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DERBY. NOW. ALWAYS. WE ARE DERBY.

RAM

NATION

Derby County Football Club’s Official Fanzine

PROJECT PROMOTION EDITION Helping you to cope with that play-off fever set to hit Derby.

JAKE

BUXTON ZERO TO HERO

APRIL EDITION

SETH JOHNSON Dissertation Ram Nation.indd 1

ROSS FLETCHER

May 2014

Rams player of the year reflects on an unfogettable season.

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RAM

NATION EDITORIAL

Tel: 07414878227 E-Mail: Ram.Nation@gmail.co.uk

Editor: Ryan Burton Deputy Editor: Ryan Burton

Production Editor: Ryan Burton Art Editor: Ryan Burton Pictures: Rob Parsons Deputy Design: Matt Eyre

Lloyd Carr Writers: You, the fans.

Media Communications: Staff

Thanks to: Owen Bradley, Ed Dawes, Colin Gibson, Tom Loakes, John Vicars, Craig Ramage, Steve Nicholson, Chris Watson, Sam Rush, Nick Webster, Ross Fletcher, Adam Thorley Joanne Orme, Simon Carnall, Sam Bell, Matt Beadle, Conor Sammon

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THANK YOU

EDITOR’S MESSAGE

“Since the return of McClaren, there has been a real positive vibe around the club. It is an exciting time to be a Ram!” Hello and welcome to the first edition of RamNation, the club’s first fanzine! Admittedly, it is a strange time to release the first issue of a magazine, with it being the end of the season. At the same time though, what better time is there to release a brand, new exciting fanzine than on the eve of the play-offs? The play-offs is the talking point all around the city. There has not been a buzz like this around the area since our play-off success in 2007. So you will not be surprised to find there is a bit of a play-off and promotion theme in this debut edition. Whatever happens, this season has been one to remember! Since the return of McClaren, there has been a real positive vibe around the club. It is an exciting time to be a Ram. The team has played with confidence and a sense of freedom which has been a pleasure to watch. Everyone has played their role in this season being such a success. From the board of directors to the supporters. We are all pushing in the same direction and striving towards the same goal, getting this club back to where it deserves! If, like me, you are a bit nervous about the lottery that is the play-offs then we have provided a variety of features in here to take your mind off it. We have interviews with ex-Rams players, stars of the future and fan written content which all make for an interesting read. That’s about it from me, I would just like to say thank you for picking up a copy of RamNation and I hope you enjoy it as I did creating it. Finally, lets get behind the lads and roar them all the way back to the Premier League! See you in the Premier League. Come on you Rams!

THE FANS Without you this fanzine would not of been possible, looking at the even bigger picture, there would be no club without you. Premier League or not, we are the greatest fans on earth and days like the one above prove how much this football club means to this city. As long as you the fans continue support our great club, no matter how faceless and corporate the beautiful game becomes, it will never take away the heart and soul from us. We’re more than just a football club, we’re a community. We are one. We are Derby. Now. Always.

Ryan Burton Editor You can follow and tweet me at @RyanBurton92

SOCIAL NETWORKING WITH RAM NATION Keep up to date with Derby County Football Club’s official fanzine Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

/ramnation1

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CONTENTS 8

FLAGMAN SPEAKS We caught up with Nick Webster. We talk everything flagman, safe standing and our promotion chances.

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GLOBAL RAMS An interview with Ex BBC Radio Derby commentator Ross Fletcher who is now working for MLS outfit Seattle Sounders.

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Off The Pitch Ian Taylor talks to us about his new company IT7 Audio and what else he’s been doing since his retirement.

22

FUTSAL Head of Football and Education at Derby, Adam Thorley, tells us about the club’s involvement in futsal.

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BUCKENBAUER RamNation pays tribute to Derby County’s player of the year. The true underdog story, Bucko has defied the odds to become a key player for the Rams.

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RETURN OF THE MAC We look at the transformation of the Derby County squad since the return of Steve McClaren.

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PLAY-OFF MEMORIES We caught up with two players from the 2007 promotion winning squad. Seth Johnson and Steve Howard look back on the season the Rams made history.

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GOING FOR GOLD Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson spent some time with the Derby players. We find out what he was doing at Moor Farm.

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Picture by: Andy Clarke

PICTURE PERFECT

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FLYING THE FLAG Nick Webster

FLAGMAN SPEAKS

“So there I was, sat on the tube carrying an 18kg bag with the flag in it. I Felt like a Japanese tourist in London not a football fan!” Flagman speaks about following the Rams home and away, safe-standing and the move to the South Stand.

How long have you been following the Rams home and away? And how did the ‘flagman’ thing begin? I have been following Derby since around the age of 7. I would go to the odd match at the Baseball Ground. As I grew older I stopped going with my Dad and went with my mates, as you tend to do at the age of 14 or so. By the age of 16 I was going home and away season on season. I’m now 31 and it’s still the same buzz! If I had a pound for every time I told the flagman story! Basically there was a thread on the old therams.co.uk forum in 2008 asking if anyone wanted to look after the Giant Rams Flag that we as fans owned. It has been in storage for a year or so following the awful Premier League season. I replied and a week later I picked it up. The first thing I thought was that is was bloody heavy! It has been in storage for a year or so following the awful Premier League season.

Like the games at Cardiff and Middlesbrough, there were less than 200 of us! A club of our size should be taking more away from home and I think with the upturn in results and performances, the fans are starting to believe again. There is a buzz! You won the award for supporter of the year for the Championship last season. How did that make you feel? It was a very proud moment. I was honoured to be nominated by my fellow Derby fans. Who wouldn’t? My take on it is that we are all equal and I saw it as an award for all of our fans and not just me. The event in London was very special, I was all suited and booted which is not my kind of thing. It was nice to appreciate and see the other side of football though. I was actually very relieved I didn’t win the overall Football League Fan of the Year. Although I’m not going to lie, my heart was beating quite fast when it was being announced!

My first game and Charlton away on a Monday night live on Sky TV. So there I was, sat on the tube carrying an 18kg bag with the flag in it Felt like a Japanese tourist in London not a football fan! The TV camera’s picked the flag up over seats and everyone was glad to see the flag back in the stand where it belongs. The rest is history.

You are a well-known campaigner for the introduction of Safe Standing areas in football grounds across England, so much so that you went to Hannover and visited the AWD Arena, how was the experience? Visiting the AWD Arena was an experience. I have been to national stadiums following England but this was my first club stadium and what a stadium it is. Although the day consisted mainly of filming for the safe standing promotion video we did get time to take a look around and simply it’s amazing! I often frequent an empty Pride Park Stadium but walking into an empty AWD Arena it just felt so much different! For those still undecided, is it something you think that you have to see for yourselves working in person to be really convinced by it? How ‘safe’ is it?

Away attendances have increased dramatically since the arrival of Steve McClaren. Do you think he has got that excitement factor he was looking for when he first came back? Away figures have definitely increased heavily and rightly so. Since the return of McClaren there is a real feel good factor in the stands and in the city as a whole. It’s absolutely fantastic to see especially seeing as some of our away numbers last season were not great.

More than your average fan: Webster with his Fan of the year award

AWD Arena: Home to Hannover 96

Yes for sure I think fans need to understand what safe standing actually is. Simply its standing safely and not like how it is now, which might I add can be classed as unsafe. Safe Standing is not terracing and never will be like terracing. Times have moved on. I am yet to meet someone who is opposed to safe standing that actually understands it. When you explain exactly what it is, the words ‘that’s RamNation May 2014 8

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FLAGMAN SPEAKS a great idea and makes sense’ are generally said. If we can make our game safer, like the Taylor report did at the time in the 90’s then we should be doing so. After all Germany have had areas for 10 odd years with no problems. Do you think the introduction of safe standing add a significant effect to watching a football game live? How does it improve the atmosphere? Do you think it will help bring those ‘traditional’ fans back through the turnstiles? Not all fans prefer to stand at football. However, the current regulations suit them more so than it does for fans that wish to stand. It is all about choice. Many fans have commented that should standing be legally allowed then they would return to football. That can only be a good thing for the clubs concerned. In terms of atmosphere, simply how many fans sing and bounce about having fun whilst seated? None. We all stand when going through the motions. So with fans permanently stood in special areas then yes in my opinion the atmosphere will approve. Again, compare games in Germany to games in England in terms of atmosphere. It’s no contest. We have to be careful not to lose another generation. These 12 up to 16 year olds are the future of the club. These fans probably want to be jumping around and being vocal. If they see a soulless stadium I think we will see them hang out in Westfield or on their PlayStations because there is no attraction. If they were having fun and singing songs in standing areas with like-minded fans then more will stay with more and being attracted. It’s all about securing our fan base for the future!

FACTS ABOUT: SAFE STANDING

Speaking of atmosphere, from next season onwards the Rams will have the whole of the South Stand dedicated to home supporters. You had a trial run of this in the big Derby against Forest, how was it? How much of a difference did it make having support behind both goals, do you think it helped the team’s performance on what was a fantastic day for the Rams? I think any of the 33,006 inside Pride Park for the Forest home game will have noticed the difference with the South Stand. I have never experienced

a home game atmosphere like that. That includes the play-off semi-final game against Southampton, which was very special. Having 4300 Derby fans being vocal behind the goal managed to suck 3 goals in on its debut? Coincidence? I don’t know but speaking to the players they felt the vibe and liked it.

“Play offs- been there done that. We can do it again!” Our promotion chances... what do you really think? Our promotion chances. Who knows what might happen. The Championship is notorious for being such an unpredictable league. In my opinion Derby deserve to go up. We are so ready now. Play offs been there done that. We can do it again!

Above: Rams fans taunt Forest fans. Players celebrate in front of the South Stand Rams Fans.

Will the rise in ticket prices at places like Arsenal and Man Utd (up to 50 quid a ticket) tempt you to miss a cheeky away game here and there? Premier league prices..... Lets discuss that when we’re there!

@dcfc_flagman Safe standing refers to specific models of modern standing accommodation. The ‘rail seat’ model is being promoted for use in English stadiums. Rail seats allow entire stands (or sections of a stand) to be easily converted from standing to seating and back again whenever required at no cost. Rail seats incorporate a safety barrier and a flip-down seat on every other row (or step). These seats can be locked in an upright position for domestic games, allowing two rows of supporters to stand in between barriers. Supporters are given a designated ‘seat’ (or standing plot) but watch the game while standing. With only two rows of fan per barrier there is no danger of a crush or progressive crowd collapse, and this technology facilitates the inclusion of up to 80% more supporters than a seated area of similar size. Bristol City became the first UK Club to install rail seats at Ashton Gate in February. For more information on safe-standing visit:

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FANZONE

MEMORY LANE “ When I first came to England, everyone was saying ‘Costa Rica, do they play football?’ ” BEN SMITH REMEMBERS....

PAULO WANCHOPE Paulo Wanchope is, and always will be, my GRAHAM RICHARDS favourite ever player. Yes he was only at Derby for a short amount of time, two full seasons, and REMEMBERS he was an amazingly frustrating talent at times “It was one of the most amazing but I loved him. individual goals I’ve ever seen. I can see him He famously made his debut in 1997 against now, setting off. As a commentator you’ve simply Manchester United when he scored an absolute got to be aware of what might happen next.... He got to the penalty area when he released the ball wonder-strike. He picked the ball up on the - and I hope my commentary carries the note of halfway line and beat four defenders before incredulity that was the occasion.” slotting past Peter Schmeichel. It was voted the greatest goal in Derby’s history. I don’t remember the goal happening but I’ve watched it hundreds of times on video and it perfectly demonstrates what was so good about International him. His gangly legs always looked on the verge Superstar: of buckling yet he managed to force his way past Wanchope scored 45 players. goals in 73 international Obviously it didn’t always go right for Paulo apperances for Costa at Derby. Though his unpredictability kept Rica. opposition players on edge it also led to some poor performances. His record of 28 goals in 83 games for the club is relatively modest but that wasn’t the point of him. I didn’t love Paulo because he scored lots of goals or because he was always the best player on the pitch - it was because every so often he would do something I’d never seen in a Derby shirt. Other players, Stimac for example, were far more consistent performers but they didn’t have the endearing ridiculousness of Paulo.

He also played at the club when I was always likely to find my favourite player. I was just about to turn six when he arrived and was eight when he left. These were the years I first properly supported Derby and my passion began. It also helped that he was managed by Jim Smith. He was a great man for many reasons but mainly because he has the same name as my Dad. The Jim Smith Era was my favourite as a Derby fan and Paulo was right at the head of it. In 2006 Costa Rica played at the World Cup in Germany. Paulo scored two of his nation’s three goals in the tournament to bring back some great memories. But I watched with sadness knowing this was probably the last chance I’d get to watch my hero play. It’s now been over 14 years since Paulo last played for Derby County but no one has come close to matching him in my heart. I will probably never watch another player with the same childish enthusiasm and wonder I watched Paulo. He was just brilliant.

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IMPORTS: HIT AND MISS

GEORGI “Kinki”

KINKLADZE Position: Midfielder 1999-2003 Apperances: 93 Goals: 7

A

HIT!

PUB AMMO Kinkladze was twice named Georgian footballer of the year. In 1992-93 and 1995-96 seasons respectively.

t first glance, Georgi Kinkladze’s record for the Rams does not look mightily impressive. In just under four years at the club, he made less than 100 appearances, netting seven times. These are hardly jaw dropping stats for an attacking playmaker. However, in football we are constantly reminded that it is not a game played on paper. Georgi Kinkladze emphasises this. The Georgian international arrived on loan from Dutch giants Ajax in 1999 on the back of a very unsuccessful spell there, making only 12 first team appearances which led to losing his place in the Georgian national team. He was eventually signed for a then, record fee of £3 million to make his loan move permanent. He was already a familiar face in England; he had become a club favourite at Manchester City. At 26 years old, Kinkladze was entering the peak years of his footballing career and still had plenty to offer. Jim Smith gave Kinki another chance to prove himself in the Premier League. This gamble proved to be a masterstroke by the bold eagle. He managed to get the best back out of Kinkladze. A combination of Smith’s eye for talent and Kinki’s desire to prove the doubters wrong led to some of the best individual attacking performances seen by Rams fans. He will always be renowned for his dribbling ability and natural instinct to look for that killer pass to split open the opposition defence. His creative flair was an instant hit with the fans. At times his admirers could become his worst critics, as many grew increasingly frustrated at his unwillingness to tackle. Colin Todd once commented, “Georgi has to understand that there is an art to tackling.” What made Kinkladze so special is that he would be able to light up a game in a matter of seconds. This after spending the majority of the game not looking like he was doing much at all. Despite the frustrations, his moments of magic made them seem irrelevant. Looking back at his ‘unimpressive’ stats, what needs to be taken into consideration is that his time with the Rams came when the club was on a steep decline. His time at the club came while we were in the midst of a three-year long relegation battle. Problems in the boardroom, managerial changes and financial problems eventually hit the club hard. Individually, Kinki suffered a number of injuries during his time at Derby and this developed as a regular pattern throughout the rest of his career. He still managed to get the club’s player of the year award for the 2002-2003 season. This further underlining the theory that Georgi Kinkladze was probably the right player for Derby County, but at the wrong time.

FAN OPINION James England

He was a very hit and miss player. Despite this, at the time he was one of my favourite players because he was so entertaining. I had him on the back of my shirt! Even though I was only seven I remember how well he played against WImbledon in the 1999/2000 season. RamNation May 2014 12

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IMPORTS: HIT AND MISS

Emanuel “Tito”

N

ow, it can be argued that Tito Villa has been very unlucky to find himself here. After all, he was signed halfway through the notorious Premier League campaign where we collected 11 points. Even if we had the attacking talents of another certain Argentine in Catalonia at our disposal, it would still be hard to have seen us fair any better. Unfortunately Villa was given the task of scoring goals in a team that had only collected one win (and that was how it would end) all season. The whole season was a disaster by all

accounts; the player of the year trophy being awarded to Rams fans just sums it up. In all fairness, any one of that team could’ve been included in this section. Ironically, despite his poor goal scoring form, he became a bit of a fans favourite for his hard work and running down of lost causes when we eventually got up to that end of the pitch. Despite being under 6ft, he is renowned for his heading ability. By the looks of things, we just have a bit of a personal vendetta against Villa. Unfortunately, strikers are judged on goals and this was not a feature of his time with the Rams. Six of his nine goals came in league cup fixtures against lower league opposition. To Villa’s credit, he is renowned for his goal scoring in the Mexican league. His record is pretty impressive and on his day clearly knows where the back of the net is. He also scored against Forest, so you can’t hold too much against the man. Unfortunately for him, just like our hit Kinkladze, it was the classic case of being at the right place, at the wrong time.

MISS!

VILLA Position: Striker 2008-2009 Apperances: 53 Goals: 9

PUB AMMO Villa is the sixth all-time leading goalscorer for Mexican side Cruz Azul. Notching up an impressive 66 goals in 130 apperances. That averages at a goal every other game! Paul Phillips

FAN OPINION

I was personally quite a big fan of Villa. He always put in 100% and was technically a decent player. I think he was just unlucky that he came to us when he did. My best memory of him was away at Watford. He had a blinder! RamNation May 2014 13

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Speaking In Seattle “It’s massively exciting being a part of the Sounders set-up in a league that is growing. You always want to be a part of something that is on the up!”

In 2012, Ross Fletcher swapped the murky British shores for a brighter life in the States. He soon found out it wasn’t only the climate he had to adjust to. The former voice of the Rams spoke to RamNation about the rise of the MLS, living in America and looks back on his time with Derby; including that Pearson goal... You’ve been in America for the best part of two years now. Are you enjoying it? How does it compare to England? It’s massively exciting being a part of the Sounders set-up in a league that is growing. You always want to be a part of something that is on the up. I remember my last ever game in England, my last ever game I commentated on for BBC Radio Five Live and it was Manchester United versus Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on Boxing Day 2011.The atmosphere there was really quite muted. I was thinking this was meant to be the theatre of dreams, the place a lot of people around the world look at as being the best for football. In my first game for the Sounders, it was a CONCACAF game (Champions League) against the Mexican team, Santos Laguna and there was just 20,000 in the stadium which is well below the Sounders average. However I remember the noise, half an hour before kick-off, it was incredible. It was a hair on the back of your neck moment, I just couldn’t help but really get thrown into it and I realised that had landed in a really great place. How did this job come about? My old colleague at BBC Radio Derby, Arlo White. Me and Colin Gibson gave

him his first job working on the Alfreton Town coverage. We realised he had massive talent and wasn’t going to stay there for long in that role and we couldn’t offer him anything bigger. He got his job at BBC Radio Five Live and we always stayed friends after that.

Above Fletcher with Alan Hinton (left)

He then got offered the job to go and work for the Sounders. He was very successful there and was poached to do broadcasting of the MLS on a national scale. Seattle didn’t want to let him go but they did so that he could develop his career but you need to help us find a replacement, who did he look to? Me. He asked me if I wanted to broaden my horizons further and work over in America full time for the Sounders. I said yeah, I’ll give it a go. He flew me over here and wowed me, and haven’t looked back since.

Was it a scary time moving to a new country with a different culture and attitude towards football over there? Did it help having Rams legend Alan Hinton around when you arrived? It wasn’t necessarily scary, but there was moments when I thought to myself what am I doing here? I’m in a country when I don’t know anyone; the language aspect was obviously great as they all largely speak your language although I would use a hell of a lot of English phrases where people would just ask what? I came here with two suitcases and one backpack and it was like starting my life over. I was in a hotel for three weeks, within that time I had to find an apartment in a city that I didn’t know and I had to learn the names of everybody in the office and there was a lot of them. I had to learn about my new team I was covering and lots of new players while at the same time trying to deal with other things. It was a whirlwind! I stand pretty much daily on the training ground chatting to Alan Hinton, a Rams legend and getting his thoughts on things. That was quite a comfort to know there was somebody so close to home was there who knew all about the challenges and I could talk with him about things back home He gave me great grounding but was also great comfort to have there and have a long my side there which I have always valued. RamNation May 2014 14

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GLOBAL RAMS The MLS takes a bit of stick in this country for it’s standard of play. The league has seen a massive rise in attendances and investment over the years. How do you rate the standard of football now? It’s a funny thing a lot of people ask me about the MLS and the quality of play, what standard is it at, is it Premier League quality? Well no, is it trying to be the Premier League? Again, the answer is no. It is trying to be it’s own league and it will always be different to England. The best games you see out here now with the investment of players. In the case with Seattle, you have Clint Dempsey, Obefami Martins, Djimi Traore; a Champions League winner with Liverpool and a few other guys with great experience, you see a team who could challenge, not all the time, but in some games, some Premier League teams a run for their money now and again, If the Sounders were to be perform at a consistent standard, they would be at the level of a top half Championship level team and some teams, largely below that. All the time the league is improving its quality and style of play. The more quality players that are now coming to the MLS, it is not seen so much as a retirement home for the older players. It wants to prove that players do, and can have a good career here in America. Will it catch up to the Premier League? I don’t think it ever will. Will the quality of play keep on improving consistently year after year? Absolutely. Is it entertaining to watch? Definitely. It will only get stronger as the years go on. The latest big name from England to move to the MLS is Jermaine Defoe, moving to Toronto. If he impresses enough and scores a good amount of goals, what are his chances of getting on that plane to Rio? Or will the ‘standard of league’ hinder his chances? I think the most important thing is that he is going to get consistent playing time and if by May/June he has scored 8, 10 or 12 goals in as many games, I

Sounders Stats

Familar faces at CenturyLink Field: Djimi Traore (Left), Clint Dempsey (Top Right), Obefami Martins (Bottom Right)

don’t think Roy Hodgson can leave him off. He is still a quality player and in the three/ four months he will have been away from Tottenham, he will not lose that quality. I personally think you will see Jermaine Defoe on that plane and his time at Toronto will not be at his detriment. I will be surprised if there is that prejudice from Roy Hodgson because he knows what quality Jermaine Defoe is to us and he is not suddenly going to become a bad player overnight. Coming to the MLS won’t make him a bad player. It’s a different standard but he will shine here and if he shines here it will be difficult for Hodgson to leave him out. Do you believe this retirement home tag will change? There are a few examples of players going over there, playing regularly and coming back to England to forge a successful career. One prime example is Rams winger Simon Dawkins who played a couple of years for the San Jose Earthquakes. Will this kind of thing begin to happen more? Absolutely. One big reason is a new franchise coming to the league next year, New York City FC, who for all intensive purposes will be run by Manchester City, the New York Yankees have a small stake within the club but it will primarily be a Manchester City team. We’re all agreed that New York City FC will be able to bring over 4 Manchester City under 21 players. They will also bring three star players across too. So you are going to see a lot more movement from Europe to the MLS.

◊ Seattle Sounders FC was formed in 2007. Making it the 15th team in the MLS.

◊ They broke the MLS record for average highest attendance in 2012: 43,144

New York City will be a massive catalyst for that. The league is now being watched in more countries than ever before. More quality players are coming over and they are telling their friends, look, Thierry Henry said a few weeks ago that MLS is not an easy league and is a hard league to play in. So if you want to test yourself then come over and do it. I think that in a few years time people will no longer be talking about the MLS league as the retirement home. It will start become the league of choice for players from different nations, as it already is for a selection of Argentinians, Colombians and a few more Spanish players are coming into it now. I think that while the league is evolving, those protestations of the league being a retirement home will gradually ebb away. Let’s rewind back to your time back at Derby. At only the age of 22, you became the voice of match-days on BBC Radio Derby, taking over from Graham Richards, surely a huge amount of pressure on a young man’s shoulders? There was always going to be some expectations because Graham was such a legend when it comes to Derby County, he had been doing it for 26 years, He had a fantastic authoritative manner about him. He had a great turn of phrase and seen as a local legend in Derby circles. So there was a lot for me to live up to in a sort of way but I always thought if I was going to do this, I was going to do it my way and I’m going to be my own person and put my mark on it. As a 22 year old your not going to sound like Graham Richards and my intention was never to be like him, it was just to be me. The expectations were the ones I

◊ They are three-time winners of the U.S. Open cup. Winning it three consecutive years from 2009 to 2011.

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GLOBAL RAMS based on myself. I knew there was a standard I had to come in and emulate; I always knew I had the ability to be a decent commentator. I hope in the years that have gone by I have proved a such. It wasn’t necessarily a smooth transition as I was taking over from a legend but I like to think I made a decent go of it. When you took over the reigns, it was the beginning of a bit of a slippery slide for the club. We were in financial meltdown; there was mediocrity on and off the pitch. What are your memories of these first few years watching Derby County? I remember it being a real challenge because of what you mentioned with the off-field situation it always seemed that Derby County was just this one huge soap opera with drama every single week. There was always something going on off the field, and on the field it affected things. You’d go into a broadcast every week having to think about what’s going on off the field because you knew you would be talking about that before kick. Then, going on the field, you could just see the sad, disintegration of this once proud Premier League team. There were clearly players there who were being paid more money than their level of performance was worth. As a 22 year old coming into that fairly fresh, it was definitely a challenging time. For me it helped shape me as a broadcaster, if you can get through that then you can get through anything. I just remember coming in every week thinking ‘what’s gone on off the field now?’ and it certainly helped shaped me as journalist and commentator. We did enjoy some success in your time with us, we made it back to the top flight. It was one to forget. Billy Davies kept on insisting that our time came to early before promotion was even sealed. Did this also play on your mind during our surge up the Championship table? I think so; as far as you can say a team being prepared for the Premier League then Derby proved they weren’t. The funny thing was they want and spent £6-7 million in the January transfer window of the promotion season. So you’d of thought they would have performed better but ultimately Billy Davies’ signings in that transfer window mostly proved mostly, not to have been good signings.

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The amount of money Derby County spent there, ok, relatively it was never going to rival the top ten in the Premier League but it was a heck of a lot of money for a Championship club even for someone who had a hell of a good chance of going up. So, those were the ones who set the tone for me of what turned out to be the team who would end up with the lowest Premier League points total in history. There was an air of inevitability from the 5th/6th game on, I remember going to Liverpool and Derby got absolutely getting turned over 6-0 and they hardly touched the ball and Billy Davies looked like he was a championship manager. Then Paul Jewell came in and he mis-fired with his signings, which just added to the disappointment and that kind of feeling that air was coming out of the tyre and there was no way it was going to get inflated again. It was just damage limitation until the end of the season. So our brief stint back in the Premier League was very tough to take Do you still follow the Rams in America? What do you think our chances of promotion are? I still follow obviously; it’s still one of the first scores I look for having spent so much time living in the city and working on the commentary for the team. I stay up to date with the twitter feed and I am still in contact with Colin Gibson and a few of the old people at Derby I used to work with. Looking at the squad, I think it’s a talented squad. Again, I think it is in a similar situation to what Billy Davies had in 2007, and clearly needs to get stronger. You look at Steve McClaren has done though; he’s been there, done it and got the t-shirt in terms of making a quality side WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE! Pearson and Howard celebrate winning goal

tick in the Premier League. I just think that if we can hold onto Will Hughes, he’s a guy who should develop into a quality Premier League player. A guy that can make you tick, if he stays fit, stays healthy, great. We need more firepower I think, that’s apparent, they need someone who is going to guarantee them 10/12 goals let alone 20, you just don’t find those kind of players really for the money that Derby can afford to pay. I think they’ve got just a good chance as anybody.

“I lost it a little bit and when you go crazy as a commentator there is always the risk that your voice will crack. My voice cracked big time!” Finally, that play-off final winning goal. You have become renowned amongst Rams fans with your commentary during when Stephen Pearson scored the winner How would you rank that day in your career? It’s really funny when I think back of the emotions of the day because it was clearly one of the most magnificent days in Derby’s history. The goal call itself I still look back on and cringe a little bit because I went crazy, I think that was absolutely right because it was such a pivotal moment in Derby’s history getting back into the Premier League. I lost it a little bit and when you go crazy as a commentator there is always the risk that your voice will crack. My voice cracked big time! So as a structured piece of commentary I don’t like it but I think it got across the passion and excitement in the moment, which is the most important thing. Seeing just over 34,000 Derby fans there in a crowd of 75,000 at the national stadium, this newly revamped Wembley stadium was tremendous. The team in mass of humanity clouded in black and white all going berserk was a fabulous sight and I don’t think I will ever forget. Personally and professionally it ranks up there as being a career highlight but if I could call the game again? I would probably give it another stab! RamNation May 2014 17

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DID Y OU KN This w OW? as the Rams’ bigges t Forest win over since when Steve 1889 Bloom scored a hat-tr er ick

DE FOREST ATION

[ Action Replay ]

RAMS 5 RED DOGS 0

We give our top reasons why you will never get tired of that day in March...

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Action Replay

THOUGHTS FROM THE MAC

1

Ed Dawes’ Commentary “National Deforestation Day is complete!”

As a local lad, BBC Radio Derby commentator knew exactly what this day meant to Rams fans. Amongst all the excitement he managed to come up for a term which sums up the day perfectly. National Deforestation Day will now forever be associted with the day we put the red dogs to the sword. If you haven’t had the chance, get on Youtube and listen to it. You won’t regret it!

4

South Stand Rams Bounce Some Rams fans find a new home

Fans had been campaigning for home fans to be able to sit behind both goals at the iPro. This wish was partially granted by giving home fans the majority of the south stand. However, it was decided Derby day was the best day to move the away fans into the South-East corner. It was a complete success and will be a permanent feixture at the iPro from next season...

TWEET ALL ABOUT IT Some of the reactions to national deforestation day on Twitter

“It is three points for us, for the fans it is much bigger than that. This win is for the Derby fans. These games are for the fans and I am so pleased for them.”

2

“WE ONLY WON 5-2” We put an end to that annoying chant

Since that awful night in 2010, the Forest fans have not let us forget about it. For years they have referred to the A52 as the A-Five-Two. Even when they found themselves being outclassed by the Rams, their travelling band of fans sang the song “We only won 5-2.” Thanks to McClaren and the boys, this night can be erased from memory and replaced by that glorious day in March instead.

5

3

Before the start of this season, we had not had a player score a league hat-trick since Derby coach Paul Simpson in 1996. Bryson ended this baron run at Millwall at the start of the season. This was not enough for our goal hungry Scotsman. He decided that being the first Rams player to score three goals against Forest since Steve Bloomer in 1898 would do. I wonder if he’ll get that statue...

End of the Road for Billy King Billy gets dethroned

6

It’s pretty common knowledge that Billy Davies is not the most popular figure in Derby. Towards the end of his second reign and unfinished business at the City Ground, he became disliked increasingly by the media and even his own fans. After the defeat, Billy refused to speak to the press and this proved to be the final nail in his coffin. Definitely the icing on top of the rather large, delicious cake.

Step Forward King Bryson! Hat-tricks do not come about often

Johnny Rocket Russell finds his shooting boots

3-0 up at half-time, you can imagine why Rams fans were finding it hard to think of other ways the game could get any better. Step forward Johnny Russell, who let fly with a left-footed pile driver from 30 yards out. Watching that ball nestle in the back of Karl Darlow’s net gets more satisfying with each view. Unsurprisingly voted as goal of the season. We won’t mention his air kick later on!

Johnny Russell Rams Striker

Jeff Hendrick Rams Midfielder

Niall Horan Famous Rams Fan

Congratz to @JeffHendrick92 deserves his goal and hat-trick hero @bryso7 we will hear about this for a while he will want a statue next too

On days like this happy I chose to sign for derby instead of forest when I was sixteen.

Wow! 5-0! Huge win against the reds! Congrats @bryso7 on the hat trick and congrats to @johnny russell27 for the fresh air swing!

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Off The Pitch

RAMS IN BUSINESS EX-RAMS CAPTAIN TALKS LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL

IAN TAYLOR

\

iT7 AUDIO

The Birth of iT7 It was a chance meeting to be fair, I’m club ambassador at Aston Villa now and I travel around the world a lot with them, especially pre-season. A couple of years back we went to Hong Kong on a pre-season tour with Chelsea and Blackburn playing against a local Hong Kong team as well. While I was there I bumped into a guy who manufactures Bluetooth products and supplies, iPhone chargers, car chargers that you use in your car. He supplies the likes of Tesco with those kinds of products. He wanted to bring out a higher range of headphones and asked me if I wanted to get involved. I’ve always been into my music so I jumped at the chance really. I’m one of these people who likes to have his fingers in a few pies so I thought I’d give it a go. I even helped design the logo. We’re in stores now as well. It’s been a steep learning curve.

There have been a few bumps along the way but you get that in business. It’s been a good journey and it’s great seeing the product on the shelves. To see Ian’s range of headphones. You can visit www.it7audio.co.uk

FROM iT7 TO 007

Taylor talks to us about why he wasn’t cut out for the agent lifestyle and his venture with another fans favourite...

After I retired, I went into football agency to start off. A football agent who wanted me to work with him approached me. I tried it out for a couple of years, didn’t really like it, I’m far too nice to be a football agent. There are aspects of it I did like, mentoring young players and getting them in on board but I didn’t like the darker side of it though. I always wanted to create my own company and work for myself; I don’t like to have a boss. I got together with an old warhorse of Derby County, Michael Johnson and we formed our own company. We just decided to make some use of the contacts we’ve made over the years, that’s called Stadia Sports and Lifestyle. We get involved in different projects in and around the Derbyshire area. We’re getting businesses into the sports world as well and that’s going pretty well.

Above: Ex-Rams defender Johnson has gone into business with Taylor RamNation May 2014 21

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Throwback

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? We investigate whereabouts of some familiar names and look back on their time with the Rams!

MISSING!

We Can’t Find Them All.. Bjorn Otto Bragstad

Despite the amazing advances in internet search engine technology, there is still that one person that even Google has no idea to the whereabouts of. In this case it is Derby’s former Norwegian defender. Signed by Jim Smith for a sizable fee,

he made a lasting impression at Pride Park and not for the right reasons. After making 12 apperances for us, he left for Germany and was never heard of again. Wikipedia does not have any record of his existence from 2004 onwards.

GARY ROWETT

MALCOLM CHRISTIE Aston Martin Salesman Malcolm Christie is remembered fondly amongst Rams fans. Scoring some notable goals for the club, remember the goal at Old Trafford to keep us in the Premier League back in 2001? His time with us was to be his career high points in the end as the rest of his time in football was spent mostly on the treatment table. After leaving Derby in 2003, he made under 50 appearances in six years for Middlesbrough and Leeds United. Christie decided against moving into coaching or any other aspect of football. After spending the majority of his years driving fast, expensive cars, he decided to start selling them instead. He can be found in the North-East at the Aston martin dealership trying to bag as many car sales as he did goals in front of the Derby County fans!

ABurton Albion Manager Not far up the road from Derby, you can find Gary Rowett working minor miracles in League two at Burton Albion. Having been named assistant to another ex-Rams player, Paul Peschisolido, in 2009, he has since took control in the dug-out. For a second consecutive season he has managed to take the Brewers to the play-offs, despite the restraints of having one of the league’s smallest squad budgets. Rowett made over 100 appearances for the Rams from 1995 to 1998. This is a period in the club’s history considered by many as our finest since the Brian Clough and Dave MacKay years in the 70s. After proving that his first season in charge was no fluke, he has been touted as one of the lower league’s hottest properties. We will be hoping for double play-off success so the Brewers can join us in the promotion celebrations.

BRANKO STRUPAR

Croatian Football Commentator Moving away from the British isles, we check on the progress of Branko Strupar. Despite his time with the Rams being blighted with injuries, his notorious free-kick taking ability made him an isntant hit with the fans. After four years in England, he moved back to his native Croatia to end his career with Dinamo Zagreb. He can now be found commentating on the Croatian network RTL covering Premier League matches. We may seem him at some matches next year then...

ROBIN VAN DER LAAN SOCCER ACADEMY Robin Van Der Laan will forever be remembered amongst the Rams faithful for scoring the winning goal to take us back to the top division back in 1996. He was a fans favourite even before this. He was probably one of the last of a dying breed of footballer who was technically gifted but not blessed with the greatest physique or stamina. He captained the team during an exciting period for the team which saw the return of Premier League

football and a brand new stadium. After his release from the club, he played for Barnsley then retired. He then gained his UEFA A Coaching licence and became the Manchester United Head International Coach for their soccer schools. He has since set up the RVDL Academy in Canada to discover and produce new talent across the country. For more information on the RVDL Soccer Academy, visit www.rvdlsoccer.com RamNation May 2014 22

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DERBY IN THE

COMMUNITY FUTSAL AND EDUCATION SCHOL ARSHIP

Adam Thorley, Head of Football and Education at Derby County Community Trust, spoke to us about the success of the Futsal and Education Scholarship at DCFC.

INTRODUCTION TO FUTSAL

TRANSITION PERIOD Players initially find it difficult to adapt to the speed of the game. Transitions between attack and defence are much more frequent which also enables players to improve their speed of thought and decision making. The physical attributes involve speed, endurance, agility, power and explosiveness rather than a physical presence as referred to traditional football. We have seen the positive impact that Futsal brings to traditional football, and we are seeing more of those creative and technical number 10 profiles have an influence in the world of football.

Futsal is one of the fastest growing indoor sports in the world and the only form of small-sided football that is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA. It is a five a side game with up to nine substitutes permitted, played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a ball with a reduced bounce. The pitch is marked out by sidelines rather than walls or boards and the ball is returned to play by kick ins rather than throw ins. Lionel Messi developed his skills skills playing futsal.

In Futsal, players are constantly placed in situations where they must receive or play whilst under pressure or in confined spaces. The demands of the game mean players must develop excellent technical ability, vision and awareness, decision making under pressure and cope with the fast paced physical requirements of the game.

HIGH PROFILE PLAYERS

Many consider futsal to be a highly valuable tool in terms of developing young players and challenging them to become more technically proficient. Many of the skills and techniques of futsal are directly transferable to 11 a side football as shown by players such as Xavi, Philippe Coutinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta who all grew up playing the game. RamNation May 2014 23

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FUTSAL

RAMPANT RAMS This year has definitely seen our teams progress again. The girls are in their first year of the scholarship and have already exceeded our expectations. They won the Football League Trust Futsal Tournament in Cardiff and are also through to the FA National U19 Futsal Cup Semi Finals in Birmingham in May. The boys continue to develop and have shown real character and maturity over the last six months. The boys reached the National Semi Finals last year so we hope to go one better this time around. We strive to develop and support our talented young players and help them to achieve their maximum potential, which I think has helped us to achieve success as a club.

CLUB SUPPORT Derby County Football Club is extremely supportive towards all of our Education initiatives and the Futsal and Education Scholarship is no different. The club supports all students with work experience placements and employment opportunities if they apply themselves both on and off the court.

Above: The girls (left) and boys (right) teams have both enjoyed success this season. Both topping their leagues respectively.

Rams prodigy Will Hughes’ style of play would suit the futsal court.

SUCCESS STORIES The Derby County Futsal and Education Scholarship is now in it's third year. We have seen a lot of our players develop and progress into centres of excellence, have academy trials and go on to play non-league football, as well as continue to play National League Futsal. We have also had players that have progressed on to the National Development Camp with England. We currently have two players that have been accepted to Futsal Scholarships at Loughborough University and three players have gone to the States on four-year College Soccer Scholarships.

ON THE RISE

Futsal continues to grow in England and we have seen a huge increase in participation. I think players are becoming more aware of how Futsal can improve you technically and also tactically. We are now starting to see a structure within Futsal, with the development of more Clubs/Youth Teams along with the FA National League expanding. This can only be a positive for our player pathway in England and will contribute to the growth of the sport in England.

If you would like more information about this course, please contact Adam Thorley on 01332 667575 or email adam.thorley@dcfc.co.uk RamNation May 2014 24

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ACADEMY

ACADEMY

The future is bright... The future is Derby.

Scholar of the Year

Max Lowe

Position: Left Back Age: 16

Sum up your year... It’s been a really good year and I’ve reached goals that I didn’t think I could reach. Being a part of the first team squad and playing games for the under 21s, it’s been an incredible experience. I hope I can do the same next year. Moment of the season Being on the bench for Steve McClaren’s first game. I admire him and respect him as a coach. I have already have learned so much from him and I think I will learn a great deal more. Goals for next season I don’t have any goals, I just play my best and hope that the good things will come my way. I don’t set goals, if I play to the very best of my ability every day then I’m happy. It’s just great to be a part of this club and this academy.

U21’s Player of the Year

Kwame Thomas Position: Striker Age: 18

On Your Award Yeah obviously it’s great, a lot of the lads had good seasons to be fair. The fact that I’ve been chosen over any of the other lads who could’ve won it is a great honour. It’s all about pushing on for next season now. Moment of the season It was a great experience to be on the bench against Ipswich and hopefully go again next season and get on the pitch. That was my highlight but just training with the first team has been incredible. Training with players of that quality is only going to be good for me as it will raise my standard. Goals for next season To play for the first team, which is not an easy one with how well they’ve been playing but I believe in my own ability. RamNation May 2014 25

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Look out for...

ACADEMY

Charles Vernam Position: Striker Age: 17

Vernam was signed by the Rams from Scunthorpe at the age of 16. The fee was undisclosed. The teenager was offered a scholarship at the Irons but he rejected their offer to come and play for the Rams. At the age of 14 he was went for a week long trial at Ithe prestigous football academy of Italian giants AC Milan. He has featured in a number of U21 games this season and is playing beyond is years at the tender age of 17. Don’t be surprised to see his name appear on the first team bench in the not so distant future.

Messo Capitani

Jamie Hanson

Position: Defender Age: 19 Hanson is a second year scholar who has been on the Derby County books for a number of years. He is well known for his free-kick taking ability. He was an integral part of the youth team that reached the FA Youth Cup Semi-Final last season. He is held in high regard by the Derby County coaching staff. With the possibility of being sent out on loan for first team experience, next year could be the year that Jamie Hanson begins to kick on in his quest to become a Derby County first-team regular.

Position: Striker Age: 17

Capitani was signed from Italian side Parma in the summer of 2013. He joined the Rams after having a successful trial period at the jub the year before and the club kept their eye on him when he returned back to Italy. Over the past number of years, the club have looked further abroad towards furthering their academy talent. Capitani is a first year scholar who has been influenced by Italian players such as Francesco Totti and Alesandro Del Piero, playing off the main striker and roaming into midfield.

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COMPETITION

RamNation and the Derby Telegraph have teamed up to drive forward the Roar on the Rams campaign. As McClaren’s men make their charge to the Premier League, we are urging all Rams fans and the city of Derby to back our boys on their road to glory. The Derby Telegraph began the campaign, asking fans to pack out the iPro stadium, make as much noise as possible and turn the city black and white. Rams fans have responded with a number of images being put on the website each day showing fans proudly showing their colours. The city of Derby has not had this air of excitement surrounding it since our last play-off campaign back in 2007. As we all know that, that was a success and we are hoping for the same outcome this year. We at RamNation could not help but get in on the act. We are asking for Rams fans to send in pictures of them donning the Rams badge. If you needed any further incentive to proudly show your colours, we are offering a fantastic prize to the best photo sent in to us! The winner will win themselves a squad signed shirt from all of this season’s Derby County Squad. If that wasn’t enough, we decided to throw in a £50 voucher to spend in the DCFC Megastore. All you need to do is send your picture via our twitter page @Ram__Nation. The winner will be revealed on our twitter page at the end of our play-off campaign! Their picture will also be featured in next month’s issue. Good luck. We’re All Derby ain’t we?

RAM

ROAR

ON THE RAMS!

with NATION

@Ram__Nation Tweet us a picture of you roaring on the Rams!

WIN!

+

A Squad Signed Home 2013-2014 Shirt

A £50 DCFC Megastore Gift Voucher!

Roaring to Glory: Sam Redfern RamNation May 2014 27

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BUCKENBAUER Derby County’s Club and Supporter’s Player of The Season.

Jake Buxton

After receiving the club supporters’ club’s HUMBLE player of the year JAKE award I’ve got my dog walking How has that happened? It boots on, I probably feels tremendous considering would’ve dressed a little more appropriately If I where I’ve come from. When I knew my Mum and Dad first signed, I was an underdog were coming! and was signed as a sixthchoice centre half. To be stood here tonight and receive this award is just incredible. I didn’t get a chance to say this whilst I was up on stage but I couldn’t have achieved this award without the other 28 lads who I play with and train with on a daily basis, a huge thanks goes to them as well.

The Nickname Rams supporters have created the name Buckenbauer for their player of the season. Originating from the German international defender in the 70’s Franz Beckenbauer, he was renowned for his lung busting runs up the field and ability to play an eye-catching diagonal cross-field ball. As well as developing a number of attributes this season, Bucko has shown himself to have an eye for a pass and even be able to pull off the Cryuff turn!

I go out there to show the Derby fans can see how much I appreciate playing for this club. We’ve had a few downs along the way but all the good moments I’ve enjoyed this season has made them worthwhile. After receiving the club player of the year award I thought I’d hit the peak when I received the award from the supporters. To get that tonight in front of all the lads, it was an amazing feeling. I’ve not felt like that for a long time. I can’t wait to get on the phone to the missus and tell her. I am very grateful and I just hope that everything that we have done this season has an end product. That’s what we’ve been driving towards since we got into the play-offs. It’s been about preparation and focusing on where we want to be come the end of May.

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The Beard As well as his confidence, Jake’s facial hair has grown in stature as the season has worn on. Supporters began to notice that the longer his beard grew, the longer our winning streak continued. More of a good luck charm than a fashion statement, he ignored the advances of his Gilette Turbo 3 and let it grow. We didn’t see a clean shaven Jake until the new year. With this, we ended up losing back-to-back games against Wigan and Chelsea. Put down that shaving foam Bucko!

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BUCKENBAUER

BUCKO FACTS

He spent six years with Mansfield Town. He won their Youth Team Player of the Year award in 2002. He made over 160 apperances for the club.

“It’s a team effort, there are no individuals” Buxton has been quick to heap praise on team mates this season.

All of the lads have been phenomenal all season and that is what it takes for us to get to where we have this season.It’s a team effort, there are no individuals. I’d rather be standing here at the end of the season with the play-off trophy. You look at the videos tonight and it makes you realise just how good Bryson and Chrissy Martin have been. Craig Forsyth has been steady all season and Granty has been a rock at the back. The lads we’ve had on loan have been fantastic. If Johnny Russell hadn’t of got injured it would’ve been an even better season for him. Jeff Hendrick has put in some strong performances and John Eustace has been outstanding. Watching the season review makes you realise what a long year it is with all the games throughout the season. I had a moment of reflection and I remembered where we have come from and where we’re going. It’s one last big push now until the end of May to give the fans what they so desperately want and get promotion. That would be phenomenal.

He signed for Burton Albion in 2008. Ex-Rams boss Nigel Clough was in charge.

"I was on my backside and wasn’t going anywhere quick” It was all looking bleak not so long ago.

This is the best season of my career. I spent the majority of my career in the lower leagues with Mansfield. I can’t help but look back when I was at Burton Albion though. I was on my backside and wasn’t going anywhere quick so this one’s been a tremendous season not just for myself but for the whole squad., everyone involved with Derby County and my family. It’s proved a lot of people wrong considering I was signed on a free transfer from Burton.

He helped guide the Brewers to the National Conference title.

He won the club’s player of the year award in his one season with the club. Buxton was signed by Clough for the Rams in 2009.

Bucko has featured in every single match in the 2013-2014 season.

“He keeps pushing us in training every day” Buxton reveals McClaren’s approach

The manager will not let us take the foot off the gas as much as we’d like to. He keeps pushing us in training every day, watching videos, focusing on the teams we could face. Looking at our mistakes and how we could improve. That’s how it will be until the day of the final. There’s no stone unturned from now until then and I think the recipe we have is working.

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RETURN OF THE MAC

RETURN OF THE MAC RamNation takes a further look into the impact that Steve McClaren has made since his return to the Rams. Steve McClaren’s reign at Derby County began in controversal Excitement is the key circumstances. His appointment came days after the sacking of “I want a team that we all talk about - we want Nigel Clough. Clough was sacked just hours after a 1-0 defeat at some heroes out there. We want to get the fans the hands of Nottingham Forest. Rumours of his dismissal quickly excited transcended into truth as it was confirmed by the club that Clough’s because they are the most important people. It is five year reign with the club had been terminated. The initial about giving the fans some excitement. It is about reaction from the fans were ones of disbelief which soon turned to bringing in players who get people off their seats.” anger. The nature and timing of the sacking had an air of malice about it. The fans had questions that needed Below: McClaren And Rush As McClaren sat down to watch his new team the answering. How could the club do this to (Middle Right) with Steele (Left) following night, not many would’ve predicted the and Simpson (Right) a man that had spent almost the entirety events that would take place that evening. At halftime, the Rams found themselves trailing 4-1 at home of his reign putting together a competitve to Ipswich Town. Even though his first official game squad with a shoe string budget? All this in charge was not until Leeds game at the weekend, whilst being under pressure to cut the McClaren head to the dressing room to deliver his costs of the squad’s wage bill. With the first half-time team talk. The Rams went on to level squad at its strongest since he first took over. He seemed like he didn’t have a fair the game and secure a 4-4 draw when at one point, it crack of the whip. It didn’t help matters looked as if an embarrassing defeat was on the cards. when Chief Executive Sam Rush was The character and fight shown by the team was pictured speaking to then out of work nothing new to the fans, Derby had gained a manager, Tony Pulis just before the game reputation under Clough as a team who would chase Dream Team at the City Ground. every ball until the final whistle. Even as early as that The conspiracy theories began to do the night in October, it seemed as if something special “For me a lot of credit round on Twitter and it seemed for this goes to Paul and Eric. I’ve was on the horizon. short period that our club was once again When McClaren took over, the Rams sat in 14th worked with Eric before back on a downward spiral that Clough position in the Championship table. By the end of but not with Paul. I have had worked so hard to stop. As Clough 2014, Derby County sat second in the table. After an known him for many did with the sacking, the club conducted icnredible run of eight consecutive wins. The rest of years. It was strange themselves in a professional and that we actually met on a the league began to stand up and take notice of Derby. conducted manner, assuring the fans that coaching course a couple They were no longer seen as the overachievers or the everything was under control. of months previous to this dark horses hoping to nick a play-off place, Derby were genuine promotion contenders. Our style of play The appointment of McClaren was job. We’ve always kept announced two days after Clough had in touch ad I felt that Eric began to gain admirers ranging from football pundits and opposing fans. Our support home and away kept left the club. McClaren brought with him and Paul would be rising. A memorable day included a Boxing Day away backroom staff of Paul Simpson as absolutely ideal. They trip to Barnsley, where over 8,000 Rams fans invaded assistant coach and Eric Steele as know the Derby people Oakwell to roar the team. The good times were back at Goalkeeping coach, all ex-Derby County and they know their Derby and it looked as if they were here to stay. players. The revolution had begun. football.” RamNation May 2014 32

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Credit to Nigel

Full Circle: McClaren’s Return

“The team play with energy, attitude and have style. We also have a lot of young players coming through. Nigel Clough has been significant in that. He has created a good team. He has laid a good foundation. A lot of the credit for this season’s success must also go to Nigel. I think everyone has to respect that.”

THE FANS

McClaren was Jim Smith’s assistant from 1995-1999. They won promotion to the Premier League with the Rams in their first season together. They consolidated us as a top flight team.

That Golden Touch

McClaren’s winning momentum continued when he became Sir Alex Ferguson’s right hand man at Manchester United. In his first season in the role he helped the club win the notorious treble and two more league titles.

Flying Solo

McClaren took his first manager role at Middlesbrough in 2000. He won the club’s first major trophy with the league cup in 2004. He also guided them into the final of the UEFA Cup, losing out to Sporting Lisbon.

Going National

After spending six years as England assistant. He became the manager of his country in 2006. Under his tenurship, England failed to qualify for the 2008 Euros. McClaren left his post and along with that left the country.

the season which saw us moved out of automatic promotion contention comfortably by Leicester and Burnley, this season can only be considered a success. As we head into the play-offs, we will be finishing in third position and sitting at least ten points ahead of sixth place. Derby County will be considered the favourites for promotion via the dreaded play-offs. This is only testiment to our club and the management to how far we have come in such a short space of time. The Rams were tipped at the start of the season as the team who could potentially steal that final play-off spot. Derby County have exceeded all expectations and not only comfortably finished in the play off spots but made it their own; laying down the gauntlet to their opponents. McClaren has set the standard and made it clear that his team are the ones to beat. Failure to win promotion this season would not be a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. You get that feeling under Steve McClaren, that with him at the helm, the Rams are back!

We need the continued support. I think the benchmark was set against Nottingham Forest and that’s something that sticks at the back of my mind. I look at that and think that’s something that we want to achieve in the future. I’m not just talking about the full house but the emotion of the game. I felt it in the dressing room with the players, I looked at them in the eyes and I just knew we were never going to get beat that day. I looked at the

Words: Ryan Burton

On his arrival, McClaren insisted that Rome was not built in a day and that promotion back to the big time would be a long term project. It seemed as if the spirt of Clough senior was embodied around Derby, “Rome was not built in a day, I wasn’t on that job that day,” Ol’ Big ‘Ed once famously remarked. McClaren has kept the foundations of the Derby team on his arrival, keeping the likes of Bryson, Hughes and Martin as the focal point. He has added Premier League loan players such as Andre Wisdom, Simon Dawkins (now a permanent fixture) Patrick Bamford and George Thorne to the squad. He has consistently referred back to Nigel and been complimetary of the job he did. McClaren has added that extra dimenson, that extra gear if you like, to Derby County’s game. His reputation as one of the most talented tactical coaches in the country is for all to see. As well as this, his individual coaching cannot go without a mention. Who would’ve though that at the beginning of the campaign that Jake Buxton and Craig Forsyth would go on to become such vital members of the squad? Despite our slight slump in results in

Under Bald Eagle’s Wing

supporters coming in, walking around the ground and those walking towards the director’s box, there was this special feeling around the place that helped contribute to that marvelous result. We need more of that. We will get more of that as there are big games coming up here where we need to win. The support is key to our success.

Going Dutch

McClaren went to Holland and took over the reigns at FC Twente in 2008. There were doubts about him from the start as Dutch fans frown upon foreign coaches.He won the club’s first ever Eredivise title in 2010.

Part of the Wolfpack

After his success in Holland, McClaren headed for Germany to managed Vfl Wolfsburg. His time here was less successful. He lost his job in Febraury 2011 after only being appointed in May the previous year.

Wrong side of the A52

McClaren returned to England to take over at Nottingham Forest. After overhauling the squad, he resigned after ten games after only collecting eight points. He was in the dugout during their famous 2-1 defeat to the Rams.

Dutch Courage

McClaren went back to FC Twente at the start of 2012. His second term in charge was a disappointment. They finished sixth in the league. He resigned after a poor run of results led to a supporters protest.

Back to Basics

The Mac went back into coaching with Harry Redknapp’s QPR in July 2013. He spent a few months with our play-off rivals before being offered the chance to return to Derby to replace Nigel Clough in charge.

No Place Like Home

15 years after leaving the club, McClaren returned in October to help guide the Rams to the Premier League for the first time in seven years. He masterminded potential bottom half obscurity to a third place finish.

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PLAY-OFF MEMORIES “I knew in the back of mind that my knee was in a bad way, especially how I did it. At that point, I knew was my career was all but over.”

Seth Johnson Interview: Ryan Burton

Seth Johnson was always known amongst Rams supporters as a player of passion, someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. He played for the badge and would not leave the football pitch unless he left every bit of what he had on it. When meeting Johnson, the first impression you get of him is pretty much the opposite of his persona on the pitch. He is composed and restrained character. This is until the word football is mentioned. All of a sudden you can see a spark in his eyes. You can almost see the green grass and white markings in his head. As we stand outside the iPro on an overcast afternoon, you get the feeling that at any moment the sun may just burst out from behind the clouds as Johnson raises a smile when I mention the play-offs in 2007. “The play-off final against West Brom seems more like a million years ago rather than seven years ago.” He says with a small chuckle. “The build-up seemed to take forever. It was about a two-week gap between the play-off games against Southampton and the final. So there

was a long build-up to it.” As Johnson reflects, you can see that he is there in his mind. “It was a great day and I hold fond memories. I was obviously very disappointed to get injured and not play again. It was bitter sweet.” The tone in his voice has changed a little, he is not quite over it. “When I was sat on the bench after being subbed, I knew in the back of mind that my knee was in a bad way, especially how I did it. At that point, I knew was my career was all but over.”

FACT FILE Johnson made 130 apperances for Derby in his two spells with the club. He was sold to Leeds United for £7 million in 2001. Which is still a club record for the amount received for a player. He signed for Derby from Crewe Alexandra in 1999 for £2.5 million. One of the conditions of the deal was for him to stay with Crewe for the remainder of the season to help them fight relegation. They survived by one point.

Johnson was substituted with three minutes to go and left the field barely able to walk. He limped off to a rousing reception from the Rams faithful who would be celebrating the club’s return to the Premier League. He was never to play another competitive game of football again. “It was still a great day for me and for everyone involved with the club. It meant so much to the fans; you see what it meant to them. “It looked like we had blown it at one point.” Johnson is referring to the team’s slump from sitting comfortably at the top of the league in January to slipping out of the automatic places. “We were just relived to do it for the fans. It was such a long season. We had tough games in the play-offs. Southampton probably had the best team in the play-offs. They had Gareth Bale in their squad. “For us to come through that and beat the two toughest teams we could’ve possibly faced was credit to the squad and management.” Johnson has been closely monitoring the Rams’ fortunes this season. With the team finishing in the same position as the team Johnson played in, it is understandable to draw comparisons between the two. Johnson told us about what it is really like to RamNation May 2014 34

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Return to the iPro: Johnson & Howard with Will Hughes

be a part of the play-offs. “The pressure is on all the time but if you’re winning and playing with confidence then that definitely helps.” This year’s crop of player ended the season undefeated in six, picking up at 16 out of 18 points. This is in stark contrast to Johnson’s experience. “We went into the play-offs having beaten Leeds on the last day but up until then we weren’t on a very good run. We dropped out of the automatic promotion places and not many teams fancied us from that point.” He claims there is no secret formula to winning the play-offs but speculates anyway. “I think it depends, sometimes with the teams coming up towards the end of the season, like Wigan this season who have timed their run perfectly. “If you’re playing well and your confidence is high having had a good season, you can believe in yourselves and keep doing what’s got you there in the first place.”

Swan Song: Johnson goes out on a high

With Johnson’s reflective nature and level-headedness, you would be forgiven for thinking that he would fit perfectly into the management and coaching side of the game. He surprisingly reveals that these are not in his future plans. “I’ve never really been into the coaching side of the game. I love my football and I watch any kind of football but being a coach or manager? Definitely not for me!” So what has Seth Johnson been up to these past few years? When asked this, he replies bluntly with; “Nothing much really.” He laughs it off. “I’ve got a property letting company up in Newcastle with Stevie Howard. I’m up there, doing a few bits but I’m not doing anything hands on. In all honesty, since retiring from football, I’m still trying to find something I am really into.” It is clear that Johnson hasn’t moved on from the life of a professional footballer. “When I go to a football game myself, I still feel a bit envious of the players who are on the pitch. Especially when I come back to Derby. I go back to Crewe and see old friends as well,” he confesses. “There’s a lot of things you miss, a lot of footballers miss the banter with the lads which I do miss but there is no other feeling like match day.” That smile on his face is back. “Everything from the build-up to the game to running out onto the pitch and playing. That is what I really miss.” Finally when asked if there was no substitute for playing football. He replies with one word, “definitely.”

“We went into the play-offs having beaten Leeds on the last day but up until then weren’t on a very good run.”

Midfield is key for Rams McClaren has put himself together a very attacking side. They’re the highest scorers in the league and play with a lot of flair. They have a lot of talent in the midfield area, scoring frequently from here. This take sthe pressure off the forwards. George Thorne has come in and done a really good job sitting in front of the back four, this has allowed the other players to get on the ball. Craig Bryson, Jeff Hendrick and Will Hughes are all fantastic players. They have nothing to fear in these play-offs and rightly go in as the favourites.

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PLAY-OFF MEMORIES

Stevie Howard “I remember lifting the cup and coming down the steps, the whole end of Derby supporters were going barmy. It was just fantastic.”

Interview: Ryan Burton

What you see is what you get with Steve Howard. In the flesh he is as intimidating as he was on the pitch. His big framework reflects his personality perfectly. Every time he laughs, you are drawn to his shoulders. They move up and down in sync like a pair of pistons, reciprocating not only the motion but also the same amount of force. On the pitch he was notorious for being a handful for defenders, a proper throwback to an old-school English centre forward. He would bustle through backlines and using his natural strength to win headers all over the pitch. This often led the opposition to neglect the fact that he could actually play football as well. It was the classic case of having a great touch for a big man. Howard not only scored goals but he created goals. He was not one of those fashionable footballers but the Rams fans appreciated what he did. A group of fans walk by singing the Steve Howard that once echoed around the iPro on most Saturday afternoons. He gives them a thumbs and is greeted with a cheer as they carry on their way.

“I had some fantastic memories playing here, it was a full house every week and it was a fantastic place to play football.” He says in his strong Geordie accent. I had a cracking season here obviously as we managed to get promoted and hopefully this team can do the same thing.” He recollects that season with a glowing smile etched across his face. You can instantly tell that his time playing for the Rams was a career highlight. “It was around after Christmas that we started to think that we had a chance of going up. “We thought if we stick together then we could achieve something special.” The promotion team was renowned for its togetherness and team spirit. Although not a team full of stars, a solid group of players who played well together and just seemed to tick. Sound familiar? Another one of those lucky omens perhaps. “The squad that we had, it was phenomenal, I’ve never been in a squad like it. Everybody knew everybody and exactly what each of us was about. Our squad togetherness was amazing.” The play-off campaign was a memorable one for the supporters. Steve recollects on the two legs against Southampton. He takes us back to the first leg at St. Marys. “The atmosphere down there was unbelievable. The rams fans travelled down in their numbers.”

The Saints opened the scoring that day when Andrew Surman scored in the opening ten minutes before a Howard double gave the Rams the lead for the second leg back in Derby. “With the team spirit and the belief we had as a team, we knew that we could turn it around. “Of course, me popping up with two goals was great from a personal perspective. The team performance on that day and throughout the play-offs was unbelievable.” All the good work from the first leg was so nearly undone as the Rams went down 3-2 at home to take the game to penalties on a night where the floodgates opened in the backline for both teams.

FACT FILE Derby signed Steve Howard from Luton for £1 million by Billy Davies in 2006. He notched up 96 goals in5 years there. Howard failed to score in his first seven games before scoring four consecutive matches. He went on to score 16 goals in the promotion winning season and won the Jack Stamps player of the season award. His only goal in the Premier League for the Rams came in a 4-1 away defeat at Old Trafford. He was sold to Leicester in January 2008.

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“There were a few young lads who took some of the penalties so fair play to them, it takes a hell of a lot of bottle to stand up and take one.” The physical hardship of over 200 minutes of football in the space of four days had caught up with Steve. “I remember walking off that pitch and I was absolutely shattered. It took me about 20-25 minutes to get off the pitch.” We move onto Wembley, one of the best days in the club’s recent history. So what can Steve remember from it? “Everyone was that much in the zone for that game that we couldn’t really take everything in. So during the game I cannot remember much.” Quite a surprising thing to say but in true Geordie fashion, Steve remembers the aftermath. “After the game was a different story, I remember everything after the game a part from a few things later on in the night.” He lets out a laugh that can be heard around the whole of the iPro and probably the surrounding areas. “I obviously remember lifting the cup and coming down the steps, the whole end of Derby supporters went wild. It was just fantastic.” Leading up to the game, the pundits had written the Rams off. Dubbed as the overachievers that season and still considered the playoff underdogs despite finishing third, Steve looks back and admits: “That was a great West Brom team, we should never of won that game on paper. “I’ve spoken to Kevin Phillips about it and he said that they took us a bit lightly, which is probably what gave us the upper hand.” The 1-0 victory at Wembley was a memorable one but fans are all in agreement that at the time, it was not a pretty game to watch. “They threw absolutely everything at us in the last 10-15 minutes. I went back to centre-half and stayed there with Darren Moore. It was a special day.” Celebrations broke around London and the city of Derby; the Rams were back in the big time. “We had a lot of time to enjoy our victory. It was just one of those moments we had to savour.” “I was so happy that my Dad and my little boy were there to enjoy the moment with me. You can’t buy those memories. “ A family man with values, you can’t help but be drawn to Steve and his down to earth persona. We take Steve back into the present moment. How does he think this current crop of Derby players will do? “I’ve watched them a few times this season and if they keep playing the way they are playing then they will be up. “This is a club that should be in the Premier League, no doubt about it.” As a play-off winner with the Rams, it is only natural to ask Steve what his advice would be to the team now. He keeps it simple. “Just believe. If you believe enough then you will do it. If you want something bad enough then it will happen.” At 38 years old and without a club since leaving Hartlepool at the end of 2013, you would be forgiven for thinking that Steve’s playing days are well behind him. When asked if this was the case. “No. Until I can’t walk anymore than I’ll stop playing. “I just can’t let it go. I’ve been playing for 22 years now and I don’t want to let it go yet.” With a few offers on the table from abroad and still possessing the hunger and desire to succeed in the professional game, do not be surprised to hear Steve Howard’s name pop up again in the not so distant future.

Familiar Scene: Howard celebrates scoring

“That was a great West Brom team, we should never of won that game on paper.”

A Bit of Trivia Before Chris Martin’s goals haul this season, Howard was Derby’s most clinical striker since Dean Sturridge. Born in Durham, Steve is a Newcastle United fan. His goal celebration with his arm a loft that ebcame iconic amongst Rams fans was in homage to his hero, Alan Shearer. He began his career for Tow Law Town, working as a roofer for 12 hours a day before he got his break in the professional game by signing for Hartlepool United in 1995.

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MEMORY LANE PREMIER RAMS!

DERBY COUNTY 2 SOUTHAMPTON 3 Rams Win 4-3 On Penalties “We were the only team who looked like winning it in extra time, but in the end we needed four well-taken penalties.” - Billy Davies

MAY 15 2007

”But can he play at the Britannia on a cold, wet Tuesday night?” This was the famous question posed by Andy Gray about the credentials of three time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi. The ever controversial Gray would answer his own question by stating that he would struggle. Struggle he might in Stoke but how would the Argentinian wizard of faired on this soaking wet evening in Derby? In a game which will forever go down as one of the club’s finest hours on the hallowed Pride Park turf, the Rams did their utmost to make sure the fans got their money’s worth that night. To use a classic phrase, the game was a rollercoaster of emotion. For those who weren’t there that evening. Imagine the biggest rollercoaster you have ever been on, times the beat of your heart you felt on there by a hundred and that gives you an idea what it felt like to be in the stands on this night. The Rams had seemingly done the hard job by picking up a 2-1 victory at St. Marys. In a Southampton team that had a young Gareth Bale in his original left back position, this Saints teams were considered the favourites before the first leg had kicked off. In typical Derby fashion, we have never done things the easy way. It’s what makes being a Derby fan so exciting but frustrating at the same time. The Rams took the lead in the third minute to give us the dream start. The fans could smell the Wembley grass. Feelings of euphoria soon turned to despair as Jhon Viafara scored within a minute of the restat. Back to square one. Viafara helped himself to another to give the Saints the lead on the night and levelled the tie overall. ‘How’s your bottle Derby?’ The saints asked. The Rams responded with a goal through the unfortunate Leon Best, his own goal had swung it back in Derby’s favour. The game that was end to end from the off was drawing to a close. The fourth official began to set his board for added time only for ex-Ram Grezgorz Rasiak netted to send the away fans into jublilation and send the game to extra time. Had the Rams, dubbed the overachievers for so long finally ran out of steam. Had their time caught up with them and in the cruelest of fashions? The teams could not be separated in those extra 30 minutes. To penalties. Southampton up first. Best shoots wide. Advantage Derby. 12 yards between us and our day of destiny. Jones, Howard, Barnes and McEveley score sublime efforts. Up steps another old boy, Inigo Idiakez, he skies the ball into the Saints fans. The pitch invasion begins. Derby are going to Wembley. RamNation May 2014 38

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MEMORY LANE PREMIER RAMS!

APRIL 28 1995

DERBY COUNTY 2 CRYSTAL PALACE 1 Rams Clinch Second Place “Forget about my goal. It’s not about Dean Sturridge today, it’s not about Robbie Van Der Laan, it’s about Derby County!” - Dean Sturridge

It had been four and a half since the Rams were relegated from England’s top division. They finished on a disappointing 24 points, 13 points separated Derby and Luton Town who secured safety at the expense of Sunderland. The following few seasons, the club seemed to suffer an extra long hangover from this disastorous relegation. Despite an ambitious owner in Lionel Pickering and plenty of investment in the playing squad, the Rams failed to make a real push for promotion until the 1993-1994 season. That season was to end in heartbreak when the team lost in the play-off final to rivals Leicester City. It was a case of back to the drawing board. Enter the Bald Eagle. With the help of a young Steve McClaren and Pickering’s ever deepening wallet, the pair guided the Rams back to England’s top division. It would be the first time the club had been a part of the newly branded Premier League. In what was a memorable season for the supporters, the Baseball Ground had seen glimpses of the Derby County of old. The team was packed with young, hungry talent. Dean Sturridge scored 20 goals that season, as we know, he would be the last Rams player to reach this feat until Chris Martin broke this 19 year old hoodoo. He would open the scoring on the day where a victory would guarantee the team promotion. Sturridge, who posessed a frightening turn of speed coupled with a killer instinct inside the box calmly slotted ball past a young Nigel Martin to send the fans into pandemonium. In front of a capacity crowd of over 17,000, the party atmosphere was soon extinguished. Palace, who were sat in third and looking to take away second place from under the nose of Derby, equalised through Kenny Brown. The Rams were not to be denied on their day of glory as captain Robbie Van Der Laan scored with a free header from a brilliantly placed corner into the box by Ashley Ward. The team would hold out for a famous win to reclaim their rightful status as a Premier League team. This would kick-start an exciting period for the club as the team would move from the Baseball Ground, home to the Rams for over 100 years, to Pride Park Stadium. With an ambitious owner at the helm along with Jim Smith, the end of the century would be a time for Rams fans to rejoice. Derby County were back. RamNation May 2014 39

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FANS XI

My Dream Team

Christabel Howdon-Bancroft PETER SHILTON This was a tough one. It was a toss up between him and Mart Poom. Shilton just edges it though; he was a good goalkeeper who played well for the Rams. He’s definitely on the list of the most high profile goalkeepers for to play for us. DAVID NISH Nish helped us win the title under Dave Mackay. He made a lot of apperances for us. At the time we paid a record transfer fee for him so he was obviously a good player. IGOR STIMAC A fantastic captain for us and still a club legend. He’s remembered for playing in those white boots. He is probably one of the first superstar centre-backs we had at the club. A great player all round.

COLIN TODD He was part of one of our greatest teams and was a rock at the back. One of the first names on this list, he was a baseball ground hero and will always be held in high regard by the fans.

STEFANO ERANIO He was such a big signing for us at the time with him coming from AC Milan. He became a massive player for us and was probably one of the most popular players we’ve ever had!

ROY MACFARLAND A Derby County icon. One of Clough’s first signings and was one of the title winning squad members who had been with us since the Second Division.

Brian Clough & Peter Taylor

ALAN DURBAN His record of 93 goals from midfield is phenomenal. Cloughie really got the best out of him and he became a massive player for us over the years.

DAVE MACKAY Another one who was a part of the team who got us into the first division. Mackay was seen as past it when he joined us proved people wrong. He also won us our second English title as manager. Legend is an understatement.

KEVIN HECTOR My Dad described as the best striker at any time and would get in any team. He led us to league titles and formed some incredible partnerships up front.

ARCHIE GEMMILL

STEVE BLOOMER

Spent his glory years with us and had a lot of success in his time at the Baseball Ground. He was well known for his small frame but incredible energy in the middle.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

Of course he had to be in there. He’s regarded as England’s first ever football superstar. He is goal record just speaks for itself. He also has a statue in our stadium. Nothing else needs to be said.

Who else was it going to be but the best manager England never had. I don’t need to explain why he’s on here. Cloughie was never the same when Taylor wasn’t with him so I think he deserves to be in here just as much as Clough. The two together were unstoppable.

SHILTON

NISH

ERANIO

STIMAC

MACKAY

HECTOR

MACFARLAND

DURBAN

TODD

GEMMILL

BLOOMER

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GOING FOR GOLD!

GOING FOR GOLD

Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson paid the Derby players to a visitboost that winning mentality

Medal Count & Achievements 4 Olympic Gold Medals 8 World Championship Gold Medals 400m World Record Holder 43.18 (Sevilla 1999) Personal Bests 100m: 10.09s (Knoxville 1994) 200m: 19.32s (Atlanta 1996) 300m: 30.85s (Pretoria 2000)

There’s no Team in I You’re relying on your teammates in terms of the end result as a team but you’re not relying on your teammates for your own personal performance and your own roll in the team. We work with team athletes as well but ultimately what it comes down to is to help an athlete be the best that they can be individually. It’s about their performance, their athleticism. Your teammate is not going to help you be better on the pitch. You have to work on this on the off-season and when footballers come to our training facility at St. George’s Park with us during this time. They’re focused on their own role in the team and their own personal goals as an athlete themselves, which ultimately benefits the team.

Motivation Every athlete wants to be the best no matter what sport they play in. I was fortunate enough in my career to reach my full potential as an athlete, that’s what my organization Michael Johnson Performance is about, helping athletes reach their full potential. I think that is what got everybody excited, we were talking about reaching your full potential and to be the best you can be, to perform and prepare for major competitions and to understand the opportunities in front of you. This group has a great opportunity in front of them.

Getting in the mindset To reach your full potential as an athlete and it doesn’t what sport you are in or what your goal is, what you’ll find is that the same basic principles apply. I wouldn’t say that there is no secret to it, most of us know what it takes; commitment, dedication and focus. There are some hurdles to overcome to get there. Dealing with the pressure whilst being motivated and being able to go out there every day and be as committed as you need to be to perform at the highest level. It’s those athletes who really get it and really understand themselves really well and understand how to apply all the different characteristics that we know great athletes need to have in order to be at that level. RamNation May 2014 42

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LOAN RANGERS

ON LOAN...

We look at the loan players who have made an impact this season.

ANDRE WISDOM

SIMON DAWKINS GEORGE THORNE

On Loan From Liverpool England Under-21 Captain Andre Wisdom arrived at Derby on loan in October. He was Steve McClaren’s first signing at the club Wisdom has cemented his place at right back in the team. He has become a fans favourite for his lung busting runs and composure on the ball. He posesses a real turn of pace which is surprising for his big build. He also provides crosses from deep which striker Chris Martin has benefited from. At 6ft 1, he is a real presence at the back and has formed a solid partnership with his fellow defenders. The Rams have kept the started the same back four since the turn of the year. His consistent performances may well give his parent club food for thought for their team next season.

On Loan From Tottenham On Loan From West Brom (Signed Permanently in Thorne was signed at the end of the January January) transfer window from the Baggies. A small Simon Dawkins’ career was injury crisis had broken up the Rams midpotentially heading towards the realms of field and was signed to provide competition the journey man tag. At 25 years old, he for places. He had to remain patient as John had failed to make a first team Eustace kept him out of the first team picture apperance for Spurs. He spent two years until the former Watford man picked up his in the States with San Jose Earthquakes tenth booking of the season. This led to a two with spells had Leyton Orient and Aston game suspension and gave Thorne his chance. Villa either side of this. McClaren had His debut against Forest was of the highest Simon Dawkins on trial whilst he was quality and fans were instantly impressed by managing FC Twente. McClaren finally his technical ability and passing play in the got his man on loan in October. After a holding midfield role. He plays in the deeper string of impressive performances on the anchor man role to allow his fellow wing he was signed on a permanent In midfielders to push forward which has been January for a deal worth £500,000. crucial to our recent goal-scoring form.

PATRICK BAMFORD

On Loan From Chelsea Bamford was another arrival in the January transfer window. He was signed days after the 2-0 defeat to his parent club at the iPro. Having already scored 17 goals in the first half of the season in League One with MK Dons, Bamford came with a reputation of being a natural goal scorer. The ex-Nottingham Forest academy player was given his first taste of professional football whilst he was manager of the Reds at the time. He was signed by Chelsea for a six figure sum at just 17 years old. He has netted eight times for the Rams and was an ever present in the team whilst fellow strikers Johnny Russell and Jamie Ward were sidelined. In recent weeks he has had to settle for a place on the bench but has come on to make a significant impact each time he has been called upon. Derby have deployed him mostly on the wing to add more of a goal scoring threat in wide areas. A number of his goals have been from outside the box, proving he has a sweet strike in his locker. Bamford is an England Under-21 international. At 20-years-old it is clear that there is a lot more to come from Bamford and his time with the Rams is benefiting him as he bids to become England’s next star striker. RamNation May 2014 43

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CHRIS MARTIN

CALL IT MAGIC!

A look back on a record breaking season for Derby’s number 9.

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HITMAN

W

hen Chris Martin signed for Derby County on a permanent transfer last summer, it is safe to say the news did not fill the air with excitment as you would expect with the signing of a 20 goal striker. In all fairness to Derby County fans, they were not to know at the time that they had bagged themselves a player who would go on to end an unwanted statistic that had been lingering around the club for almost two decades. Not since 1995 had Rams fans seen a striker score 20 goals in one season. Dean Sturridge was the man who had held that honour. This was a surprising statistic to those who were not aware of this. When you consider the strikers we have seen wear the black and white along with Deano; Paulo Wanchope, Malcolm Christie, Tommy Smith were all renowned for their composure in front of goal. We should also mention big men Steve Howard and Grzegorz Rasiak who both topped our scoring charts in their respective seasons to send us into the play-offs. Even the great Mikkel Beck could not reach this milestone. Alas, before a ball had even been kicked, Rams fans were concerned that they had not signed that 20 goal a season striker they had been so desperately wanting. This was until another new signing was announced, Johnny Russell. The Rams fans prayers had been answered. The scotsman came with a reputation from the SPL as one of the most sought after prospects north of the border. The fans had got their man and could not wait to see him in action. Meanwhile, Chris Martin remained in the shadows. Derby fans can be forgiven for neglecting their new number 9. He ended his loan spell with the club with a tally of two goals in 13 apperances, hardly something to write home about. The general consencus amongst supporters was that he was a good player to have in the squad who would chip in with a goal or two to help the cause. Fans had given the goal scoring baton to Russell. It took Russell 43 minutes on his debut to open his account for the Rams in the season opener against Blackburn. The wait for the elusive 20 goal striker was over, but it would not be the Scotsman to take this title. Martin scored a brace in a 2-1 away victory at Brighton. As the Rams fans celebrated a fine result at the Amex, little did they know that this would be a sign of things to come as this season went on. What makes Martin’s tally more impressive is the fact that

He Was All Yellow...

he has had a lot of competition for the top goalscorer title. Craig Bryson has been a revelation this season, helping himself to 16 goals from midfield. This is a commendable stat considering that Steve Howard only scored one more than this in the whole of our promotion winning season seven years previous.The Rams are the top scorers in the division and this is tribute to the squad’s mindset. It’s a case of “If you score one, we’ll score two.” Chris Martin is more than just a goalscorer for the team though. His value to the team is priceless. McClaren has made this clear. The 4-3-3 system that has been deployed for the majority of the season means that Martin is the focal point of all attacks. A lot of the time it is his responsibility

“Coming to Derby has been a great decision. I’ve landed on my feet. We seem to be a good match and I hope it continues.”

to begin the attacks with his hold up play. He has always been renowned for his first touch and that has come to fruition. He has also notched up double figures in the assist charts. For all of his glowing attributes, Martin is often criticised for his habit to spend a lot of game time dumped on the turf. This has been commented on by opposition fans and even by our own support. Granted, his tendency to go to ground easily can be frustrating to watch. His reputation came back to haunt him as he was wrongly shown a red card for what the referee judged as diving by Martin in the Burnley area. As Rams fans pondered the defeat in such a crucial game, they couldn’t help but wonder would the decision have been different if he did not have this notoriety for foul searching. No matter how frustrating this unfavourable characteristic is, it has to be embraced. Martin’s workman like approach to the game is what makes him so affective. Making himself a nuisance to the opposition defence wins the team crucial set-pieces where we have scored crucial goals from. Nobody’s game is perfect and to hold this against him would be unfair. Martin has proved those doubters wrong when he put pen to paper on a three year contract with the Rams. In a season that has produced enough surprises to fill another three, Martin has cemented himself into Derby County history. After years of searching, it looks like Chris Martin has finally found a home in the East Midlands.

Chris Martin had been at Norwich City from the age of 8. He made his break into the first team in 2007 after a string of impressive performances for the youth team. He reportedly had interest from Manchester United. After a number of off the field incidents, Martin found his first team opportunities limited. He went out on loan to Luton Town before returning to help guide the canaries back to the Championship in 2009-2010 season. He would finish as the team’s top goalscorer with 13 league goals. A hamstring injury halted his progress as the team surged to the Premier League. He found himself further down the pecking order and had loan spells at Crystal Palace and Swindon Town. Derby signed Martin on an initial one month loan in February 2013. He would score two goals in 13 apperances as he would play for us for the rest of the season. Martin was then signed permanently by the Rams in May on a free transfer. Derby would now be Martin’s new home. RamNation May 2014 45

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ADVERT

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ADVERT

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FASHION

WITH THE GODS

Rams Captain Releases Clothing Range FULLY RAMMED Slogan t-shirts have always had a great place in fashion and since Katherine Hamnett made it huge in the early to mid 80s t-shirt companies have been making their own interpretations ever since. Fully Rammed was a slogan we thought would be a strong statement for the rams faithful. In the background you can see past legend of DCFC and a striking triangle dominates the centre of the design. This was inspired by the 1960’s crest which features a triangle separating the DCFC and the ram. On the white T-shirt the blue is shown to link with the third kit and for the black T-shirt the burgundy for the second kit. The Rams head sits where you’d expect, near to the heart.

LOGO With this design we wanted to create a modern twist on the latest DCFC logo. The painted effect creates a less obtrusive and structured branded t-shirt. As with the other designs in the line, we stuck to white and black to represent Derby County’s colours. A subtle and small ‘WITH THE GODS’ logo features below which in no way retracts from the obvious, this is a garment for DCFC fans. We think both colours work great in this simple design with a contemporary twist.

STEVE BLOOMER Having a ‘Legend’ in this T-shirt line was something I personally thought was extremely important, luckily at Derby County we were spoilt for choice! Steve Bloomer seemed both the most obvious and relevant even though the last time he played for the club was 100 years ago. His song Steve Bloomer’s Watchin’ is still sang before each game at the IPro stadium and his bust sits proudly next to the home dug out. The picture of Bloomer is framed is in white with roses that are blooming behind (do you get it?) and the roses in the foreground are in the burgundy of our second kit. We felt each kit colour should find a place in the line. The beautiful touch of having the lyrics of his song on the design works perfectly and once again it’s not obvious, leaving the attention to detail making each piece stand out.Another chant ‘We are Derby, super Derby’ surrounds the frame in which Bloomer sits majestically!

ESTABLISHED If you are a Derby fan, you know the relevance of 1884, if you aren’t, you won’t, that’s the beauty of this design. Its simple and classic, that will never age and is the most significant date in the clubs history. We decided on using the striking yellow to link in with the yellow in the third kit this season. It’s not exactly needed, but we felt the subtle details were the most important in making these limited T-shirts. If you look closely you can see the clubs honours since Derby County was established faded into the background.

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SOME DECISIONS ARE BLACK AND WHITE

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/ramnation1 @Ram__Nation RamNation May 2014 49

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GUEST WRITER

Derby Telegraph Sports Editor Steve Nicholson Remembers...

@SNicholsonDT

GERALD MORTIMER

To say Gerald Mortimer saw it all with Derby County is no exaggeration. From Luton to Lisbon, Middlesbrough to Madrid, Grimsby to Geneva he was there covering the club’s fortunes for the Derby Evening Telegraph. In his 30-plus years as the newspaper’s authoritative voice on the Rams, he filed match reports from Freight Rover Trophy ties watched by a couple of thousand spectators to epic European Cup tussles including one against Real Madrid in front of 120,000 at the Bernabeu Stadium. He was there for the highs and the lows, from Derby being crowned kings of English football twice in the Seventies to when the club came within minutes of going out of business in the dark days of the early Eighties. The number of games he attended is in the thousands. In the days when the match report was king and before the demand we see today for quotes and fans reaction, his words painted a picture of what happened during the 90 minutes. In May 1972, Derby beat Liverpool in their final match of the season to go top. They would be crowned champions a week later. A young Steve Powell was handed a shock start against the Reds in place of the injured Ron Webster. Gerald wrote: Derby’s composure did not suffer by the presence of Steve Powell. He was brilliant. Not brilliant for a 16-year-old: just brilliant. Following an 8-2 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur in October 1976, Gerald said: “Derby County treated their supporters to a quarter of an hour of dazzling virtuosity such as they will be lucky to see equaled in their watching lives. During that second-half spell, the Rams scored five goals and not only Tottenham Hotspur but the very fabric of the Baseball Ground reeled before a display of football genius.” Gerald, who passed away in December, was a stickler for fine English and as I write this piece about my colleague and my friend I find myself wanting to cover the screen in case he is looking down at my grammar and punctuation! I first met Gerald in October 1985. He was sports editor at the Telegraph and I turned up to be interviewed for the post of sports writer/sub. He said we should nip across the road to The Smithfield pub for a burger and a beer before I was due to see the editor, Alex Leys. Not a good idea, I thought. I did not want to smell of drink when trying to impress Mr Leys but Gerald assured me it would be a useful. know the questions he will ask and I know the answers he will want,” Gerald said. I got the job and have been here ever since. Gerald was the football and cricket writer at the time. Apparently, I went to the wrong kind of school to discuss the fine details of cricket, I was informed by Gerald who had been educated at Repton School and Oxford University.

We spent hours talking about players and teams, past and present, and grounds we had visited. Gerald was a member of The 92 Club, a society for those who had attended a first-class match on the ground of every professional football club in England and Wales. He took his ground-hopping to another level by making it a mission to see clubs on each of the grounds they have called home. For example, Brighton at the Goldstone Ground, the Priestfield Stadium, the Withdean Stadium and the Amex. His mission took the two of us on a midweek trip to London in March 1992, just after Wimbledon had left Plough Lane and become tenants at Crystal Palaceís Selhurst Park. “What you doing tonight, Nico?” Gerald asked as we sat in the office mid-afternoon. “Fancy going to watch your team, Everton, play Wimbledon at Selhurst Park? I haven’t seen Wimbledon at Selhurst and I need to tick it off my list.” We hurtled down the M1 in Gerald’s Saab and somehow made it in time for a 7.30pm kick-off. It was a wet, windy and cold evening. The game, a First Division clash, was awful. A drab goalless draw in front of only 3,569. Gerald turned to me 10 minutes from the end and said: “We needn’t have bothered coming. I’ve just remembered, I saw Wimbledon play here back in 1975 in an FA Cup replay against Leeds!” Gerald retired in 2002. He continued to attend Derby’s games at Pride Park Stadium and write a weekly column in the Telegraph. His determination to go to home games despite deterioration in his health was evident in recent months. He wanted to observe from the press box and struggled to negotiate the steps. Thanks to the stewards who kindly helped him to his seat. He was unable to attend the last few home matches. I would arrange to pick him up and he said he would let me know on Saturday morning how he felt. He would call and say: “Not fit enough for the squad today, Nico.” “Not even fit enough for the bench?” I would reply. Gerald would laugh but I knew how much missing matches hurt him. Derby County was such a huge part of his life. Covering matches at Derby is home will not be quite the same without Gerald sat in the seat next to me. He was a font of Derby County knowledge. Succeeding him as the man who covered the Rams for the Telegraph was a daunting task and I will forever be grateful for the help he gave me. “Gerald was a fount of Derby County knowledge. What he did not know about the club, its history and its fortunes was not worth knowing.”

But when it came to football, we shared a thirst and passion for the game.

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THE ROAD TO WEMBLEY BEGINS...

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WHO WE COULD MEET We take a look at the teams we could potentiallty face in the play-offs.

QPR

Dubbed as the early season promotion favourites, QPR fans will be disappointed with their final position this season. They were the early season pace setters and held their position in the automatic places for the first few months. However the team soon trailed off and have been in the play-off positions for the majority of the season. They have found themselves battling it out with Derby for third position and have been beaten to it by the Rams. QPR are owned by Tony Fernandes and this season’s squad earn Premier League wages. It seems that promotion to the top division at the first time of asking after their relegation is vital. They have been disappointing in front of goal this season with the majority of goals coming from Charlie Austin, signed from Burnley in the summer. Despite this, they possess a team full of stars, including Joey Barton, Ravel Morrison and Benoit Assou-Ekotto to name a few. On paper they possess the strongest squad. Manager Harry Redknapp will be under pressure to deliver promotion for the hoops fans it seems.

Key Player: Charlie Austin

BRIGHTON

READING

Reading were relegated from the Premier League last season after a disappointing campaign. manager Nigel Adkins took over from Brian McDermott with a team not quite cut for the Premier League. The team he possessed was more than capable of succeeding in the Championship. He kept the spine of this team together for a big push for promotion. However, a combiantion of injuries to key players and poor form at home has led to the them struggling to claim a play-off berth rather than the automatic promotion places that supporters expected this season. Failing to pick up wins against the lowly teams such as Yeovil and Barnsley emphasises their inconsistency this season. Despite this, they are not to be taken lightly if they make the play-offs. Reading have become a bit of a bogey side for Derby over the past few years with the Rams’ last victory over them in 2009.

Key Player: Adam Le Fondre

WIGAN

Last season’s FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic hold the unwanted record of being the first team of winning the competition and being relegated from the top division in the same season. After spending a number of seasons beating the drop, their eight year stay amongst England’s elite league came to an end. As manager Roberto Martinez left for Everton in the summer, the Lancashire club hired Owen Coyle to plot their promotion run. This did not go to plan and he was sacked after less than six months in charge after defeat to the Rams in December. The fans were upset that their renowned style of passing, possession based football was breached by the Scotsman. His successor Uwe Rosler has lifted the team in the play-offs, bringing back their Barcelona-esque style of play. Despite a dip in form in recent weeks, they have all but secured a play-off spot and will be considered a dangerous team considering their reputation for producing big performances on the grandest of stages.

Key Player: Ben Watson

Brighton & Hove Albion are a club on the rise. In recent years they have risen from mid-table obscurity in League One to an established Championship club. They now have a stadium to match their ambitions. The 30,000 seater Amex Stadium was built in 2011, leaving behind the Withdean Stadium, notorious for its running track around the pitch. They boast the highest home attendance average in the league. Not only do they have an ambitious owner, they have a young hungry manager looking to make a name for himself. Oscar Garcia has an impressive CV, learning his trade as the Barcelona B manager and winning the Israeli Premier League in his only season at Maccabi Tel Aviv. Their style of play is influenced by their Catalonian coach, playing a possession based game. Despite this eye catching style of football, they are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. Coming into the end of the season, they are the form team and threatening to crash the play-off party. However, they are the best team defensively in the leaue respectively. If the Rams do face the Seagulls, they will be a tough nut to crack when trying to score goals past them.

Key Player: Leonardo Ulloa

1994 Premier League winners Blackburn Rovers have not had much to shout about in recent years. Their final year in the top divison was marred by controversy under the stewardship of Steve Kean. They are also owned by Venky’s who have proved to not be very popular amongst the supporters. After their relegation supporters expected them to bounce back at the first time of asking after significant investment into the playing squad. This included the £8 million signing of Jordan Rhodes from Huddersfield Town. Blackburn finished in the bottom half of the Championship table to the annoyance of their already restless fans. This season has seen an improvement from the team and have become the dark horses to snatch a play-off place when it looked like not so long ago that their fans were set for another season of underachievement. New manager Gary Bowyer has put together a competiive squad who have hit form at the right time. January Signing Rudy Gestede has took released some of the burden on Rhodes by scoring a number of vital goals.

Key Player: Jordan Rhodes

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PLAY-OFF FEVER Get the morning off to a flyer

Most importantly... ENJOY THE DAY!

It’s simple really. Sing your hearts out until you can no more. Let everyone know that you are Derby and you are proud. The play-off final is a spectacle worldwide and we want the world to know what we stand for. We are the famous black and white with the best supporters in the world. It’s time to prove it. Despite it being a cliche, you being the 12th man can prove the difference.

You probably won’t feel like eating because of those pre-match nerves. A good start to the day is essential and what better way to kick off the day of glory than with a traditional English breakfast. It’s going to be a long day and you will need all the energy you can get. Either if it’s at home or at a Little Chef off the M1, there is nothing better to settle the stomach than a greasy fry up!

Prepare your playlist A play-list for the journey is essential. Whether you are travelling by car, bus, train or helicopter, music is vital to setting your mood. Maybe a bit of trance music to get you pumped or a Gold by Spandau Ballet to get you thinking positive, music can get you looking forward to the match a little bit more. If you are travelling in a big group, get some classics on to get those vocal chords ready!

RamNation’s Wembley Survival Guide With a Wembley date beckoning, we know that it has the potential to either be the best or worst day of your life. To help settle those nerves, we’ve provided a guide to help you get through the big day!

Get yourself in London early to socalise Plan in advance Despite the thousands of fans transcending on Wembley, it can still be a confusing place to navigate yourself. So plan where you want to be in advance. It can be especially difficult after the game to take the right exits. Wembley way is a long way and one wrong turn and you could be lost. So the night before, get google maps up on your phone and make sure you familiarise yourself with the area. If you lose your friends, agree in advance a place to meet. I’m sure a pub will do...

It’s an expensive day...

I doubt that you need reminding that London is a very expensive place. However, sometimes it is easy to udnerestimate how much the whole day could cost. So make sure you take a reasonable amount of money. Imagine what a night out in Derby costs and times it by ten, that should see you through. In all seriousness, all previous plans could change meaning you have to stay in London overnight. So be prepared.

Remember, days like this don’t come around very often! There is no point in spending all that money on a ticket to not enjoy the day. Play-off final day is the nerve-wrecking but with it brings excitement. So get yourself down to a busy pub, enjoy a drink and talk to other supporters. We’re all there for the same reason!

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YOUR SHOUT

YOUR SHOUT! Send us in anything and everything Derby County. The best will make it on here!

When you’re cleaning out the attic...

This month’s feature comes from Michael Potts in Sunderland. Whilst in his loft, he unearthered a little gem, a fully completed 1999-2000 Premier League sticker book. Whilst flicking through the pages, he was particularly drawn to the Derby County page. “Despite being a Sunderland fan, I found myself quite interested by the Derby squad. It was a very good team and it was during a very successful period for the club. There was a lot of talent there with the likes of Eranio, Baiano and Johnson in the team. What surprised me the most though was the star midfielder. Rory Delap? Clearly he could play a bit before they discovered his talent from throw-ins!” So thanks a lot Michael, these completed sticker books do not come around these days. That Premier League title undernearth the Rams logo has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? BLAST FROM THE PAST

After two successive seasons of finishing in the top half of the table, this team would finish in a disappointing 16th place. Fighting relegation from England’s top division became a trend from here with Derby eventually being relegated in 2002. Even though this team was not as successful as previous years, it still included some very talented individuals. Stefano Eranio, Mart Poom and Horacio Carbonari are still club favourites after all these years. This was the season a young Malcolm Christie came to the fray for the Rams.

Below: The full squad and staff photo from the 1999-2000 season. Our away kit was one of our most popular ever.

Below: Before his reputation as a throw-in specialist, Delap was held in high regard for his play out wide.

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PERFECT 10!

The Rams now go on the hunt for 11 wins in a row against Leeds United on the final day of the season.

Derby County have enjoyed a run of impressive results against Leeds United in recent times.

The run of ten wins in a row against one of our biggest rivals dates back to 2006. Giles Barnes netted the winner at Elland Road in a 1-0 victory to begin this incredible streak. That was of course our promotion season. In that same season, Leeds United were also relegated to the third tier of English League football. They finished bottom of the division, the once mighty Leeds United were on a steep decline whilst the Rams were on the up. Our next victory over the old enemy came on the final game of that season, Derby won 2-0. Derby fans could look forward to the team’s play-off campaign whilst Leeds fans had to consign themselves to playing League One Football. A very low point in the club’s proud history. We would not play Leeds until the opening day of the 2010 season. Derby wore an eye-catching yellow and blue away strip. In front of the Sky cameras, Kris Commons netted a winner in front of the travelling Rams faithful to seal a 2-1 victory. Nigel Clough famously made the squad get off the team coach and walk 500 yards to Elland Road. Was this a slight bit of mockery towards Leeds United whose most successful manager Don Revie was renowned for making his team do this in the 70’s. We all know what Clough Senior thought of Revie, Nigel was showing some signs of his father coming out of him. This was not to be the only mockery to be associated between Derby County and Leeds United in the coming years as we would record seven more victories over the whites.

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Highight Reel

A look back on some of the most memorable wins

Leeds 1-2 Rams 01.04.2013

Jake Buxton netted the winner in this game in front of the sky cameras at Elland Road. The Rams fell behind to Ross McCormack’s strike before Paul Coutts equalised after reacting quickest to Conor Sammon’s penalty miss. Buxton then rifled home a header from a corner.

Rams 3-1 Leeds 05.10.2014

Steve McClaren’s first game in charge of the Rams ended in Derby’s tenth consecutive victory over Leeds. Goals from Johnny Russell, Chris Martin and Will Hughes secured a milestone victory for the Rams. This means that Leeds are still in search of a win at the iPro for the first time since 2002.

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ON THE ROAD For fans of a certain age an away trip to Leeds is always one that evokes a lot of memories, mostly not that pleasurable. Until our recent amazing run, since the war Derby had won there in 1946 and 1974, and that was it, apart from managing to lose after leading 3-0 in 1997 which was probably the low point.

Can the Rams make it 11 wins in a row against the old enemy at Elland Road next month!?

ON THE ROAD with...

@Derby_Dazzler

DERBY DAZZLER

My first trip to watch Derby at Leeds was in 2006. A mate and me had somehow persuaded our girlfriends a road trip to Leeds (on which they would drive and we would ‘get refreshed’) was a good idea. After a false start caused by a faulty car immobiliser we parked and drank at the Dry Salters pub. This is a decent venue that welcomes away fans (provided they are not too gobby) and is only around 10 minute walk away from the ground. I don’t remember too much of the game, we won 1-0 with an early deflected goal from Barnes which looked freakish and was down the other end but who cares, the hoodoo was over and it gave us extra confidence for the rest of our Wembley promotion season. My next trip was for the opening game of the season in 2010. It was a televised affair in the bright sunshine in our new bright yellow kit. We won 2-1 with goals from Hulse and Commons and I remember leaving the ground full of optimism with our fancy new formation looking good until I got just outside the ground to be met with a showering of coins and bottles. Leeds fans were less than impressed and there was quite a stand off with further trouble in the coach park. We headed into Leeds to celebrate (via the Dry Salters) and had a good night staying over in the city centre. Leeds is a great city for a night out, highly recommended. The most recent visit I made to Leeds was for the 2-1 win last season with Bucko smashing in a header right at the end. Again it was on TV so there weren’t many of us there but the 650 or so celebrated wildly and it was probably the most fun I’ve had in the ground at Leeds in the new away section along the side of the pitch. You’re in a rickety old stand with a low roof and wooden seats so you can stand up and make a lot of noise, something I’m looking forward to again this season when we take at least 3,000 for an end of season party. On this occasion we were with some Leeds mates so we visited the (home fans only) Peacock pub before the game, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it but at least we can say we’ve been in there, not many can. We went back afterwards for a quick pint, the Leeds contingent was much less excitable, then off into the city again. If you can get over the ‘we all f@&@?&g hate Leeds’ side of things Elland Road is a great ground to visit with a usually passionate home support and the City itself is always worth making a weekender of, just don’t think they care about us that much, because they don’t. They don’t like losing 10 in a row though, or even 11?! RamNation May 2014 58

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SEASON IN PICTURES

Millwall 1-5 Rams 14th September 2013 Craig Bryson celebrates scoring his hat-trick against Millwall. The scotsman became the first Derby player to score a league hat-trick since Paul Simpson back in 1996.

We take a look back at a memorable season. Barnsley 1-2 Rams 29th December 2013 Chris Martin wins another ball in the air at Oakwell. The forward would go on to bag two goals in this game to send the Rams into the dizzying heights of the automatic promotion places after picking up eight wins from nine matches.

Rams 4-4 Ipswich Town 1st October 2013 Jamie Ward helped inspire his team to a maginificent comeback against the Tractor Boys. On a night where Steve McClaren sat in the stands to watch his new team, Derby found themselves 4-1 down at half-time. After a few words from their new manager, the Rams battled back to earn a point from the jaws of defeat.

Steve McClaren December Manager of the Month Steve McClaren poses with his manager of the month award. The Mac is deservedly rewarded with the honour as he guides the Rams from play-off hopefuls to automatic promotion contenders.

Burnley 2-0 Rams 1st March 2014 Chris Martin is shown a controversial red card in the clash at Turf Moor. With the Rams sitting in third and in need of a victory to keep up with second place Burnley, defeat here all but ended our hopes of an automatic promotion place. Rams 1-0 Queens Park Rangers 10th February 2014 Jamie Ward takes on Joey Barton in the Monday Night Football game. A lot of pundits had commented that the Rams were a team unable to pick up points against the teams around them. Derby proved these statements were invalid as they were victorious in a vital game against play-off rivals Queens Park Rangers.

Rams 5-0 Forest 22nd March 2014 We’ve mentioned it already but it would be rude not to include it in this feature, right? Surely, you can’t get bored of seeing this scoreline, right? Just to remind you, we beat the red dogs 5-0.

Rams 4-2 Watford 26th April 2014 The Rams wrap up a memorable regular season at the iPro with a convincing win over Watford. The Rams ended with a tally of 48 goals at home. That’s an average of more than 2 goals a game! RamNation May 2014 59

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NEXT MONTH

Are we Premier League? We find out...

Full Season Review

CAPTAIN CALLING!

Shaun Barker Rehab Update

SIMMO SPEAKS!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!

Chief Executive Sam Rush

S Your chance to win a Derby County Season Ticket! U L P RamNation. We’re All Derby Ain’t We? RamNation May 2014 60

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RamNation  

Issue 1. Project Promotion Edition.