Home to roost - Interview
Saturday, 27th Nov 2021 14:54 by Clive Whittingham
After years of mismanagement, excess and deception, Mel Morris has now abandoned Derby County to their fate which, as Ollie Wright from @DerbyCountyBlog tells us, looks bleak...
So... where are we at the moment? Current state of play at Derby?
You know about the points deduction and the fact that we're effectively relegated already. The only thing that matters now is that a buyer is found as soon as possible, otherwise the club will end up liquidated.
Derby league results so far…
What are the best case scenarios from here? Realistic buyers interested or chancers?
It's hard to know for sure, because the bidders are, in the main, keeping schtum. The only one who has truly gone public with his interest is an American tech entrepreneur, Chris Kirchner, who has made his money in logistics and has been praised pretty highly by one of our administrators in the media. A ropier contender in the Easdale brothers, previously involved with Rangers during their Mike Ashley years, entered the arena, but quickly departed again. Other names to have been linked have generally been American consortia Speculation regarding Mike Ashley appears to have been just that. Per the last update from the admins, there are four credible bidders in the running at the moment, but the clock is ticking and one of them needs to emerge from the pack very soon.
And what are the worst?
What transfer embargoes and rules are you under for January?
Erm... Not 100% clear, but in a nutshell, we're not allowed to pay a transfer or loan fee for the rest of the season. A business plan has been laid out by the EFL as part of the recent Agreed Decision, which confirmed a nine-point penalty. It specified that we can register 25 'Permitted Players', which is slightly more than the previous restriction of 23 'Players of Professional Standing'. The 'PoPS' restriction eventually had to be relaxed, or we wouldn't have been able to field a team, because our youth team all counted, having fulfilled an FA Cup tie at Chorley last season (when the first-team group had experienced a Covid outbreak).
The possibility that the EFL are making it up as they go along with all of this cannot be ruled out.
Ins >>> Sam Baldock, 32, CF, Reading, Free >>> Ravel Morrison, 28, AM, Unattached, Free >>> Ryan Allsop, 29, GK, Wycombe, Free >>> Richard Stearman, 33, CB, Huddersfield, Free >>> Phil Jagielka, 39, CB, Sheff Utd, Free
Outs >>> Scott Malone, 30, LB, Millwall, Free >>> Martyn Waghorn, 31, CF, Coventry, Free >>> Scott Carson, 35, GK, Man City, Free >>> Jack Marriott, 26, CF, Peterborough, Free >>> Henrich Ravas, 26, GK, Senica, Free >>> Florian Jozefzoon, 30, RW, Released >>> Jonathan Mitchell, 26, GK, Released >>> Jordan Ibe, 25, RW, Released >>> Curtis Davies, 36, CB, Released >>> Andre Wisdom, 28, RB, Released >>> Emmanuel Idem, 22, GK, Released
The team is actually playing pretty well, how do you assess the season on the pitch?
It's bizarre, really. There's no genuine tension, other than wanting to win each game because you want to win it. There have been some shockers, most notably defeats to Blackburn and Barnsley and an added-time collapse at Peterborough. But also some excellent displays, not least the recent victory over Bournemouth. Despite all the embargoes, it's a capable side and would have had every chance of surviving without the points deductions.
Who have been the stand outs and weak links so far?
Weaknesses are in goal, where we don't have a reliable number one and up-front, where we have no real cover for Colin Kazim-Richards, who is gradually returning from injury. Tom Lawrence has been fieided as a makeshift nine. But there are plenty of positives. Jason Knight is now recognised as fully-fledged Championship midfielder, with enviable energy and drive. Curtis Davies seems like a man on a mission to keep us up despite everything and has showed himself to be a model professional. The lightning speed of teenage right back or winger Festy Ebosele is so exciting to see and he's one who will inevitably be picked off this summer.
The team has generally been surprisingly good, especially at home, they're all clearly committed to doing themselves justice. We can ask for no more.
The Twitter @loftforwords, @DerbyCountyBlog
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When Saturday Comes #23 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and the U’s have a new management team in charge for a tough trip to Salford. Football is a results business, and sadly Hayden Mullins and his assistant Alex Dyer couldn’t deliver those results on the pitch. Yes they’ve had some tough breaks when luck and competent officials have just completely deserted them, but bottom line is we haven’t been good enough, and it was the right call by Robbie Cowling to no doubt reluctantly let them go after seven defeats in the last eight games, our solitary point a dour 0-0 at Bradford City.
When Saturday Comes #22 by wessex_exile
It’s the 15th of January, and still the U’s are attempting to play their first home match of 2022. Weather looks good (check), players have returned from injury (check), no on-day Covid testing to get in the way (check), so barring fire famine or flood, I reckon we must have at least a 50:50 chance of a game at the JobServe this afternoon. Whether it’ll be three much-needed points or not, and if you’ll pardon the pun, I at least did see green shoots at the New Lawn on Tuesday. We still lost, and the table doesn’t lie, but definitely signs to encourage me that whilst it’s not going to be a comfortable journey, we’ll be alright by May.
When Saturday Comes #21 by wessex_exile
Here we are then, what should have been the first home game of 2022, and I discover seconds before posting this that the game is called off because of a waterlogged pitch. Having gone to the trouble of writing this, even though we’re not playing I’m going to post it anyway – it’s not like you’ve got anything else to do this afternoon.
When Saturday Comes #20 by wessex_exile
Finally, When Saturday Comes…and the U’s (for now at least) have a match to play. Mind you, I’m writing this on Friday afternoon, so there’s still time yet for yet another Covid/ injury postponement, I guess. I certainly hope not, as I’m planning on heading over to Crawley for this one. Mind you, now that the EFL have decreed there will be no on the day testing to eliminate the possibility of last-minute cancellations, I think I’ll defer buying a train ticket until this evening. Needless to say, a repeat of our last visit to Broadfield (The People’s Pension Stadium under the terms of a sponsorship deal) would do very nicely indeed.
When Saturday Comes #19 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…and the U’s find themselves fixtureless again, following Hartlepool’s request to postpone the game because of positive Covid tests amongst their squad. To heap further fixture congestion problems on the U’s, in short order Forest Green Rovers did likewise for our already rearranged match at the New Lawn on Tuesday night, and for the same reason. They’re not on their own either, with in all (so far) four Premier League and 19 EFL matches postponed today – all for positive Covid tests in their squads.
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