Day: October 30, 2010

Match Of The Week: Derby County 4-1 Watford

What, one wonders, were the expectations of Derby County supporters upon the appointment of Nigel Clough in December 2008? Easy though it is to try and draw comparisons twixt father and son, Nigel has resolutely been his own man, seeing out a lengthy managerial apprenticeship at Burton Albion (and leaving them in a strong enough position to be go on to win the Blue Square Premier title five months after he left their club) before leaving to take a job that he may have felt fated to. After all, his father took Derby County from near the bottom of the Second Division to being the champions of England in five years. Such aspirations are beyond all but the most wildly over-ambitious these days, but Derby County is a club plenty capable of hosting Premier League football again. Is Clough the man to take them there, though? In his first half-season at the Pride Park, he dragged Derby out of the relegation places in the Championship, but there was an element of damp squib about last season, which ended with the club finishing in fourteenth place in the table. This season has so far seen the inconsistency continue and Derby County sit in the middle of the Championship table but, this being one of the most unpredictable leagues in the whole of English football, it would be foolish at this...

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Just Leave Chris Hughton Alone

There wasn’t a great deal of positive gloss that could be put upon Newcastle United’s thumping at the hands of Arsenal in the League Cup on Wednesday night. Comprehensively outplayed by a team that is starting to look more than capable of ending its trophy drought by the end of this season, Newcastle supporters were offered a reminder of how difficult this season could yet become for them and, in the press, the subtle yet dread sound of knives being drawn for manager Chris Hughton has become audible. Just as many of the club’s supporters may have begun to hope that the element of soap opera that had dogged the club for longer than anyone cares to remember had begun to subside, so the rumours begin again. It is in itself a testimony to Hughton’s qualities as a manager that the absolute chaos in which Newcastle United found itself a year and a half ago. After the ruinous decision to appoint Alan Shearer for the relegation run-in at the end of a desperate season ended in the club dropping out of the Premier League altogether, it felt as if this relegation could just be the beginning of their difficulties. Hughton, however, pulled the team together and his achievement in getting promoted back into the Premier League as champions at a canter cannot be understated. Newcastle supporters, who had spent...

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