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.Hull City 2 The Rams 0
When all is said and done this was just about an improvement in performance yet it was also another Co Cu Co ck (c)u p. He just cannot stop meddling with the team selection. if he does not play the same squad for a couple of games then the results will still be the same. Why oh why does he do this. The team that ended the win against Wigan seemed to gel a bit so why not let them begin where they left off. He just will not or cannot do this. His substitutions are wayward. He removes a midfield for a forward? Then because his team selection was wrong he decides to redress the situation too late. He seems to be a manager that is lost in his own confusion. On the playing front, the recent two performances by Lawrence need to be mentioned. Has he drained the alcohol from his system and put his mind to his chosen profession and instead of visiting the “offi” and reverted back to doing what he is paid to do? Alas the form of Clark has taken a dip. He has to realise the time on the ball is very limited against the sharpness of the championship forwards, and cannot dilly dally trying to turn round with the ball. Roos gave a more assured performance so did the two full backs yet having said that they are all prone to lapses and errors. Martin does what he is asked to do and again the others seem as if they are not on the same wavelength so he gets pulled off. Mr Cocu is simply playing at being a manager, he is bereft in experience of the championship and bereft of being able to keep a settled team. the days are now numbered for the arrival of ; guess who? so is it that it is just a case of playing to get a point here and there and hoping the “saviour” will do the job he wants.
Apart from a couple of players the same set were here last season and should have got a lot of knowledge about how to beat their opponents and “beat” the referees. However it is as if they come out of league two to play in the championship for in many ways they show they are only of that standard. They do not show any thought of tactics, show any cohesion, show any enthusiasm, aggression or detrmination. It can be more exciting to watch league two because they “get stuck in” The attitude and wanting to do well for themselves is grossly lacking, hence it follows on they are not willing to do well for Derby County. These players showed more last year than they give this season.Why? It all boils down to the coaching staff not winding them up to do well before they go over that white line. They warm up with the same routine every game so they have closed their minds and can go through the warm up with eyes shut tight. When they come back out they are so full of negativity it is impossible to become alive. In comparison to the opponents they are too slow, too static and show no real desire unless the opportunity comes along that gives them the chance to do something to please. They let their emotions control them and then see yellow, all because they are subdued from the first whistle. There is no real positive motivation inside them, what they do between games in training is a mystery, for there is no improvement from one game to the next. Cocu has some funny ways and if this continues then league one beckons.
1/11/2019 The sacking of Richard Keogh
Having given this event some very deep and thought full consideration and speaking with other Ram fans the conclusion is that the end product of sacking Keogh was taken from the culmination of other factors being taken into consideration. The excuse given of a fiscal refusal only painted over a host of other factors the like of which will never be disclosed yet by conjecture can be taken into account. The first issue is the way he played his game. How many times did he pass the ball square or backwards, He hardly ever sent a long pass up the right wing. he would pass it to his right back who was immediately hassled thus the ball came back to him. Then he would pass it square whilst other players waited for him to send it forward, the result being that other players began to loose faith in him. How often did he make the effort to squeeze the game by running up to the half way line. he always hung back about three to five yards from his penalty area. It is unfair to recall the ball bouncing off him that gave QPR the winning goal at Wembly, yet this is one example of his many failings. He was captain. Did he show a leadership within the team during a game, did he set an example to motivate the team all the time in every game. His negative style had the opposite effect. Explain to yourself why players of the ilk of Craig Bryson, Joe Ledley, Alex Pearce, George Thorne, David Nugent, Bradley Johnson, Luke Thomas jumped ship very quickly. Here say tells us he was disgustingly abusive at the “bonding party” to the barman. He told the paramedic a lie about his name when in agony in the wreck. He showed not authority to the two drunks, instead he encouraged them to drive him home. The most disturbing incident that has to be answered is why did Lawrence and Bennett leave him in the wreck on that fateful night. Would you leave a cherished colleague in a smashed up car? This was done because of more than one reason. Think about it. In many ways irrespective of what has been said. it can be concluded that his popularity stake among his fellow players was not very high. maybe he was the “bad apple” and that this awful accident accelerated the chance to expunge the bad aura surrounding the team. The stigma will take a while to dilute yet as far as the verdict goes this could be the advent of better harmony within the club and players.
The Rams 2 Middlesbrough 0
A change in personal and set up was greeted by most Ram fans for this game. The crowd favourites M & M were on the forward line Lawrence was put behind them with Holmes Bielik and Shinnie in midfield. The only doubt was the other M M (Molly) Malone at left back. It took just 2 minutes for the first cock up by both teams when Davis failed to clear the ball and the The Boro forward with an open goal could not decide how to score, so the potential was lost to Boro with a huge sigh of relief to the Rams. Boro wanted to do well for their scoring record was the worst in the league and from that last display it was obvious why. They battled away yet to no avail against the back four of Derby. Little by little the new formula for the Rams was coming through and they began to put two passes together yet their own football ability was the problem. At last from a scramble and ping pong on the edge of the Boro penalty area Lawrence had the chance and left the Boro goal keeper floudering. Even after the goal Derby just could not dominate. They showed willingness to do so and played some attractive football however silly decisions and poor passing and the lack of determination to be first to a lose ball let them down. Boro lost a player to a red card which gave an advantage to the Rams who just could not take it. In the second half Boro packed their defence and than at every opportunity broke out fast. Derby played as if it was old mans walking football in comparison. The crowd were silent until again Lawrence found an opportunity from the left hand side of the six yard line and the ball was nestled in the onion bag. At last the crowd woke up and for the last ten minutes Boro just played it out as best they could whilst Derby remained semi comatose. Performance comes before points only in the Oxford dictionary yet in football it is reversed. So even if the enjoyment of watching Derby win is not over fulfilling at least the pleasure is secured by three points.
Cocu has to prove he is master plonker by substituting for the sake of it. His way of ensuring confidence and motivation in a player is expunged he has to take them out of the play. Chris Martin is a crowd favourite and he gives one hundred percent all the time even if it does not work for him. He was partnered by Marriot, Little and Large. Boro had two large defenders who Martin kept quiet. He was doing what was needed, so Cocu pulls him off. Why? Waghorn is another tryer, another player the crowd warm to, yet against tall defenders he is at a disadvantage hence the forward play when Martin was gone failed to be acute. Malone did a bit better than usual yet only a bit. Shinnie began to loose his way a little in the second half and hung back. The worst display was by Davis and Clark who never pushed up to squeeze the play. They had the ball at their feet about five yards from their penalty area, then stood looking to whom they could pass too. Of course whilst the ball is in transit the opposition can gauge where it will go to and be ready for it. The number of times they could run the ball up to the half way line then send a more potent pass was innumerable. Just very poor decision making and a gross lack of football strategy. Holmes began to show some good intent and it is pleasing to note that Lawrence is beginning to put his past erring to one side and do what he is paid to do. Marriot seems to have lost some of his Mojo yet he keeps on battling and hopefully it will return. Roos is an enigma. He seems to be edgy and cannot get into the right mind. If Cocu decides to use the same eleven next Saturday then maybe the Reds could be put to the sword. Bielik may be a doubt which will be a blow so let us all hope he is not to bad and the ice pack does him a favour.Nottingham Forest 1 The Rams 0
Do not look at this result and moan, the goal score does not resemble the way the game was played. The Rams were the better team for the majority of the ninety minutes. At last Cocu put out an unchanged eleven and played the system which suits the players, and it worked. Obviously the Reds had done their homework and packed the defence to deny the Rams M & M yet who was waiting for a chance non other than Lawrence who with a bit more bumph behind his shooting then success would have been Derbys. Holmes looked quiet though and it seems as if he was carrying a knock for he did not do his usual forage with the ball so it was no surprise to see him substituted. Clark got a good thwack which created a substitution, yet it did not stop the onslaught to the Reds goal. Nottingham were taken by surprise and it took them quite a while to find their mojo yet it was all in vain against a Rams defence who were too good for them. It was all Derby for the first half. On commencement of the second half the game swung in Nottingham’s favour and the Rams had to dig deep to defend. However, the stupid way they play “from the back” was once again their undoing. Nottingham knew that if they pushed up and harassed the Rams they would do it for their good which they did and under panic Bogle did the unforgiveable, he sent a weak pass across the open penalty area for Grabbon to intersect and slot into the onion bag passed a despairing Roos. For a while the Rams were unsettled by this setback yet gathered their composure and began where they left off in the first half. In the end Nottingham were glad to hear the final whistle and celebrated as if they had won the league. In reality they were thankful they had beaten the Rams, yet only by one silly error. Derby were the better team and were they more assured and composed when the occasions arose then the Brian Clough trophy would be at Pride Park.
Just when the Derby team seem to be gathering some momentum another break of a couple of weeks comes along. The last two outings have shown an upsurge in performances and even when substitutions have been carried through the momentum has not been lost. This was most evident at the City Ground. There were eleven man of the match awards; for every player played as good as each other. Martin can be singled out for his awareness and given a bit more time to partner with Marriot then they could be a force to be reckoned with along with Lawrence waiting for the knock back. The mid field has at long last become to be recognised. Shinnie alas seems to run out of “gas” after seventy five minutes, Bielick is now showing more determination to run the game, and a fit Holmes does what a fit Holmes is capable of. The full backs are gaining confidence and Roos in this last game seems to have left his hesitation at home. It may be instructions to play out from the back yet someone needs to stand up an stop it. Maybe owing to the loss in this last game that “someone” will call time on this stupid practice. It will be a different game when these two meet at Pride Park, for Derby are in the ascendancy whilst the Reds are winning on luck. The Rams in retrospect have found a formula that is beginning to show through so now they need to continue this improvement. It is a shame they have to wait until the 22nd November for them to show the faithful they are wanting to play well and win. The daunting problem is they meet Preston who are on a wave at the moment, yet it will be interesting to see if the Rams have the same commitment against Preston (both ends ! ) as they had against those Reds.
The Rams 1 Preston North End 0
When the team was announced the moans went up once again. Two changes, no Jack Marriot it was Mason Bennet. and surprise, surprise in the left entre back was Craig Forsythe. Speculation on both choices was widespread. It was Forsythe’s first game for over one year since his third nasty knee injury and why Bennett? Just a few moments into the game and it was Bennet getting all the plaudits. He was showing aggression, determination and enthusiasm which excited the crowd. Then the inevitable occurred his voodoo showed itself. he was taken out, by the last defender who was lucky to only see yellow whilst the crowd were baying for red. Prior to this Shinnie was the receiver of a bad tackle from which he was withdrawn and Evans was put in. Waghorn took over from Bennett when the latter realised he could not continue. Only twenty minutes of the game had elapsed and two substitutes were all ready on the field. Now the good news. Derby were playing the best they have played in ages. Forsythe was the initiator of good defending and clearing the ball with positive results. Lawrence was by now the best player on the field and with a bit more selfish consideration could have got a goal or even two. The only goal came when Holmes sent over a nice corner kick for Davis to back head and Waghorn was there for the ball to hit him and deflect into the goal. It was all Derby in the first half so the crowd were expecting the same for the second forty five minutes. The problem was that Preston were not going to let them be dominated. Yet a good solid defence by Derby with some very good efforts to get a second goal kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. Lawrence calmed down to his usual fifty percent of effort whilst Forsythe continued to dominate the Lilywhites forwards single handed. The referee had a few bad decisions and seemed to favour the players wearing yellow, whilst the Rams took it all in a calm attitude and gave the twenty seven thousand supporters reasons to be cheerful about. Especially after a tense four minutes extra time when Preston tried without any fortune to get an equaliser.
In the past after an International break, Derby have shown a lethargic attitude and maybe just scraped a win or a draw, and sometimes lost the game. This was a revelation. They were dominant from the first whistle and every one of the players was on form, bar one. Roos was showing his usual hesitational form. He insists on rolling the ball to a full back at the time in the game when he should slam it up field. He has Martin to get the knock down and Bielick to collect it. He decided to punch it away a couple of times instead of catching it and was fortunate not to be collecting the ball out of his onion bag when he punched it to a yellow shirted player. The style Derby played was to send a pass forward instead of square, (Keogh style eliminated), and the runs that Lawrence and Waghorn were able to do excited the crowd and dominate the Preston defence. It was only the players poor ball control at crucial moments that let them down. Bogle in particular tends to try too hard. All in all it was the best performance Derby have given at home this season. One thing marred the game though. Cocu decided to substitute Martin who had shown a commanding influence against the Lilywhites defenders, given some neat passes to his fellow team mates and kept those yellow defenders on their mettle. Cocu decided to change the style to three, five, two and the Rams fell quiet. This allowed Preston to overrun the Rams for the last ten minutes. This was a serious bad ploy by the manager. Wisdom was put in at right midfield and he did nothing of note. This was a substitution for the sake of it, and could have cost the Rams two points. Cocu seems to go hot and cold, some of his decisions fail to please the crowd, and not every one is on his side, as yet. However to change the subject was it not pleasing to watch Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori play for England, and Harry Wilson wearing the red shirt for the Principality. Let us believe it was the education and experience of playing for Derby that has given them this accolade.
Fulham 3 The Rams 0
Woeful. Abysmal. Lack luster. Abject. Pathetic. How many more negative adjectives can be mustered up to describe eleven grown men, paid well to do a job they (supposedly) love to do, yet will not do it to a satisfactory standard to please a host of fans who worship them. What are the statistics for away games? The last five away games have produced no goals for and ten goals against. Every game they play the same useless performance comes about. Mr Cocu must have some input into it, for his sets up either the system or motivation and fails constantly. When interviewed after the game he speaks in such a fashion it is impossible to follow his train of thought, so if he talks that way to the media he must talk the same way to the players hence they too must be bewildered in what he is saying to them and this is transferred onto the pitch so that the players are all at sixes and sevens. Against Nottingham Forest he played the diamond so he did likewise against Preston and both games produced a good performance Prior to that he played 4 4 2 or 4 4 1 1 which failed miserably. Against Fulham he played 4 4 1 1 and what happens? the result was shambolic. Why on earth does he change things? This is making the fans disgruntled and angry. If the players enjoy and can play a system then let them continue to get better at it and to enjoy success. It seems that he is too domineering and insists that the players play his way whether it works or not. Well if that is his methods then Derby will be playing Chesterfield in the Varnara League within a few years.
An amusing true tale. Tommy Docherty was appointed the manager of Rotherham many years ago when Rotherham were in division three. His opening statement to the fans was “I will get this club out of division three this coming season” Well, he did. They were relegated to division four. It seems that history may be repeated at Pride Park Opinion has been written in the result blog so there is not much more to be said, except that the rumour has it that “His almighty” may be in the dug out at the game against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. If this is the panacea that will bring success to the team then we are all for it. The only success that will occur is the terraces will be full. The team will probably be encouraged to play a bit better to ensure that they keep their shirt, yet will they score one more goal than QPR? It is odd that they lost to Fulham in the play off’s and their next game is against QPR who beat them at Wembley. From the way their emotions are now then it will be impossible to expect anything positive. However no doubt after the contemptable performance all eleven showed they are fully capable of producing it will be awfully difficult to lift themselves at home. As soon as they show the same doleful attitude the fans will let them know. The other muttering on the grapevine is that Roos’s goalkeeping days are being countered. There was a sudden shock at Craven Cottage when from a high ball coming across his six yard area he caught it, and three Ram fans fainted !!
The Rams 1 Queens Park Rangers 1
He was announced and introduced to the crowd ten minutes before the purgatory began, Wayne Rooney was the highlight of the afternoon. The remaining hundred and fifteen minutes was the low light of the afternoon. Cocu decided to change the personnel and the formula once again for reason known only to himself. Hence the team were fully non-functional, incohesive, lethargic, and by far the worst of the two teams. This manager fails to see what the twenty thousand or so fans see. They know Malone is cavalier. On one occasion he stood with the ball at his feet directing where his mates need to be so that he could pass to them. How ridiculous is that? They know that Wisdom has wisdom as a name only, no soundness of judgement, they know that Waghorn playing on the left wing fails, they know that sky bound passes to Marriot fails, he need to be able to leap six foot to out jump the tall solid defenders, they know that Bogle is far better at full back than as an attacking midfielder. They also know that if the midfield and full backs do not pass the ball forward the attackers cannot do their job to score goals, so why substitute the centre forward? To drop Lowe for Malone was sheer folly. To drop Martin was sheer folly. To play Wisdom was akin to playing a motorway road cone. Not once did he move forward with he ball at his feet, he froze as soon as the ball came to him. Holmes began to show some determination, Lawrence played for ten minutes then decided he had done his bit. Evans made up the eleven. The change of goal keeper made came with a sigh of relief yet overall it was not a full success. The apathetic attitude continued from last Tuesday and this style played at Pride Park is just not good enough. Cocu must be the instigator of this, and if this is what we pay our weekly earnings to watch then sooner or later that income will be spent elsewhere and not at Pride Park.
Listening to the comments that fans send into the wireless programme, the majority tell common sense and just as it is, yet when the manager comes to speak to the media he sees things in a different way. He watches them “train” every day, He sees them pass the ball and dribble past each other. Even kids know how to beat their mates on the park, yet when it come to a match those same players loose their concentration, loose the sight of the ball and loose their will to be the best on the field and be the first to the loose ball. They will not give one hundred percent, they will not go that “extra mile” to prove to themselves they can do it. Collectively they are all comotose, and twenty thousand Ram fans want to know why. One month to go and that window (as it is disgustingly described) is flung open. No doubt a few names can be issued as to who are surplus, and who is likely to enter the fray. If, as it seems likely, the man Rooney is acclaimed as the saviour however who will be the remainers to support him. It is madness to consider one mans intervention will be the panacea for a better team. Cocu has to reconsider why this squad fail to function. He wants to play european, Dutch, football in England with a gang of players nurtured in the English mode. If he can fit square pegs in round holes then as the saying goes “Pigs will fly” Someone needs to whisper in his ears that the failure lies at his feet and not at the feet of the players. He seems to be an arrogant person who considers his ways are the only ways, and yet he cannot make his own manic mind up to play a system that wins him football games. Instead he insists on altering his system, confusing the players, and dropping league points.
Blackburn Rovers 1 The Rams 0
Yet another visit to an away ground with nothing to come home with. Yet another visit to an away ground with nothing to shout about except when will this pathetic attitude the Rams display end. They do not try to win, they will not show any endeavour to win, they just go through the motions for ninety minutes pretending they are a football team with two thousand supporters and they get paid for being underperformers, The money paid by those two thousand supporters goes into the players pockets so why should they show any appreciation for the remitance. The day of judgement is due. Those whose commitment is noted as abject will discover the colour of the outside door to Pride Park and wonder why they are gazing at it. Too much has been said now, too much has been suffered now, and far too much frustration from footballers who are the idles of the City of Derby. To be reasonable they did stop Blackburn from scoring more than one goal, and to be fair the way the eleven played was just a little better than has been witnessed in past away games however if they passed the ball more than twice to each other the faithful followers swooned. Just absolutely useless passing and positional play was the norm whereas Blackburn who do not have great players were shown to be far superior to the Rams because their enthusiasm, determination, aggression showed through against a powderpuff outfit. Nothing can be taken once again from this away performance other than if the home record meets the away record then relegation will be on the lips of the faithful twenty thousand Ram fans.
Take a simile, of say of a worker in a factory who clocks on every day and enjoys his job. He does a good return and feels satisfied when he clocks off. The next day he clocks on and the foreman tells him he is to do another job now, and it is one he really does not want to do. He does it reluctantly, then sees someone else doing the job he enjoys doing. Can you imagine what his emotions and attitude towards his work will be. He still gets paid the same yet his commitment and dedication is just not forth coming. Now from this transfer the same to a footballer, who for a full season he plays in one position enjoys his game get good revues, and learns a lot more than he actually realises. Then one day the manager says he is to play in a different position in a different system and in a different way to what he is accustomed too. Suddenly all the laudatory is gone, he becomes sullen and cannot seem to do as well as he could or can. he watches his team mates they too seem to be suffering the same fate, and non of them are the happy bunch they were, and sniping at each other comes into the fore. Every time they play a game there is a different set of players so the understanding and cohesion does not come about. The end product is no points and abuse from the fans, which only exasperates the situation. This seems to be relevant within the Rams camp. The manager is making the players play alien to their abilities and tutoring which in turn makes the players emotions sour, the ability to play with freedom and enjoyment wane and thus the end result is not what is wanted. Cocu is to blame for this and as a manager he is wanting too much technical thought put into the players at the expense of allowing them to play their game and for him just to tweak it to eliminate certain aspects which would improve the team. it is repeated once again his Dutch system is alien to the Championship and will not fit. It can be seen that favourite players will be sold off for foreign imports. It could be that Bennet, will be sold, Patterson and Dowell will return to their parent clubs, maybe Marriot will go and there is a chance that Lawrence will be asked about. Malone is treading a tight rope, and Wisdom is also looking vulnerable. When the new year opens then a new team will emerge playing in black and white at Pride Park.
The Rams 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
This game was expected to be a ding dong battle because from past meetings it has always been a ding dong battle, yet this time it was more like a dull aimless game which had it not been for the enterprise of the Owls there would have been nothing to mention. They commanded the first halve easily and why they only had one goal to their advantage only fate can tell. The owls had ten corner kicks to the Rams none in the first forty five minutes. This epitomises the abject way the Rams continued to play from the last game at Blackburn. Wednesday played their two in form strikers, Rhodes who has personally gathered more pounds from transfers than Derby players combined in purchases, and Fletcher who had scored five goals in the last four games. In contrast Derby had their two top scorers sat on the bench. It was occasionally that Derby ventured over the half way line into the Wednesday territory, only for the attack to peter out because of over playing and not being direct. Forsyth, who since coming back from a nasty injury. could not decide what to do and in his comatose state of mind sent a sloppy pass to Bogle which was intercepted by Bannan who sent it to Fletcher who sent it passed Hamer. It was ironic because prior to this Wednesday could not score standing on the goal line owing to drastic defending by the Rams. This was a gift of a goal yet it made no difference to Faffing Forsythe he continued to be dreamy. The crowd showed their disapproval at the break by booing the Rams off the field. Was there any wonder? The second half began with the Rams uplifted probably by some industrial language aimed at them by the management. The two rejected strikers were called on to the field and the way the Rams began to show some effort was rewarded with penalty which Martin dispatched with aplomb. Although the Owls continued to try, they took off their two strikers and fortunately became a little insipid, yet even so the Rams were just as bad in front of goal even with the two main strikers.
Sheffield Wednesday have always been a difficult team to play against and their followers the Dee Daa’s from Sheffield S6 are always a rowdy lot. Spoiling what could be an enjoyable game was the way the Wednesday players were grappling and pushing illegally and being allowed to by a weak referee. If they were beaten to a ball in a close encounter they pretended to be hurt and always won a free kick. This incensed the crowd and the frustration the Derby players were subjected too was contained admirably. Eventually the inevitable yellow card was shown which displeased the crowd for it was shown to a Ram player for the wrong reason. The worst offender was the Owls right full back Odubajo who was more content on pulling and pushing and kicking the opponent and play acting as if injured which culminated in him seeing the red card. In fact the ragged way the Owls played was not conducive to an entertaining football match and these tactics will not win them friends or points. On the other hand it would not do the Derby players any harm to learn something from this game and show they can deal it out if they so desire. Alas this desire is not forthcoming. They are all too nicey, nicey and will not, “get stuck in” as the old fashioned wording goes. It was reported they had a team meeting on Monday and from this the air was cleared and a new attitude would be on show. The result from this clear the air meeting was that the two strikers who the fans enjoy watching were dropped for to “young uns” to take their place, and the current anaemic system continued unabated. The midfield missing Beilik was non operational, although Holmes did show and his passing was wayward. There is no reason to play Lawrence every game he is not giving one hundred percent. Forsythe has played his best and is now doing what he is noted for, nothing of note. Malone is still erratic, Lowe is a far better footballer at left back. It is considered that some of these players are in the shop window for the upcoming transfer period, however as is always the case if the goods do not look attractive, they will not be purchased.The Rams 0 Millwall 1
Mr Rowett brought his bunch of Lions to Pride Park, “parked the bus” then went home with three points at the expense of the Rams. The Rams have only themselves to blame. They have to take note of the crowd’s displeasure from the booing they received on leaving the playing field both at half time and full time. During the game they were given jeers by their followers for being negative and pathetic, yet never seemed to get the message that the crowd were disgruntled by their stupid antics. They have accrued five points from a possible twenty one out of the last seven games. Obviously not promotion worthy, more demotion worthy. There is something greatly amiss within the camp, whatever it is can only be speculation. many supporters are now calling for the head of Cocu. Can you blame them, when Tottenham sack their manager for less than Cocu’s miserable record. To start from the goal keeper who was installed owing to Roos being a little “unreliable”. Hamer is twice as bad. He could not see that he had every opportunity to send the ball early instead held on to it just to incense the watchers. FFFFFFFafin Forsythe. He could not decide what he had to do. So he passed the ball backwards to Hamer. Bogle was Bogle no complaints and the same applies to Davis and Lowe. Evans was there on the pitch yet absent for any thing worth while to mention and this applies to Lawrence. Holmes was the only player to get any plaudits. Knight shows he has all what is needed and just needs to have more experience with a more mature coach. Waghorn is an enigma. He tries a bit to hard he needs to calm down. Martin is wanted to get the opposing centre half out of the way for others and to get his wardrobe act more suckle. Collectively they are a team to be noted yet individually they play like a Sunday morning pub team. This game again showed they have no nous, or guile or craft or even the bravado to do it all themselves. They want to pass the ball into a crowd instead of sending an over the heads past the defenders. Not one of them runs off the ball. They pass and stand still. FFFFFForsythe gets the ball midway in his own half and stands looking asking “what do I do now” he will not run or jog with it then send an up and over for the forwards, he would rather pass it back to Hamer. The whole game was built on the “not wanting to do well and win” attitude. Not a thrilling write up or game at all.
There are two conclusions to this uneasiness within this club we love. First of all do the players really want to do well? Have they all got one intention which is to be man of the match every time they cross the white line? Are they all so fully motivated that they will run that extra mile to ensure the fans go home smiling? That they come of the field and collapse from fatigue and mental stress? Are they so consumed in concentration they never hear the final whistle? If not WHY NOT!! Secondly is the management trying several methods and personnel to discover who will do what they are wanting, in a similar way that an engineer will tweak his invention to gain improvement. Is the same management incapable of coaching the players individually or collectively to create a football team we as Derby Ram followers will enjoy watching, Is that same management team unable to motivate them all together to ensure they are all on a par with each other and can work and play with each other to ensure the end product of success is achieved. Is that same management changing the team about in style tactics and players just to be obnoxious and disliked, or to be overbearing and dominant. If so WHY? Surely all these issues cannot be relevant within the club. If they are WHY? Management is only within certain persons. A footballer can achieve great noteriety when playing, however when his boots are hung up and he enters the other side of his profession his persona can be his downfall. Too many have fallen at this hurdle and too many have done well then lost the plot. It is baffling why a manager can lead a team to success one year and fail the next. It is only in football where this applies. Contracts seem to be given out to potential managers from abroad. Why? The FA insist that a football club manager has to have the necessary qualifications to manage, and to achieve this qualification they have to be tested. Then Owners seek foreign persons to be the manager because they seem to consider these foreigners are better than the English. Then we have a situation we have at Derby, where the manager cannot speak easily to his squad and the end result is five points from a possible twenty one. There are a few fans now calling for the head of Cacu. It is arbitrary whether they be right or wrong. However can this be the advent of improved performances when he understands he has lost the support of the crowd and realises that his errors now have to be reconciled?
Reading 3 The Rams 0
The ardent and faithful fans of Derby County have to put up with all manner of occurrences when they go to watch their favourite football team. For the last few games he team have been so doleful it is a wonder that the faithful have not slowly dropped away. So once again a host of black and white persuasive stood in the Madejski Stadium to cheer on the lads who came out in black shirts and white shorts. Within minutes their hopes and aspirations were shattered when Mr Salisbury refereeing his first game in the Championship showed his dominance and lack of understanding of the rules when he sent off Malone. In some eyes it was a penalty and a yellow card in others it was a case of “last man” and a red card. So early in the game the former should apply with Malone having to play the rest of the game under the yellow card cloud. Any way from this foul the Royals scored and were one up in four minutes. This is where the word paradox can be used. Derby began to dominate and play the best they have played in weeks especially on away grounds. Knight has began to show good in his adaption, commitment, attitude and acumen. Bielik wandered in and out doing some good then some not so good whist FFForsythe continued to do the same and by faffing a pass gave the royals their second goal, then to add misery to further misery fouled again in the penalty area to give Reading their third goal. Considering the Malone incident and the Forsythe incident a similar foul was perpetrated against Knight in the Royals penalty box and the decision was a goal kick. It just proved that this Mr Salisbury was very much indecisive and manic in his conclusions. Why is it a referee can decide on a players participation in a game over one issue, and not give the same decision on a very similar issue when it effects the home team? Any way why was the word paradox used. It was used because Derby County with ten men were the better team on the day and lost. Because one man caused them to loose the game, the man whose job is to be non biased and fair. This did not apply to Mr Salisbury. What would have been the result if the game was played with eleven verses eleven. From the way the Rams applied themselves the result could have been the reverse to what it was.
Was it the sending off that inspired the Rams to be more dominant and show an enthusiastic and more aggressive attitude in this game? Or was it because it was long over due? There is so much speculation abroad over this question, it is difficult to pin it all down. The “young” players seem to becoming into the fore at each game. Sibley aged eighteen and spoken of very highly was given a few minutes in the game and got a mention or two for his efforts. Knight was as good as being the man of the match and with a bit more composure could have scored two or maybe three goals. Whittaker is slowly edging his way in as well. As much praise can be showered on these players the lack of commitment from senior players will not give these “young uns” the confidence to mature. Lawrence needs to be omitted for a long spell. FFFForsythe as well. Derby have the best young full backs in the league and now that (Molly) Malone will have to spectate for thee games Lowe has the chance to show just how good he is and to keep the shirt. Bielik must be more alert and play with a lot more culture because with Holmes and Knight by his side he has two good lads to assist him and should inspire them to play even better. The forwards are an enigma. Marriot a crowd favourite seems to be ostracised by the manager, and Martin wanders in and out and only plays for his (wardrobe) free kicks and laying the ball off for some one else, he needs to become more selfish and do the beating of defenders. Waghorn is playing outside his favoured position so is ineffective for fifty percent of the game. The window of transferring will soon be upon the game and it will be no surprise to see those not mentioned getting a mention because they will be listed to depart Pride Park. Maybe some of those mentioned may well disappear as well. Who knows? Yet who is on the outside waiting to come in is just as speculative. A lot of deals are done “under the counter” before the window is opened Many fans have names in mind, however it is those that are in the head of Mr Cocu that matter.
Wigan Athletic 1 The Rams 1
To all our readers we hope you all had a nice Christmas and that you all sobered up to watch, listen or some how found out that our Rams team played like drunken raindeer and that it was more prudent to remain intoxicated for of the two alternatives, being drunk was the better. Having said that if you watched this game in less than sobriety maybe it would not have been so painful. There is a problem within this collection of supposedly professional footballers, to listen to their leader is painful for his thinking and speaking are not congruent. The patience within the Ram fans is wearing very thin. The excuses of loosing three players from last season is dead. The excuses that injuries have caused it is dead. If they say they are playing at their best, then their best is not good enough. If they say that the introduction of the man Rooney will be the panacea for an up turn, then pigs will fly. Any sportsman no matter what the sport is has to be self motivated, to the extreme. Any team player who sees his position at risk and does not want to loose it must have the determination to keep it. This does not apply to several members of the Derby County team which has took to the field away from Pride Park in recent games. When they lost a player at Reading they showed as if they wanted to win. Hence all expected that to continue at the DW Stadium. It did not. Why? When a team is at its nadir the usual practice is to criticise them, and sure enough have they been criticised, and criticism can be a motivation, yet this has had no effect. The team is sent out with such a bad attitude they are scared to play with a relaxed and easy mind set and as a collective unit. The last minute goal by Waghorn took away a lot of the silly and pathetic play shown from the first minute to the ninety first minute. What they need to do is the reverse, start to play from minute one and score.
Five days to go and the transfer window will open. The Heanor Reporter has a sale notice up for the other ninety one football clubs. For Sale Lawrence, Forsythe, Huddleston, Ollson, Keogh, Wisdom, Malone, Bennett, Evans, Martin, Jozefzoon, and Anya, and a return to their parent clubs of Patterson and Dowell. If anyone comes with a cheque book with plenty of noughts after the first high digit then consideration will be given to any not all ready mentioned. This club has to be rid of the non triers and those at easy risk to injuries. Their style of play may probably suit during the season when one manager was installed, then along comes another manager and that player does not function because the system is changed. If this be the case then why is it the player will not change his style? In any walk of life any worker has a desire to better themselves whether it be in engineering, drapery, selling, or what ever. Yet in football they are too reluctant to change or will not up their style or personal ability to suit the current situation. so there is only one recourse, Goodbye. Every one in the club must be on tenterhooks knowing they are at risk of loosing their comfort zone, and their is only one person to blame. Themselves. The next fourteen days will make interesting news for twenty thousand Ram fans.
The Rams 2 Charlton Athletic 1
This was the ultimate game of 2019 and by way of a change a new set of words are to be used to convey this game to our readers. Enjoyable, exciting, ebullient, enthralling, awesome, and whilst enduring the last few moments, efficacious. What a pleasure it was to see our Rams playing with enthusiasm and determination. Straight from the kick off Waghorn had the best opportunity to score yet fluffed it, and it seemed that this was to be deja vu. Charlton seemed determined to get some sort of result and pressed the Rams for the next ten minutes or so until from a foray into Charlton’s half Knight, who has shown good promise of late, managed to get onto the goal line to bungle the ball and himself (via the goal post) into the Charlton’s goal. So at last, and for a change, the Rams had scored first. This gave them a lift in spirits and they began to get the better of the Addicks. Bielick was sent a pass which was weak and he took a dive at the ball whilst Gallager of Charlton was in possession who immediately pretended his leg was broken. His antics created a melee from which the referee decided Bielicks game was over. Deja vu Reading, yet Derby played quite well with ten men so could this be another ten men display? It transpired to become one of the best games played at Pride Park this season. The ten men dug deep and played with such fervour that they got the twenty six thousand Ram fans encouraging them at every opportunity. However the pathetic display of refereeing began to mar the Rams efforts and the Addicks began to play the referee and got away with several “fouls” the arbiter allowed to go. The second half began where the first half ended. Charlton were trying to make the best of their advantage whilst the Rams were doing their damness to stop them and keep the one goal advantage. Every player wearing white was becoming a hero. Their style of play was a revelation and so exciting to watch. Marriot was up against a six foot six inch solid full back yet battled bravely. Holmes and Knight were brilliant in their mid field positions. Even Wisdom showed he does know how to pass the ball forward. The Rams were able to get past the Addicks defence easily on the odd occasion and from one of these occasions Knight was sent a lovely pass from Bird (super Bird) who duly obliged to put the ball into the Addicks onion bag for the second time. However the referee continued his manic ways and decided that some body tripped up one of the Charlton players in the penalty box and gave Charlton a penalty kick, from which they scored. The Ram fans were silenced for a minute or two yet from the kick of the encouragement they sent out was awesome and must be the best any team could ask for. It was a pleasure to be inside Pride Park to witness and be part of it. Five extra minutes was shown just as Waghorn was to hurt to continue and so the five minutes was stretched to seven minutes plus some more squeaky bum time, until the sound every one was begging for came. It was a night to remember which proves the Rams can do it, when they want too.
Those ten men who won this game have set their own standard. The concentration levels, the determination levels and the football ability they have can and must be embraced to get this team to become a force to be wary of. It cannot and must not be a one off. When a team looses it inspires comments about who was missing and maybe with the missing installed the result may have been different. When a team wins those comments are not spoken yet in this report they will be mentioned. Lawrence this season has been just a bit player and has not shown a full intention. Without him the team functioned, because the aura of a player not trying settles onto the whole team so the eleven catch the same desease. That fever was not present and then players such as Knight and Bird showed the rest how to get working and slowly the other eight men did what the twenty six thousand paid to see. The yellow and red cards are becoming a set back. Although to loose Lawrence and Malone is not as bad as loosing Bielick. The ploy to use Bielick to win the headers from Hamers goal kicks was lost, so Hamer has to sharpen up some what and send the ball early instead of hanging on to it because Marriot has the beating of these sluggish defenders with his pace, and not with his height. The next biggest talking points are of course, Wayne Rooney. and who will take Bielicks position against Barnsley. Speculation is rife and from this column their is no answer. The only person to answer this is Mr Philip Cocu and he can be contacted at Pride Park. If you get an answer the address to send it is at the top of this page. Meanwhile a Happy New Year to all our readers UP THE RAMS!!
The Rams 2 Barnsley 1
The game began with euphoria and ended in a damp squid The inclusion of Mr Wayne Rooney created all the euphoria and to be fair he did have some impact on the game yet kept a low profile so as to not attract the media on to him at the expense of the other ten Rams on the field. The game began almost where the last one ended with Derby going all out to get the advantage of a Barnsley outfit fighting off relegation, The highlights which immediately turned into low lights were the chances given to Jack Marriot to score, and were lost. Poor old Jack it just would not go for him. One on ones against the goal keeper came and the ball went wide of the target, to which Jack could wish for the ground to swallow him up. Yet as foot ball goes a sharp pass into the six yard area hit him, rather than he hit the ball and there it was sat in the Reds onion bag. From there on the Rams began to relax and go for more However although the endeavour was there the skill and finishing was lacking. In the second half the Reds began to slightly get the better whilst the Rams denied them until a goal mouth scramble in which Hamer failed to grasp the ball Barnsley pushed in the equaliser. This woke up the Rams and within nine minutes Waghorn slammed it past the hapless Barnsley keeper to give the Rams the second goal. From thereon the game became drab. The crowd went silent, the South stand were so bored they chanted abuse about the next door neighbours Nottingham Forest. The spectators began to drift away five minutes before the ninety, whilst the players especially Derby were fatigued both physically and mentally and were relieved to hear the final whistle. The job was done three more points and the first back to back wins this season.
Mr Cocu has got a few problems to overcome. The mid field which has been the thorn in his side has suddenly awoke with the inclusion of (dickie) Bird and Knight and the assistance from Holmes. Rooney took the place of Bielick and did OK because of his experience. Marriot has hit his nadir and will given every chance come out of it. Waghorn works hard yet never seems to overcome his inability to be constantly accurate in his passing and ball control. The full backs would be greatly improved with Bogle rather than Wisdom, and Clarke must be told to stop passing the ball backwards to Hamer who in turn has to sharpen up and stop hanging onto the ball allowing the opposition to settle. The selection of players has now become tricky. The next game at Crystal Palace has to be a write off and the team selection needs to be including a few off the bench. The substitutions Cocu did against Barnsley were baffling. To pull off Marriot to include Molly Malone was wayward. (He said it was to give cover to Lowe against ex Ram Thomas) Then Whittaker was sent on to make up eleven, he did absolutely nothing. So all in all if the transfer window brings in a new face or two those who have began to show some enterprise will have their egos blown. The academy seems to be producing some good talent so why spend on a chancer when such as Knight and Bird are the harbingers of what is playing in the under 23’s. Maybe another centre back to cover Davis or Clarke and then let this season be the transition for next year.
Crystal Palace 0 The Rams 1 FA Cup round 3
Of to London went the gallant Ram fraternity, maybe with some hope of not disgracing themselves yet with a little hope that the Crystal Ball may show some positive result at Crystal Palce. Expectations were more or less at fifty – fifty, then when the squad was announced the expectations fell to seventy thirty in favour of the Eagles for most of their team were first team players, most of the Rams were reserve team players and the Metropolis is, or has not been, a happy hunting ground for Derby County. When the game began the Rams were subjected to being overrun and it seemed just a matter of time before the hosts scored, however owing to some resolute defending and determination by those in white the tide turned and it became the hosts being out played. Could this continue was in the mind of every Ram fan watching or listening. As the half hour was reached and the game was becoming very even expectancy was slowly filling up every Ram fan. Chances were being made without any conclusion, until number thirty two player sent a nice pass to number forty nine player who sent it on to number thirty seven player who sent a wicked pass across the six yard box to number nineteen player who skilfully side footed the ball into the Crystal Palace onion bag in the minute of number thirty two. What a fabulous shock and surprise to all watching and listening. The move initiated by Rooney to Whittaker on to Bogle then to Martin gave the Rams the lead. When the euphoria ebbed the question was, can they keep the lead, or more so, as the game seemed to be panning out, increase the lead. When the second half began it was obvious that the Eagles were ruffled and determined to get their revenge, and the Rams lived through some scarey moments yet they soon got their composure back and showed those Eagles they were not easy prey. Agitation combined with frustration blew up when Milivojevic took exception to loosing the ball to Huddleston and the pair began an altercation which to be fair Huddleston tried not to retaliate. The result was an early bath for the Eagle man, whilst the Rams just continued to remain focused on their job. So they did and it was just the post that denied Waghorn a second goal before the full time whistle blew and Derby were in the draw for round four.
As well as the win for the Rams which has to be the most talked of, the lowest point of a conversation is the dreadful V. A. R. This system applied in the F A Cup competition is grossly wrong. For example take the game at the Pirelli Stadium where Burton where playing Northampton. If a similar situation occurred during that game the same as what happened with Huddleston, both players would be given yellow cards and the game continued. Why was this not the case at Selhurst Park? Because V A R was used. If one stadium such as the Pirelli has not got that facility then the same has to be applied at every stadium where an FA cup game is being played. The same rules have to be applied at every game, not a rule for one and a rule for the other. By adopting this pathetic unwanted, over sensitive system the game of football is being ruined. For over one hundred and fifty years controversy, bad tackling, doubtful decisions, and poor refereeing has kept the crowds filling the stadium because they all love to see the game and its idiosyncrasies. To take this away by using television replays the game has lost its charm and excitement. The rule for V A R is, scrap it. Now back to the win that the Rams achieved. It seems strange that the “second” eleven (or nine) can play with a determination and quality that has been lacking for the best part of the season. Can it be because of the Rooney inclusion, or is because they are all wary of having to be pulled out of their comfort zone. None of them let themselves down not even Lawrence or Huddleston who between them have not given anything more than fifty percent in every game played. Even Mr Cocu seems to have livened up somewhat, and is beginning to talk with a more lucid attitude. As written in a past blog he has created an enigma for himself now because he is restricted to playing eleven at Middlesbrough. Which eleven will he choose. Once again answers to the address at the top of this page.
Middlesbrough 2 The Rams 2
No one answered the call to guess what eleven would be chosen for this game, and if they did no doubt none would have included Lawrence in the team; no one except Mr Cocu that is. Why he insists that this Welsh International is worthy of inclusion is the “tenth” wonder of the world. What must have been the best cheer of the afternoon was when he was substituted. Prior to that he played his usual 5% of determination and the only point to mention was when, by chance, he won the ball in the corner of the field sent it to Knight who sent a perfect cross over into the goal. Was it just coincidence as well that when he was sat watching the Rams increased their tempo and from good determination equalised from a brilliant strike from Holmes. Before all this action the Rams were overrun for almost all of the first half. In reality this could be forecast because the Boro were on a good run of results and were determined to keep it and secondly the game was in the mud and nettles of the Championship where respect is just a word. The change from the game at Selhurst park to the Riverside is as far apart as it can get, and Mr Rooney was subdued to some extent, yet he mustered his troops as best he could. In the second half the Rams decided they had had enough of being second best and within minutes had equalised the goal the Boro had scored from a very good attempt, then the game opened up into a two sided battle. The Rams just edging it. They lost the lead from a very dubious decision by the referee to award the Boro a penalty, which was not a penalty just a very good tackle by Clarke yet the Boro player made a meal of it and got the decision. This dinted the Rams ego a little and they lost that initiative. Knight was taken off and Whittaker replaced him. and later the best move of the day went ahead when Cocu had seen what twenty five thousand Ram fans were sick of seeing and removed Lawrence for Martin. Now the Rams had eleven platers they began to get a bit more of the game and when a clearance by Boro from their penalty area found Holmes he wasted no time in sending the ball back and into the Middlesbrough onion bag. In reality both Derby’s goals were fortunate strikes yet who cares is there such a thing as a perfect goal?
Matbe, just maybe from this game Mr Cocu will have shown that his patience with Lawrence has evaporated, and that there are better, more determined players in his squad that can do a far better job. It could be he offers him for sale. However speculation is beginning to increase as to who will be on the Rams books on the 1st of February. Mr Marriot seems to be packing his boots for greener grass, whilst a Leicester full back could be doing like wise and coming north to Derbyshire. Other players on the Rams books may be asking their agents to find them another club whilst other agents may be pushing Mr Cocu and his ilk to sign their protege’s. It is like a busy day in a Turkish bazzar. Some wanting to buy, overriding those wanting to sell. Why is it that footballers are just a comodity? Why is it that an ordinary worker in a factory wants to improve his skill to get a better job and remuneration whilst a footballer can just run out on a Saturday do what he feels like doing and get a good wage for a pathetic effort. Mr Cocu has inherited one or two who fall into the latter category and now he has to show his determination and management acumen to dismiss those who are not good enough. He has to be mindless of public opinion and do what he considers is best for Derby County. It is his job, and must take the rough with the smooth. It could be he has the backing of the majority of the fans yet he is bound to upset some with his decision making. All will be revealed within the next three weeks. He has to lay the foundation for a successful team for the next season and that squad had to be fully fledged to enter the premiership and stay there.
The Rams 1 Hull City 0
The Tigers came to Pride Park with a determination to continue their good away form having won their last three away games. From the kick off it was obvious the fervour they had would make for a difficult time for the Rams. Eventually this fervour waned and the Rams began to dominate. Were it not for some pathetic passing and woeful decisions by the central full backs in particular then maybe a more exciting game could have began. Wisdom was chosen ahead of Davis and Lawrence was automatically included along with Huddleston who wanted to show his ex club he is still the player he was. Alas he failed miserably. Rooney fell into the same malaise owing to two Tigers biting at his tail as soon as he got the ball. The player to stand out head and shoulders was the lad Knight who just seems to get better and better. Clarke got the accolade of scoring a good header from a corner kick and earned the man of the match award. Lowe was the steady lad he is however Bogle is becoming a night mare, by hanging onto the ball for too long and always trying to beat the opposition full back instead of sending the ball into the danger area early. The system the Rams played was four “sommat” one. Even the players were confused because one minute Lawrence is on the left and then pops up on the right whilst Knight appears on the left Huddleston is seeking a fresh lump of grass to stand on and Rooney was running all over the pitch. Holmes kept on hanging in between Wisdom and Clarke and Waghorn was making a run for a long pass only to see either Wisdom or Clarke pass the ball to Hamer in goal. Wisdom was so unenthusiastic it warrants a mention. he either blasted the ball somewhere or stood with it at his feet wondering what it was at his feet and what he was supposed to do with it. Clarke insisted sending a useless push of the ball to Lowe who was immediately hassled and lost pssession. Such poor football was the undoing of the Rams. Surely the coaches and management see this as the twenty seven thousand see it so why do they ignore it. The system of playing with only one forward has failed all season yet for some stupid reason Cocu insists on using it. What was needed was Martin to take the high ball passes to nod them down for the midfield to collect and then go for it. Sometimes the fans wonder if Cocu picks the players and a system just to loose the game.
The clouds of doom seem to linger over Derby County for what ever reason this season, the latest being the E F L wanting to renege of their acceptance of the deal completed by Mel Morris for the stadium. As is always said at this juncture “one cannot comment whilst the current situation is on going” yet why not. On the outset the talk is that poor fiscal dealings led to this sale being put through. The purchase of players and their salaries who have not done justice to Derby County maybe the crux of the monetary problem, so why was all this practice allowed to occur. Many will agree that a few seasons ago when any player seemed to be getting recognition and hitting the headlines Derby County were always at the forefront with the chequebook. Thus the club who owned that player accepted silly money, along with the player and both laughed all the way to the bank whilst Derby County suffered buying “scrap”. It is left to the reader to add names and even now players who command a good salary are not giving all every time they pull on the shirt. Whilst discussing players can it be recalled that when Cocu was installed he spoke of two issues. Firstly he wanted to see the ball going forward. (he needs to say this to his current full backs) secondly he was to give youth a chance (so he signs a 34 year old past it) and plays another in mid field using the expression “I like him”. Maybe certain players have been injured yet other teams have suffered just the same. His acumen is not as good as his reputation and Mr Mel Morris has made some very distinctive errors in his time as previously mentioned. It may be that his choice of managers is not as good as it could be. Cocu never seems to make positive changes, he relies on the same sort of confusion all the time. In the last game there were no substitutions his excuse was the team was playing to his wants. Maybe he was the only one wanting them to play like two bob donkeys all the time.
Any way away from all that lets have a laugh. What about those new blue buses we had the privilege to ride free of charge on to Pride Park. For those not in the know Freeway sent two new blue (well new for them) double decker buses to transport all Heanor Rams fans in style to the game on Saturday. What a pleasure to ride up the hills at a reasonable speed whilst the bus not churning out “I think I can” The most significant point to mention was the destination message on the front, side and rear which read Derby County. Roll on Friday 31st for another treat.
Northampton Town 0 The Rams 0
This game wins the accolade for being the most horrible game the Rams have played in this season. It was akin to watching grown men play under twelves football. The ball was either in the air going left to right and right to left and so on or it was in the air for heading practice. In fact it was a shambles. It was not aided by the most blatant foul perpetrated this season to Jack Marriot that three officials deemed to either “not see” or dismiss it never happened. This misdemeanour inside the first ten minutes set the scene for the Cobblers and all they could do was kick it as far as they could or throw it in as far as they could. Their system is called F F football. Fullbacks to Forwards. Credit has to go to the Rams full backs for being astute enough to combat this pathetic onslaught that got no result for the Cobblers. Again Roos showed his good ability as well as his heart stopping ability. Rooney was only there for the Northampton supporters to see him. There was no feed from defence or midfield to Martin or Marriot, only Knight, who gets better no matter who the opposition, came of the field with credit. Bird was steady and must realise that he has to sharpen up some. Wisdom was his usual sixty five percent efficient (Molly) Malone never featured, FFFFForsythe, well? and Davies had two chances to head the ball into the onion bag and failed on both occasions. When the Rams did get the ball onto the grass and began to play football they got as far as the danger area and it fizzled out for a Northampton player to lung the ball into the opposition half. If any one has an inkling to say it was enjoyable they are deluded. There were no high lights or missed chances, Derby never tested the Cobblers goal keeper, in fact never had one shot at goal. The referee was definitely a “homer” and needs to go back to school for an understanding of the rules. Lets hope that the replay produces a lot more enterprise from the Rams’
Why is it that the Rams succumb to easily to any opposition. Surely they must have had scouts at the Cobblers games prior to this event who give a full account of the way they play, the players to be aware of and work out a system of how to combat them. Yet what seems to be prevalent is they are taken aback by the thrust thrown upon them and cannot over come it, or do not try to over come it and just simply go through the motions. Apart from Knight no one else wanted to do anything special. Martin was left floundering Marriot looked enthusiastic to no avail and was substituted. Waghorn who replaced him got the same no passes, so why was this done. The substitution should have been Rooney who was being played out of the game and had he been taken off then the mid field could have taken more control. The high ball passes from the hosts over the mid field was difficult to combat yet with more thought and playing more football instead of kick and rush the Rams could have put this game to bed. They need to sit down and study hard the Northampton style and really get to grips with their own way to over come league two football. The ability of the Rams is far better than they showed so to ensure who ever they draw in the next round is put on edge by eleven players representing Derby County. It will be no good to try to match fire with fire, this will be the undoing of their hopes in this competition. They have to show they are superior and dominate and make those Cobblers surrender and give up.
Luton Town 3 The Rams 2
Some fans are saying this was a good game, especially the second half. Others are being more judgemental and suggesting it was abysmal. When an analysis of the current Rams statistics are considered they have won one game away from home, drawn one game away from home and lost the remaining games away from home. These records are just not good enough. The game was flat in the first half, again no proper potent attacking and wanting to score, was openly apparent. When they came out for the second half they did at least show a little more dominance on a team who sit at the bottom of the league and have failed to muster any notable points from their last few games. The Rams managed a goal from Rooney who did at least show some enterprise, as well as plenty of discussions with another inept referee. When the Hatters realised they were loosing they woke up and equalised. So it was Derby’s turn to go to sleep which they did and lost another goal. This loss of this goal woke Cocu up. He decided to include his two strikers he had sat on the bench. A wise consideration? Within a few moments Martin had levelled the scores. Then calamity struck. Bogle who seems to consider himself greater then the club with his pathetic “must show off” attitude, managed to be in the way of the ball as it came to him so he put it in his own onion bag. The atmosphere in the Kennelworth Road ground was the best it could be until Lowe was challenged to a ball on the half way line it bounced off him and rolled to Hamer who picked it up. Hence another diabolical judgement by an inept referee decided it was a back pass and from Hamer collecting the ball he blew for the error. This incensed Lowe who took his revenge out of the referee and “laid a hand on him” to which the referee showed him a red card. The game ended in acrimony from some players and fans yet the score remained as a loss for the Rams.
There is a saying in the north of the county which fits Cocu like a glove. “He knows all about horses because he’s kept rabbits”, The number of games lost, the number of unenthusiastic performances by almost all of the players both at home and definitely away is becoming the norm. Is there any wonder.? He is grossly unaware of the standard of the Championship, he is bereft of any experience of English football especially in the lower leagues, and cannot cope with his job one hundred percent. When he is interviewed on the wireless, the way he speaks is so disjointed and dull, he has no real gusto in his voice, so if he talks to the players in the same way then he is far better as a hypnotist than a motivator. He has continued to play the same way away from home that has not produced any points, yet he insists trying it every time to see if it can produce a win to justify his thinking. He is far to technical minded. It may have worked in the Netherlands and elsewhere yet it also failed, hence why he was unemployed when Mel Morris found him. In Cocu we trust is on the lips of some Ram fans. This statement can be construed as anbiguous. Surely if twenty thousand football supporters in the City of Derby can see the shortcomings why is it one man whose job it is to create good entertainment and enjoyment for that population is too blind to see it. It will make not a skerrick of difference if he signed any new players because they would slowly be enveloped in the morass he generates. This club has been on the brink of success for the last few years, the players are of a good quality, if they were allowed to play within their own sphere and in their nurtured position then it would make one almighty big difference. As it is it seems that he is waving a big stick at the players and instructing them to play his way or else. if they do not they sit it out, unless of course you happen to be a favourite such a Lawrence and Huddleston. Yes European football is the rabbit whist the English game is the horse.
Now why is it we are encouraged to purchase season tickets at a cost of £600.00 or more albeit less for the older generation and children, enjoy where we sit, (or stand) and enjoy the camaraderie of the other fans around us at every home game. The answer is obvious. Yet why is it that when the Rams only draw away in a cup match and a replay is necessary then the season ticket holders cannot have preference to purchase their regular seat. The tickets for the Northampton game went on sale suggesting season ticket holders have the preference to purchase first, yet they are not given preference to buy the season ticket seat. Now if the Rams manage to overcome the Northampton squad and win, then Rooneys old team will visit us in the next round. Surely the same formula cannot be used. It is open for any one in the country to buy on line a ticket for any football match. There are twice as many Reds fans as Rams fans and it is certain they will be on line buying tickets anywhere in the ground. If season ticket holders are for any reason delayed in getting a ticket for their seat, they will discover someone else perpetrating as a Ram follower has acquired it. Derby County Football club are being unjust and unfair to their true supporters if they allow this discrimination. The ticket sales have to be more strict for future games, especially if the Rams are at home in the fifth round.
The Rams 4 Stoke City 0
What a refreshing change to walk out of Pride park on a dark yet mild Friday night having watched Derby County put on a performance that can be described as one of the best, if not the best, show of this season at home. Again it makes a happy chance to say that every one of those in white decided to come to the fore, and show the twenty seven thousand they can win, and win with panache, when they want to. Waghorn started the goal scoring with a diving header and just a few moments later Martin smashed the ball into the roof of the net from a neat pass from Holmes who had run with the ball from the half way line. It was extremely noticeable that from that moment on the attitude, commitment, enthusiasm, and relaxing play the Rams developed was most enjoyable to watch. The three thousand Stoke City fans who were cheering their team on went silent, for they were watching their team being over run at an away ground akin to the Ram supporters who have suffered just the same ignominy at away grounds this season. The Rams just kept the initiative constantly even when the Potters showed a little determination the Rams rear guard were stalwart. The second half began as expected. Stoke were upset at being two goals down and knew that an early goal for them would, hopefully put Derby on the back foot and they could become dominant. Thankfully the Rams read the situation and eventually got back the initiative. Then came a moment of nostalgia. The Rams won a free kick on the edge of the Potters penalty area. When the referee decided all was well up stepped Rooney and showed his class by sending the free kick passed his ex England colleague Buckland in the Potters goal. A classical free kick he is noted for. It was a pleasure to witness this. The potters were still wanting to deny the Rams a clean sheet yet the defence remained focused. Cocu decided to use his silly substitutions and removed Martin who was playing at his best, to give Shinnie a run out. Then of came Waghorn for Davies, and he sent Rooney to centre forward. A very baffling set of changes. Bogle was put into midfield another enigma for the Rams supporters to un wind. However it was all forgotten when Bogle took the ball for a twenty five yard run and smashed it into the Potters union bag for goal number four. Rooney was substituted for the Rams favourite Marriot for the last ten minutes. Although he did his best the Rams simply payed out the rest of the game under “game management” and eventually the final whistle went to send the Rams fans home smiling and happy that at long last they had seen ninety minutes of full commitment from their favourite team.
It is unfair to add criticism to a very good performance from the Rams yet it was in essence only about ninety percent good. The ten percent bad was the old problem of dilly dally Hamer and his reluctance to send the ball out either early or even quickly and to stop rolling it to a defender when the opposition are encroaching on the defender. Surely this is not a ploy to be used on every occasion under instructions from the coaches. Buckland in the Stoke goal showed how it is done so why is it Hamer and Roos do not take heed of the way other goalkeepers perform and do like wise. If they do this one time too many they will find the ball behind them nestling in the net. The next game against Northampton will be vastly different to the Stoke game. They have experienced lower league football and the Cobblers will be boosted by the prospect of Manchester United waiting. So any faffing about by the goalkeepers will be punished. Mr Cocu will have to sharpen up as well. If he considers to put out a team not capable of beating Northampton which his thinking seems to show then he will have lost the best opportunity given him this season. Who ever he picks they have to be on their mettle for ninety minutes, it is no good sending out players who have not had much game time, thinking it will do them a favour. The Cobblers will be doubled up to win at all costs which only adds fervour and excitement to the game. Now the Rams have the chance to be at home against those Red Devils they too have to double their efforts to ensure they are the next opponents.
Swansea City 2 The Rams 3
The Rams went to the Principality to face a Swansea City team who have been showing some good form of late. However it was a Taffe that won the points for Derby. Tom Lawrence the player who has suffered quite a lot of heavy criticism in this column did at last come to the fore. He made one, saved one and scored a goal in his country of birth. It must be the air in South Wales that woke him up. When all is considered it was a result which Derby played for, they scored first which is point to note especially on an away ground. A speculative shot from Lawrence hit the post and Waghorn beat two defenders to the ball to put it away for the lead. The same old malaise came out with the Rams at the onset of the second half and within fifteen minutes they were loosing two one. Sloppy play and loss of concentration allowed a resurgent Swansea team to get two goals, and make Derby realise their pathetic attitude was their undoing. During one insurgent by the Swans, Hamer was beaten yet Lawrence who had back tracked was on the goal line to stop a certain goal, Bogle then seemed to loose his way. He seems at the present as if he has to beat all eleven players on the opposite side before he passes the ball to someone else. When he fails he becomes petulant and starts fouling with the result of a yellow card. Wisdom with a chance to get to the ball in a one to one with the Swans goalkeeper also saw yellow although it looked nasty in reality it was just one of those excitable moments that occur in football. As the game became more end to end a loose ball in the Swans penalty area came to Holmes who slammed it into the Swansea onion bag to equal the score albeit it was against the run of play for that period. At two- two the game became more open with both sides wanting the three points. In the last few minutes Lawrence gathered the ball on the left side of the penalty area, with no defender to harass him took it to the middle of the field just outside the penalty area and lashed the ball past the static Swansea goalkeeper for the winning goal.. Hence it can be said that a welsh man put the skids under a welsh team, Or to be more kind, just for once, Lawrence played the best he has since the opening game against Huddersfield, when he scored twice. Odd that the second win away for Derby was won by the same player. Pity it has taken him so long to come “alive”.
Why is it that Cocu has to substitute players in an effort to “freshen it up” instead of starting with those he puts on as substitutes. Bogle deserved to be substituted. His selfish way of playing this season has warranted his exclusion and the improvement in Wisdom has only exacerbated the situation. Shinnie is becoming more aware of his role in the team although he does tend to be more like a duck out of water at times and panics easily. The jury is still out as to whether Waghorn can be more effective than Marriot yet given more game time “our Jack” will find his mojo and start to get the goals. Marriot does look a little bottom heavy though and this could be his Hercules Heel. Knight has proved himself and so has Bird. All in all there are some good young players who given the chance to get experience in the Championship in the last few games when the position in the league has been fixed then it bodes well for the next season. Clarke is to erratic and dallies too long on the ball at times, “Molly” Malone is also too erratic and inconsistent. Chis Martin is at the end of his stay. If he loses the ball or if it does not come to him directly he does not bother to go for it. Having said all that, for the time being they are needed just in case, and of course to ensure that those that are chosen to play do their utmost for themselves so it follows through they are doing likewise for the team, club and those that pay a lot of money to follow them all over the country. So far it has been a dour season in comparison to the last few, yet with a few more good performances away and a few wins at home then the last games could be well worth looking forward to. Of course Derby are still in the FA Cup and remember when they went to Old Trafford last season they won on penalties, history could repeat its self.
Bristol City 3 The Rams 2
The Rams headed south to Gloucestershire with a voluptuous feeling from their last encounter a few miles away at Swansea. Could they replicate the same again was on every ones mind. When the game began this hopeful emotion was increased for the way they played it made everyone wonder if it was Derby in black. They ran about and passed it about in such a manner it became only a matter of time before they scored Bristol just could not get the ball at all. Eventually though Bristol showed with a more direct approach chances would come and in thirty eight minutes a cross ball from the right was sent back across the goal for Wells to head into an empty net because Hamer had gone walkabouts. This was grossly against the run of play. Thus it was back to where they began yet it was not done to the same intensity and the Reds were coming more and more into the game. The same move again undid the Rams defence when a cross ball from the right the defenders stood looking whilst Berkovic ( the player Derby sought after in January) dived for the loose header and planted it into the Derby’s onion bag. If ever a game was one sided and the underdogs were winning this was that game. The second half continued in the same fashion and thirteen minutes into the second forty five another set piece from the reds finished up with Dielhiou having a tap in from the left hand post. Another set back to the Rams from the Reds set piece play. Not to be out done the Rams began to get the upper hand again and from a good cross from Lowe Waghorn was in the right place to slam it into the Reds net just three minutes later.. Game on as they say. Now Bristol were up against it Derby with out being too gun hoe went in search of a second goal and it came via Martin in the eighty second minute, when Lawrence sent over a vice cross that only need to be met and in it went. Now those Bristolians all watching were on tenter hooks their team was in panic mode. Alas the Reds held out and even missed the two best chances to score when Dielhiou with only Hamer to beat sent his shot past the post then ex Ram Weimiem given an open goal miss kicked the ball into the crowd. Sadly after a very steady performance the Rams left Ashton Gate pointless.
This must rate as one of the best footballing performances Derby have played all season. The biggest problem was that their build up play was not concluded with goals. As soon as the ball got into the opposition penalty area, it was lost and from winning it back the same scenario carried on. The pairing of Wisdom and Clarke is worrying. Wisdom cannot play as his name dictates. He dilly dallies to much and in some cases stands with the ball at his feet lost in thought as to what he is supposed to do. Instead of sending an easy pass out to the wing he sends it either square to Clarke or back to Hamer and the start of an attack is lost. Clarke seems to have the same malaise. It is heart stopping to see them on the ball for they are not positive enough. In close combat from Bristol’s corner kicks the whole Derby team were jittery and that is why Bristol got their goals. From outfield play the Reds were pathetic whereas Derby showed better class yet lost it at the crucial moment. Martin went missing, Lawrence was still in Swansea, whilst Waghorn was doing his utmost. It was not a Martins type of game and to leave him on was a travesty. Marriot should have replaced him even though Martin did score. Cocu’s substitution of Bird on ninety minutes was just cosmetic. It was just to show he can when feels like it use Marriot who incidentally never had a kick of the ball. He must be absolutely fed up with the situation. Bird was having the game of his life so why pull off someone on a high it makes no sense. Rooney must be pulling his manufactured hair out over certain issues especially the shambles the two centre halves make plus the inept goal keeping. If these three positions are strengthened for next season, Clarke and Hamer can go back to where they come from, Wisdom can find another team to mess up and Derby find quality replacements then it can be a team to enjoy supporting.
The Rams 1 Huddersfield 1
Huddersfield came to Pride Park having been humiliated by Cardiff, at home in mid week, so having listened to the drumming Mess’s Cowley gave them they had one thing in mind. To humiliate the Rams, at home. It was quite obvious that was their intention right from kick off. The Rams were over run, out played and made to look second best for a good percentage of the first half. There was hardly any good football or chances created by the Rams because all but two, were playing full back all the while. Holmes twisted his ankle blocking the ball and had to be substituted by Shinnie who just seems to go through the motions and does nothing to set up or take an opportunity to start an insurgence on the opponents goal, the same as Holmes does. Derby were relieved to hear the half time whistle, so they could at least have a few minutes from the intensity they were suffering. The second half started where the first half ended with the Terriers wanting to get a goal and showed good determination and skill at times to thwart a stagnant Derby team. Then up steps the man Huddersfield fear. From a corner kick Rooney set a short pass to Shinnie who sent another to Lawrence standing all alone outside the penalty area and with one big swoop of his right foot sent an un-stoppable shot into the goals and Derby, against the run of play, were one goal up. Derby continued to play negative square passing football, across the centre full backs, and from the wings back passing, and such play irked the crowd. Wisdom playing his usual pathetic way decide he had a tight hamstring and was substituted for Bogle. It took about five minute for Bogle to head the ball back instead of allowing it to drop at his feet to clear, His abject thinking choosing to head it allowed it fall at the feet of a Huddersfield player who simply took it around Bogle and from a tight angle sent it past Roos and Huddersfield were level. It was very noticeable that Waghorn berated Bogle for this shambolic display of how not to defend. The game petered out into a boring ten minutes whilst the crowd truly disgusted at such a disorganised chaotic performance from Derby left their seats to face to wrath of storm Dennis. Possibly a wiser choice.
Once again it is one step forward and two steps back. More changes to the team by erring Cocu and the same unenthusiastic no fervour, no determination, no aggression, no wanting to win attitude from a demoralised Rams outfit. It is an enigma that such as Huddersfield who are facing two seasons of relegation can come to Pride Park and put the Rams to the sword and make them look just what they are, a bunch of no hopes. Twenty seven thousand sat watching a team who are on the edge of loosing their Championship status out play a Cocu chosen eleven who find it difficult to get the better of a team with the determination to get the three points. The Terriers faithful were the only ones to go home with a smile on their faces. The Rams faithful meandered to their destinations all glum because they pay their money just to be disappointed with their team and the no win situation. Martin deserved to be substituted he played like a statue. Marriot tried yet all he is a lower division striker alas. The two centre backs are just no good, full stop. Wisdom is like the nursery rhymer lad, “when he’s good he’s very, very good but when he’s bad he’s awful” and in the last games he’s been awful. Bogle sadly is no better. Forsythe did show why he was given the nod over Lowe. Lawrence once again filtered in and filtered out Waghorn was trying yet he cannot go all the way, he loses out at that crucial second. Bird is a stalwart, Rooney shows he can still do it yet Shinnie has to get more involved and take some resposibility, he chooses to pass rather than be selfish. Somewhere there is a lack of motivation from the coaches for most of the players are only showing sixty percent of their ability. Some one in the coaching staff are filling them with negativity, thus they are dormant from the start of every game and this was over apparent against Huddersfield.
The Rams 1 Fulham 1
To begin with a report on this game and to give the right impression that it was enjoyable let the statistics speak for themselves. There was combined, thirty one shots at goal, seventeen from Fulham and fourteen from Derby. Fulham had the greater percentage of possession yet overall Derby were the more potent side. Fulham employed a goalkeeper who had one of those games that he defied every shot that Derby had on target. and had it not been for him Derby would have been outright winners by a hand full of goals. Fulham for all their worth huffed and puffed when they got near to Derby’s penalty area and maybe they did look a threat however the Derby defence road their luck and kept them at bay. The most pleasing sight was to watch eleven Derby players giving it all against a classy outfit who had the same intention as the Rams which was to get the three points on offer. It makes a refreshing change to watch Derby at home for at last they seem like a team with a new attitude. It is a shame that their better players Holmes and Bielick have to be spectators owing to injury and speculation has it that with those two and a better quality goalkeeper and two competent centre half’s he team will be a threat. The academy players are pushing and proving especially Bird and Knight with Sibley, Bogle and Lowe all sat waiting. Of course the upturn seems to have come since the introduction of Rooney which cannot be denied. Even so the optimistic Ram fan will look forward to the next game with a more open mind thinking that three points from Queens Park Rangers is a high probability.
The way derby play is becoming like marmite at times, and this is said in a light hearted fashion. It is very nice to watch how their attacking prowess is shaping up yet it is bitter to watch the shambolic way the goalkeepers play by keeping the ball when the opposition is in disarray and waiting for them to “sort themselves out” Even the crowd are shouting for him to release it early yet he just stands starring, then rolls it out and within ten seconds he has it back because the opposition have hassled the defenders making them pass it back. Other pathetic situations, and this angered the crowd, was when Derby were given a free kick just inside their own half and the kick instead of being sent forward it was passed back to Hamer. Surely they are not working to orders to do such shambolic play. It is noticeable also that up to eighty minutes this rolling the ball out and playing from the back is continued then for the last minutes of the game goal kicks are sent from Hamers boot. alas the ball lands in row “W” of the crowd. So there is no advantage gained either way the goalkeeper plays. One other talking point is relating to the substitutes. Why is it that the “bench” always has the two main strikers sitting on it from the onset of a game. Martin and Marriot have to watch whilst Waghorn playing himself to a frazzle has to do the work of two. Even when Cocu decides to substitute he always takes the same players off. It has been Waghorn and Knight on most occasions, even in the days of pathetic Lawrence he was never taken off. At times it appears that Cocu is substituting for the sake of it, and when he does he removes those that are a threat and playing well to install such players as flo Jo who did his best to loose the ball on the couple of occasions he was given it.