Tag: Derby County

Melancholy In Derby Over The Departure Of Nigel Clough

It’s likely that there will be a sense of melancholy hanging over the city of Derby this afternoon. Its relationship with the Clough family is a long at somehwhat complex one which stretches back to the late 1960s, when an upstart manager arrived at The Baseball Ground from Hartlepool United and started about one of the more dramatic transformations of a football club that has ever been seen. Five years on from Brian Clough’s arrival at a Derby County Football Club that was, at that time, at the wrong end of the Second Division, they were the champions of England, and such events have a tendency to cement a bond even though, within eighteen months of lifting the Football League Championship, Clough senior had left the club amid acrimony after a very public falling out with the club’s then-chairman Sam Longson. It was a bond that even survived the even greater success that he managed at their biggest rivals, Nottingham Forest. We are two and a half weeks away from the fortieth anniversary from the departure of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor from The Baseball Ground, and professional football has changed almost beyond recognition in those intervening four decades. Quite asides from anything else, the club no longer calls its home The Baseball Ground, but this is a mere trifle in comparison with the mere fact that the likelihood...

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100 Owners: Number 74 – The Three Amigos (Derby County)

It is now almost eleven years since ITV Digital collapsed into administration, dragging the clubs of the Football League into a mass financial crisis which took years for its clubs to recover from. When it collapsed in May 2002, the television company owed the Football League £185m from a television deal with two years left to run on it and its loss had a serious effect throughout its member clubs. This wasn’t just about a loss of revenue, either. The suddenly frail condition of so many Football League clubs offered a cheap route into the game for those with less than noble aims, and at one club, Derby County, this quest for new ownership would end in criminality, imprisonment and disgrace for those involved, in particular the three directors who became known as The Three Amigos. Derby County had been relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2001/02 season after six years back in the top division of English football. This was not a good time for a club to be losing its place in the top division, and Derby’s troubles continued throughout the following season, with the club finishing just three places above a second successive relegation position. By October 2003, the club was in administrative receivership, from which it was purchased for £3 by a consortium which included Jeremy Keith, a serial company director...

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Match Of The Past: Derby County

We continue our series of archive videos of the clubs of the Football League Championship this morning with a club that became the champions of England twice in four years during the 1970s, Derby County. Under the managership of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, the club was promoted to the First Division in 1969, and they gave a glimpse of what was to come with the first of our six matches, a mauling of Tottenham Hotspur at The Baseball Ground in September 1969. Our second match comes from the year after their first championship win. With Brian Clough by this time having left the club, Dave McKay was the new manager and his team handed out a hiding of similar proportions to Arsenal in November 1972. Our third match sees the club celebrate its second league championship win of 1975 by beginning the following season with a trip to Wembley for the annual FA Charity Shield curtain-raiser match against that years FA Cup winners, West Ham United. After this, however, the club went into something of a decline and by the time of our fourth match against Fulham from The Baseball Ground in May 1983 the team needed a win against a Fulham team chasing promotion to the First Division just to keep hold of its place in Division Two. Our fifth match sees the club returning to the...

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Match Of The Midweek FA Cup Special: Crawley Town 2-1 Derby County

When the full-time whistle blew at Broadfield Stadium this evening with Steve Evans gesticulating at the referee in the background over the amount of time added on at the end of the match, there was an outpouring of joy and delight that the stadium has probably never seen before. It would probably not, however, be overstating things to say that this joy was only scantly mirrored in the outside world. Non-league football probably hasn’t ever seen a less popular set of “giant-killers” (if, considering everything, that is how this match can really be framed) and, for those of us that love non-league football, the feeling of ambivalence towards Crawley Town on an evening such as this has felt odd, almost unnatural. We’re supposed to love our giant-killers. Instead, tonight felt lop-sided, as if the planets had slipped out of alignment. The Daily Mail chimed in this morning with a hagiography of the club that contained some surprising assertions. It claimed, for example, that “Crawley’s home gate has doubled to around 1,200” this season, which is just plain wrong – their average home crowd this season is 1,694, up from 913 last season but almost identical to their average home attendance – 1,682 – of two seasons ago. In addition to this, it would appear that, according to this report, the selection of lower division footballers that have pitched up...

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The Grounds That Never Were: Derby County’s Wembley Of The North

In the first of an occasional new series on football grounds that never quite came to be, Ian King takes a look at an ambitious post-war scheme to move Derby County into a then-state of the art stadium that came to nothing. In 1997, Derby County left The Baseball Ground, their home of 102 years, for Pride Park. Cramped and with an often almost unmanageable playing surface, The Baseball Ground had long been an unsatisfactory home for The Rams, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the club should have looked at the possibility of moving to a new ground before The Taylor Report and a rush of Premier League money led to numerous clubs leaving their ancestral bases. What may be surprising to some readers, however, is that one of the plans for Derby to leave The Baseball Ground involved the possibility of moving to a ground that would have been by a long way the most modern in Britain, and which may well have become one of the world’s great football venues. Maxwell Ayrton was the architect responsible for possibly the most iconic single building in British football. As the man behind the design and construction of Wembley Stadium between 1921 and 1923, Ayrton had been responsible for the Twin Towers, a trademark that came to take on a significance far beyond merely being two concrete pillars marking...

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