Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tribute to Derby County

I'll be honest with you. I've written over 300 posts here on English Soccer Talk since I started this site, and other than in my preseason predictions and my midseason summaries, I can't remember any posts specifically about Derby County or even mentioning that club in another post for more than a sentence or two.

Well, don't accuse me of not being an "equal opportunity" writer. I'm going to use this time to salute the Rams, who were officially relegated back to the Coca-Cola Championship after last weekend's round of games.

Derby County FC:

Just by the "eye test", and I like to think I know a little bit about this game, Derby County has been the worst Premiership team I've ever seen.

Too harsh? Don't agree with me? Ok, that's fine. Let me give you a few stats to prove my point.

1. With six games left to play, Derby needs at least four more points to avoid becoming the team with the fewest points total in Premier League history. Those four points would give Derby 15, which would equal the record held by the 2005-2006 Sunderland squad. Five points, obviously, would propel Derby over the top. Can you see them getting five points from a schedule including games against Everton, Aston Villa, West Ham, Arsenal, Blackburn, and Reading? I can't.

2. Derby has one win in 32 league games. If that figure stands, Derby would have the fewest wins for one team in Premiership history. That 2005-2006 Sunderland team managed to win a whopping three matches, which is the current low.

3. The Rams' -51, yes, you read that right, -51, goal differential is the third-worst in Premiership history behind Swindon Town's -53 in 1993-1994 and Ipswich Town's -57 the following season. Remember, Derby still has six games to eclipse that record, and two or three of their opponents score goals for fun.

4. Their manager, Paul Jewell, was recently rumored to be involved in a sex tape scandal. It's unclear whether there's actually any evidence of this or if it was simply tabloid fodder, but still, this is pretty funny. You would think the manager of a woeful Premiership team would spend his time thinking of ways to improve his side, or be out on the training field with his players, or just something involved with soccer.

Apparently not Paul Jewell, who would rather make a sex tape with, if you believe the reports, a woman who isn't even attractive. If he's that good from behind, if you know what I mean, Derby should've been able to come up with some better results this season.

Alright, I really don't want to bash Derby any more. As soon as they won the playoff final to gain promotion to the Premiership for this season, they basically had their ticket to return to the Championship next season. It's extremely difficult to come from the Championship and compete with the big boys, especially when the money in England's top flight is flying around like it is and there's such a financial and competitive disparity between the two leagues.

They also have two Americans, Benny Feilhaber and Eddie Lewis, on their roster, and I like that. Feilhaber hasn't gotten a chance to play much this season, which I don't understand. One would think Jewell would try and get his youngsters as much experience as he can because some of the veteran players, like Robbie Savage, for one, won't be playing for Derby next year, and surely Feilhaber can't be that much worse than who is playing ahead of him. Lewis has played signficant minutes for the Rams and hasn't looked bad at all, especially considering his age and the position he plays. Ryan Giggs on that left wing, he is not, but he's still serviceable.

The players also clearly haven't given up and packed it in for the season, and that's more than I can say for some players at Spurs and West Ham, for starters. Derby's fans continue to pack Pride Park as well and again, that's more than I can say about fans of teams in a better position than Derby, like Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Wigan, and others.

So long, Derby. You've been one of the worst teams in league history, but it's been nice knowing you, and good luck in the Championship next year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen to this post. They are horrible.