Tag: Derby County

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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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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English Match Of The Week: Coventry City 2-1 Derby County

In 1959, Coventry City celebrated the inauguration of the Fourth Division of the Football League by getting promoted after seven seasons in football’s basement. Within eight years they were a First Division club and, against all odds, they held onto their status in the top division for almost three and a half decades before slipping through the trapdoor again. They might have been expected to launch a bid to get straight back into the Premier League, but the last nine seasons haven’t been particularly kind to the Sky Blues. They have left their former home, Highfield Road, for the Ricoh Arena but have had a couple of battles with financial difficulties which have impacted upon their ability to challenge for a place back in the Premier League since then. If August is a time for optimism amongst football supporters the length and breadth of the nation, then Coventry supporters have more reason to enjoy the salad days of the new season than most. For three of the last four seasons they have led the Championship table during August, but in each of those seasons any early signs of their challenge have fallen away. Will this year, then, be any different? Such a recent history might explain why there is such a disappointing crowd – just over 13,000 – here today, and new manager Adrian Boothroyd, who replaced Chris Coleman...

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Two Legs & A Gypsy Curse: The Story Of The 1946 FA Cup

In the fourth part of our look forward to the FA Cup First Round, we take a look back at the 1945/46 competition, which saw the innovation of two-legged matches, one of the great football tragedies of the twentieth century and ended with a burst ball and the lifting of a gyspy curse.

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DVD Review – “The Damned United” (Revisited)

Earlier this year, we sent Ted Carter to the cinema with a paper bag containing some crab paste sandwiches and a ticket for the movie version of David Peace’s 2006 novel, “The Damned United”. The film is released on DVD next Monday, so we thought that it was time to revisit this interpretation of Brian Clough’s forty-four days at Leeds United. It’s not a massive compliment to say that “The Damned United” is probably one of the five greatest films about football ever made, when the competitors are “Yesterday’s Hero” (a dismal 1979 take on a Jackie Collins novel starring Ian McShane as a photocopy of George Best), “Escape To Victory” (which famously put Sylvester Stallone and Pele on the same team and made Stallone the hero), the execrable “Goal” and “Green Street” series and “Soccer Dog: European Cup”, about a football team with a canine centre-forward that inexplicably turned up on Channel Five the other week. David Peace’s novel, however, was something different – a masterpiece of alcohol-sodden misanthropy, paranoia and claustrophobia which combined fact, quotation and fiction to create a vivid portrayal of Brian Clough’s extraordinary six weeks in charge at Elland Road. It’s fair to say that “The Damned United”, therefore, has a more rigorous standard to meet than “Soccer Dog: European Cup”. 1974 was a turbulent time in English football. England had failed to qualify...

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