Davis in place of Keogh with Clarke, Bielick in the centre mid field, with Holmes and Patterson and the forwards Waghorn, Martin and Marriot. Cocu seems to play too technical. His Dutch ways will not win in the Championship. It needs the good old English style of proper gaol kicks and a midfield winning the knock downs. A bold centre forward is a must, which Martin can provde. The bravery of Waghorn and the ability of Marriot will always be an exciting formula. With Bogle at right back and Lowe at left back this team will begin to worry other teams. The idea that eleven persons are needed to defend a corner kick has come back in as well. It is obvious that if the ball is cleared out to whom will it go to? However Cocu has other ideas and his ways and team choices do not suit the majority of the Ram fans, which if he persists in playing personnel out of position he will soon face the wrath of the people who pay his wages. One example of his warped thinking was announcing Huddleston as Captain, he held this accolade for three days before Davis was resurrected and handed the arm band. Lastly, has Roos become a Muslim? Every time he stopped the ball he fell onto his knees, kissed the ground and stayed in that position for a few swconds, just as if he was praying to Mecca. It makes one wonder, don’t it?
Barnsley 2 The Rams 2
Two points dropped because the team just cannot or will not dominate. The way they succumb to enthusiastic yet less skilful opposition is pitiful. Derby have to show they are just as enthusiastic, determined and aggressive as their opponents, yet for some unexplainable reason they shy away. They play good football for a couple of moments then decide they have done enough and go back into their shell. It showed up in this game straight from the kick off by passing the ball about in their own half and allowing Barnsley to push them back until Roos has to bash the ball up field which is then played into the Reds possession and the Rams are again defending. Such silly play enthuses the opposition and the result is the Rams lose a goal. The forward play with Martin is much improved yet it only fires on two “cylinders” instead of three for the majority of the game. Lawrence is so abject yet keeps the shirt. What was astonishing during the eleventh minute (so astonishing it was noted) was that Huddleston gathered a pass ran with it, (repeat, ran with it) and has a shot on goal. It must be the first time in eons he has done such a deed. He did not do it again which was noted. The persistence in the six yard box by the Rams got the ball to Martin who slammed it into the onion bag for his third goal in three games. Then of all the incidents to occur, just two minutes or so before the break, Lawrence was fouled in the penalty area. It was the only time he came to prominence, and Huddleston scored the penalty, yet did damage to his hamstring doing it. Off he went to be replaced by Clarke. In the second half Bielick played centre half and the team seemed to brighten up yet they still seemed retarded and not willing to express themselves. They would sooner pass the ball than be selfish. Patterson began to shine by being the only one to do it himself. Then Cocu steps in and substitutes the wrong player. Barnsley were scared of Martin so he is taken off and the forwards became less effective and Barnsley began to dominate because the Rams could not attack with relish. Holmes another one of the Rams better stars was taken off and the team fell to pieces and from this the Reds got their most desired, a goal. Nothing more than they deserved and nothing more than the Rams deserved for being to subservient.
Cocu has to shape up. Some of his considerations are beyond rteproach. How can it be that two of the players who have brought disgrace onto the club, almost ruined another team mates football future, then be chosen to play. Lawrence has been under performing since he scored at Huddersfield. His contribution to every game since must have a rating of two percent, and that is being kind. He gets himself drunk smashes his car into a post and as said ruins Keoghs future. Yet within ten days he is chosen to play although he is due to be tried for drink driving and supposedly faces sanctions by the club. He should have been ostracised until the trial has been fulfilled and never considered to play for Derby. Bennet should suffer the same fate yet, was also chosen and put on the field as substitute for Holmes. The mighty big question is; why. Cocu has a lot to answer for. He is just being oblivious to the majority of the Derby fans feelings about the whole sordid affair. He is not man enough to show he is the boss and does not accept behaviour of such disgraceful magnitude. It seems as if the two miscreants have had a pat on the head and told not to do it again. What thoughts go through the other players minds who show respect for their employers then witness lawbreakers being accepted whilst the management is pretending nothing is wrong. Lawrence is just not good enough for the team. Every pundit has remarked about it, even when he was in the red shirt for Wales he was criticised for his non contribution. Surely there must be a better more determined left winger in the reserves who is wanting the chance. Cocu has no alternative than to wake up and see what every one else sees, and thinks what a myriad of Ram fans are thinking. Whist he does, or shows, such degraded decisions he will not be a favourite at Pride Park. Fan fury will be the end of him. Social media will be so hot over his latest stupid tendency to deride common sense he will be drummed out of town.
The Rams 2 Luton Town 0
The words to describe this game at Pride Park have not been invented yet, so the words as printed in the Oxford Dictionary will have to suffice. It is awfully difficult to find them because naughty unusable (workshop / factory words) keep blocking the path to them. Why is it that industrial language is at the forefront? The answer is because the players apart from one or two were so abysmal. To begin with. Is it a crime or nepotism that allows Flo Jo to stay on the field playing , sorry not playing, the game to a standard necessary. Chris Martin trying all the time maybe its not going for him occasionally is substituted yet Flo Jo stands watching, Patterson the one who is playing his heart out substituted, whilst Flo Jo stands watching. An example why he is not in favour. A lobbed ball come to him, what did he do? He ducked his head so it would not hit him and allowed it to continue to the Luton goalkeeper. His participation and adaption and non enthusiasm is so significant it shouts yet his compatriot does not here it. Cocu and his team choice is so bizarre it will not be too long before the fans begin to complain heavily as mentioned in the last opinion write up. Even the game itself was bizarre, The first goal a back pass to the Luton goalkeeper went under his foot and nestled comfortably in the Luton onion bag.. Could this upset to the Hatters be the catalyst to bring the best out of the Rams. No it was not. They faffed about passing the ball amongst the back four and Roos for most of the time, until the crowd showed their displeasure at such play. Had it not been for the crowd it would have continued. Roos is a tidy goal keeper he has proved it yet his confidence and maybe his instructions are making him very unsettled so why is this not rectified? Lawrence (should he or should he not be chosen to play) was his usual two percent. He came into the game in spits and slops in the second half and by sheer fluke scored a nice goal. Yet why is it he does not involve himself to a greater degree? It was not all bad though. Bielick in the mid field is in his forte and Shinnie at last getting his first start showed that this will not be his last and was given the accolade of Man of the Match. If Cocu wakes up and realises that with Bogle on the right and Lowe on the left because (Molly) Malone cannot play a ball forward, then Martin and Waghorn with Marriot on the front row he will have a set up that will do him proud. His way of playing is contrary to the way these players have been coached from their early days and he is try to put square pegs in round holes.
Cocu is running the tight rope in the eyes of a good many Ram fans. At three o’clock when the team was announced the groan all over the Derby City centre made those folk in Nottingham laugh. Where does his thinking come from? Does he do it on purpose or pretend that footballers cannot play two games in four days. These fellas are athletes almost as fit as those running around in the Athletics World Championship. Mind you some do enjoy a pint or two when off duty yet still get chosen. When he is stood in his enclosure is he blind to certain persons to whom he gives faith abusing his faith? It is strange when twenty five thousand can spot inability, yet the one that matters cannot. The talk was he has had a good week training and the players have talked about how they play and how they should play and how the opposition play and even some more yet it never comes to fruition during those ninety minutes that matter. Anyone who has or is involved with phycology and motivation can see from the deployment of the players they are under duress. Collectively they are dormant and unwilling to play with freedom and self expression. Davis plays as if he is Keogh in disguise. Passing the ball square or to his right wing / back who then sends it back and the sequence of passing the ball to nowhere is played out until the crowd wake them up. There is no guile, no panache, no cheeky set pieces, it is all so formal, text book football. The opposition know the way the Rams are going to play from watching videos (between naps) when they train. Between naps because Derby would cure insomniacs quite easily. This lack of good concentration and simple thinking and playing with some passion has to be got rid of. Or else the name of the stadium will have to eliminate the word Pride, because lets face it there is none of that in this squad at the present time.
To have to write some report on a game of football which has stirred the emotions to a degree of fury is awfully difficult. To quote the wireless comentator “Hang your heads in shame Derby County” He could pass this remark because he had witnessed a most shameful exhibition from a gang of fellows who purport to be professional footballers representing the city of Derby. The last Heanor Reporter write up suggested there were no created words in the English language to describe the abject performance given by the Rams. There are some though alas they are blanked out, bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep ….. No matter what is said this team are the worst Derby County team to wear the shirts since they played in the premiership in 2007. All that can be said in mitigation by the pundits is they have no Mason Mount, or Harry Wilson, maybe not yet does that automatically stop those that are in the team grasping the nettle and say to themselves “I want to be a Mason Mount or a Harry Wilson” Maybe the problem could be that Cocu is an autocratic manager, and demands that the players do not play their own style of game, they have to play how he demands, hence it is contrary to the players natural way they have played all their football lives. When out on the pitch they must feel as if they have the weight of his wrath on their shoulders if they disobey their manager. It took eighty six minutes before Bennett who came on as a substitute to test the Charlton goalkeeper. Prior to that not one attempt and a powder puff display by every one of those with a white shirt on. The outcome was “We will have to regroup and try again on Wednesday against Wigan” What a load of bleep bleep bleep
There is only one conclusion and it is not a very nice one. It appears that the majority of the players are all on the p….. for most of the week and cannot perform well enough on a Saturday. It is a cruel statement after the shameful antics of the past yet what else can be assumed. There is a malaise amongst them and this has to be got rid of. When the manager is interviewed he speaks as is he is not fully sober and his description of the game is far too technical. When England played in Bulgaria they were passing the ball side to side and back for the majority of the game which no doubt Cocu would be so very pleased to see for it is or seems to be his forte, however it is not to the ordinary English football fans enjoyment. It becomes boring to watch and incenses the crowd. Charlton played the English style and passed the ball quickly, forward, and this proved the undoing of Derby. Yet the million dollar question is, Why don’t Derby do the same? When the attitude and commitment of a management decide that Dutch football only loses games in the Championship, them maybe the “Euro” will drop.
The Rams 1 Wigan Athletic 0
Graeme Shinnie scored a brilliant goal in the ninety second minute to win the game for the Rams. What occurred in the preceding time does not warrant a mention.The team were abhorrent especially in the first half. They persistently played like school boys just kicking the ball any where with out any real purpose or consideration. Malone was the biggest culprit for being grossly negative, and bad decision making. In contrast Wigan were without any doubt the better team and showed Derby how to play the game by running with the ball and running without the ball. They wanted to win. They have not won away from home this season and showed determination to put that record to bed. Alas they were playing a team who just about stopped them from achieving their goal. The bad luck they had in not getting on the score sheet will make all those wearing the blue shirt, blue. Derby by comparison never looked like scoring and gave the impression to the faithful fans they were not bothered if they did not score. The crowd were silent and at half time let out a big moan rather than a jeer. Martin replaced Patterson from the onset of the second half and they must have had a flee in their ear as well because they began to show more enthusiasm. Yet it was Wigan edging it all the while. Malone was dreadful yet still allowed to play on. Waghorn was trying maybe a little too much and unfortunately erred to many times. He was taken off and showed disdain from it to allow Marriot to come into the game, yet sadly he just could not get going on the right wing. He did his very best yet that was when he was in his own penalty area. At last Cocu had seen what the twenty four thousand had seen and took Malone off for Lowe to take the left back berth all to late unfortunately. Still Wigan seemed the more likely to score until Shinnie swung his right foot at the ball and saw it fly at great speed past Marshall in the Wigan goal to give the crowd something to cheer at. One last mention is for Lawrence who at long last showed up and did some good runs yet still failed to do what he is paid to do.
In rertospect, the team that ended this game looked a lot more self assured than any squad has done for quite a while. If Cocu has any sense, which to a lot of Ram fans he seems to be short of, he will allow those that finished the game to start on Saturday against Hull. He insists on changing the team every game and wonders why they do not gell. If for once he selects an unchanged eleven them maybe the trend will be upwards. It is folly to substitute the forwards when the full backs or midfield are not sending the ball to them. It was also too obvious that of the ten out field players nine of them want to defend, which allows the opposition to push their defenders onto attack. If one mid field and one forward stayed out of their own penalty area then they would deny the opposition to be there as well so if the ball is sent out at least there will be a Ram to hopefully get it. The same applies when defending corner kicks. They have all eleven players in the ‘box so when it is cleared there is only an opposition player to retrieve the ball. This is sheer bad decision making and has to be addressed sooner than later. As mentioned in previous reports there is no guile or craft applied it is all textbook football. It becomes more noticeable when other teams set up and work quicker and are more thoughtful than Derby. It is no disgrace to copy other methods because other teams are gaining from these tactics that the Rams fail to do. Cocu has no option than to come off his high horse and realise that his system does not work to get three points. A good honest performance of good honest English style football is more rewarding than keeping possession for three quarters of the time, then losing the game because when the Rams lose the ball the opposition run into the Rams half and do what the game demands, Scoring a goal. To watch how the back four just amble out of the penalty area when the ball is out of their half is abysmal. Wigan ran out at the very second the ball went up field. Yes they ran out in unison. In comparison Derby walked out in a zig zag fashion. It is just not good enough.