Derby County F.C.
Derby County Football Club are an English football club based in Derby, who play in the Premier League.
The club was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club. Derby initially played at the Racecourse Ground. As well as competing in a number of friendly matches and informal competitions, Derby County also entered the FA Cup.
Derby County were founder members of The Football League when it was launched in 1888. In 1891 they absorbed Derby Midland F.C.. Steve Bloomer, generally considered to be Derby County's best-ever player, joined the club in 1892. In 1895 the club moved to a new stadium, The Baseball Ground, which became their home for the next 102 years, and adopted their traditional colours of black and white.
On 16 April 1898, Derby appeared in their first FA Cup final at Crystal Palace, but lost 3-1. They were losing finalists again in 1899 and 1903. Derby were relegated to the Football League's Second Division for the first time in 1907, but under Jimmy Methven's management they re-signed Steve Bloomer and regained their First Division place in 1911.
In 1914 they were relegated again, but instantly won the Second Division to get promoted (though World War I meant that they had to wait until 1919 to play First Division football again). After just two seasons, they were relegated yet again in 1921. However, more successful times lay ahead, instigated by Derby's promotion in 1926. The club became a formidable force, with high finishes from the late 1920s and all through the 1930s
In the 1945-1946 season Derby got to the final of the FA Cup and won by beating Charlton Athletic 4-1 after extra time. The League restarted the following season after a break due to World War II, but Derby could not reproduce their pre-War form and were relegated in 1953. In 1955 they were relegated to the Third Division North for the first time in their history. The third tier proved easy for Derby, though: they were promoted after just two seasons
In 1967 the now-legendary Brian Clough took over and led them to their greatest glory. Having clinched the influential signing of Dave Mackay, Derby were promoted to the First Division in 1969, finished fourth in 1970, got banned from competing in Europe due to financial irregularities in 1971, and won their first ever Football League Championship in 1972.
Though Derby did not retain their title the following season, they did reach the semi-finals of the European Cup. They lost to Juventus in a controversial match which was subject to subsequent allegations that the Italian club had bribed the match officials, leading Clough to call the Italians "cheating bastards".
Clough's frequent outspoken comments against football's establishment eventually led to him falling out with the board of directors at the club, and Clough left in 1973. Despite the departure Derby's League success was repeated in 1974-1975 season when they won the title again under Dave Mackay. However, Derby's form declined towards the end of the 1970s and they went down to the Second Division in 1980. Though they challenged well in their first season, Derby's stay in the Second Division was not a happy one and they were relegated to the now-national Third Division in 1984.
After the relegation, the club appointed Arthur Cox to stop the rot — and stop it he did. After a two year stint in the Third Division, Cox's emerging side were promoted to the Second Division and won it at the first attempt, returning to the old First Division in 1987.
The club finished fifth in the 1988-1989 season, with the team now containing stars like Peter Shilton, Mark Wright, Dean Saunders and Ted McMinn. However, English clubs were banned from European competition at the time, so the Rams missed out on their place in the UEFA Cup.
A lack of further investment from controversial chairman Robert Maxwell lead to a decline shortly after. With Maxwell soon dead from suspected suicide, the club was relegated back to the Second Division in 1991. At this time, local newspaper businessman Lionel Pickering became the majority shareholder of the club. In 1992 Derby paid £2.5 million for Notts County's central defender Craig Short. At the time — and for five years afterwards — he was the most expensive player to be signed by a club outside the top flight.
Cox resigned in late 1993 citing health problems, and Roy McFarland returned as manager. McFarland failed to get the side anywhere near the top of the division apart from a defeat at the hands of Leicester City in the 1993-1994 play-off final and was sacked in 1995. Jim Smith was then appointed as the club's new manager. Although the season started slowly, the signing of sweeper Igor Stimac proved pivotal. Throwing his brief of 'a top-half finish' out the window, Smith guided the Rams to a second-place finish and the Premier League, now the top flight of English football.
Derby County made an excellent Premiership début in the 1996-1997 season, finishing 12th in the final table. The club moved into the new 30,000-seat Pride Park Stadium for the 1997-1998 season.
Progress continued in the next two seasons, before a sudden decline in form. In 2000-2001 Derby narrowly avoided the drop, finishing 17th — one place clear of relegation.
Jim Smith resigned as manager in October 2001. He was replaced by assistant manager Colin Todd, who remained in charge for just three months before he was sacked in the aftermath of a humiliating FA Cup Third Round home defeat against Third Division strugglers Bristol Rovers. At the end of January 2002, John Gregory was appointed Derby manager. Despite a promising start seven defeats from their final eight fixtures condemned Derby to relegation.
Derby County's relegation saw the club enter a serious financial crisis, which forced them to sell many key players. Gregory was later suspended from his managerial duties over alleged misconduct and former Ipswich Town boss George Burley was bought in temporarily. He later recieved the job on a permenant basis.
The club's parent company went into liquidation in October 2003 and Lionel Pickering gave way to a new board led by John Sleightholme, who bought the club for £3. Derby finished 20th in the 2003-2004 season, but improved dramatically in the 2004-2005 season and finished 4th in the Football League Championship (the new name for the Football League First Division) and qualified for a promotion play-off spot, though lost in the semi-finals to Preston North End.
Soon afterwards, Burley resigned citing differences between himself and the board. He was replaced by Phil Brown. Brown failed to find much success in the job, however, and was sacked in January 2006, after a bad run of results. Terry Westley, the academy coach at the time, took over first team duties until the end of the season and saved Derby from relegation.
Derby's Chairman, John Sleightholme, resigned in April 2006, saying his position had become untenable. The rest of the board followed him later that month. A popular consortium of local businessmen led by former vice-chairman Peter Gadsby bought the club, reducing its debt and returning Pride Park Stadium to the club's ownership in the process. In June 2006, former Preston North End boss Billy Davies was appointed Derby County's new permanent manager, with Julian Darby as his first-team coach. In his first season, Davies took Derby to the Championship play-offs, where they beat Southampton on penalties in the semi-finals before defeating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 with a second-half Stephen Pearson goal (his first for the club) at the new Wembley Stadium to secure a return to the Premier League and the £60m windfall that achievement is reputed to bring.
Despite Derby's promotion however, there were persistent rumours of a row between Davies and the Managing Director Mike Horton over the appointment of an assistant for Davies. On 5 June 2007 Horton resigned from his position on the board, and he was followed shortly afterwards by Jill Marples and her husband Peter Marples. Horton claimed at the time that his departure was for family and business reasons however, whilst the Marples' departure was put down to the death of a family friend in a helicopter accident . With the departure of Horton and the two Marples', the remaining directors appointed 4 new members to the Board. Experienced football executive Trevor Birch came in as Chief Executive, , Martin Ridgeway as Financial Director & Company Secretary, John Vicars as Operations Director and Steve Coakley as Commercial Director.
On June 11 2007, the club also announced plans to expand the capacity of Pride Park Stadium from 33,957 to 44,000 for the start of the 2008-2009 season. This goes with the plans already in place for "Pride Plaza", a plan to develop the stadium and add a hotel and restaurants.
Derby began their summer signings by buying Robert Earnshaw from Norwich for £3.5 million, breaking the club's transfer fee record. Derby then signed Tyrone Mears for £1 million from West Ham United, following his successful loan spell at Pride Park during the second half of the 2006-2007 season. This was followed up on 6 July 2007 with the signing of Sheffield United defender Claude Davis on a £3 million deal, with terms agreed on a four year contract. A few days later it was announced that Andy Todd, son of legendary Rams defender Colin Todd, would be signing for Derby for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £700,000. Finally, Derby signed Ipswich Town keeper Lewis Price on July 27 2007 for a fee thought to be around £200,000. Other players have been rumoured to be on the way, but as yet nothing concrete has emerged.
In the coaching department, Derby appointed Colin Miller as Assistant First Team Coach and Craig Brown as Footballing Consultant as part of a change to the backroom staff at the club, while Billy Davies also signed a 12 month contract extension until 2010. Finally, on 6 July 2007 it was announced that David Kelly, Davies former assistant at Preston, would be joining the club as the new Assistant Manager, an appointment which Davies had been pursuing for several months.
Derby County's fierce rivals are Nottingham Forest, who are based in Nottingham, a city a few miles north-east of Derby. In future, whenever the clubs play each other the winners will be awarded the Brian Clough Trophy. On 31 July 2007 Derby won the first ever Brian Clough Trophy after beating Nottingham Forest 2-0. Leicester City, also based in the East Midlands, are also local rivals.
There is also a significant amount of rivalry with Leeds United, despite Leeds not being geographically close to Derby; the rivalry is due to Derby and Leeds being two of the top English teams in the early 1970s, and Leeds' allegedly dirty tactics.
Note: the leagues and divisions of English football have changed somewhat over time, so here they are grouped into their relative levels on the English football league system at the time they were won to allow easy comparison of the achievement
Notable former players
Player of the year (The Jack Stamps Trophy)
Players out on loan
Board of directors
Like most old football clubs, Derby County did not initially have any badge displayed on their shirts. Their first badge was introduced in 1924. The badge consisted of a circular shield spilt into three equally-sized sections, representing the club, its fans and the area, in three equally-sized sections, all containing items traditionally associated with the city of Derby: a Tudor rose and a crown in one section, a buck in a park in the second and a ram's head in the final section. The badge was worn on the players' shirts for just two seasons before they reverted to plain shirts.
By 1934, another badge had been introduced. This time it was a traditionally-shaped shield, again with three sections. The buck in the park had been removed and the rose and the crown had been split up and now occupied a section each. The ram's head also remained and was now given the largest section of the shield. The badge never appeared on the players' shirts. The shield was modified in 1946 when the rose and crown were removed and replaced with the letters DC (Derby County) and FC (Football Club) respectively. The badge, right, was featured on to the player's shirts from its introduction onwards, though the ram's head on its own was used from the late 1960s (the full shield, however, remained the club's official logo).
A new club badge was introduced in 1971, featuring a more modern design that, with modifications, is still in use today. The badge was initially consisted of a stylised white ram facing left. The badge was first modified slightly in 1979 to include the text 'Derby County FC' under the ram (though the ram remained on its own on away kits). In 1982 the ram turned to face to the right and the text under it was removed. The ram was surrounded by a wreath of laurel and the text 'Centenary 1984-1985' was printed underneath for the club's centenary season. The laurel was removed and the text reading 'Derby County FC' returned from the next season. In 1993, the ram faced left again and the text was removed once more. From 1995, the ram faced right and was enclosed in a diamond, with a gold banner reading 'Derby County FC' underneath and the text '1884' (the year of the club's foundation) underneath that. The design was changed again in 1997 (see right): the ram faced now left and the golden banner now simply read 'Derby County'; the diamond and year of formation were removed. A decade later, in 2007, the badge was modified again (to the one seen at top of this article), with the ram (still facing left) and the text 'Est. 1884' now in the middle of a circular frame featuring 'Derby County Football Club' in gold lettering.
The club's mascot is a ram named Rammie. He takes children onto the pitch and tells them to lift the crowd and get behind the team. Also at half-time staff of Derby County Football In The Community get small goal nets out and he goes in goal to act as goal keeper and children take penalties at him. Recently, he has been walking around the edge of the pitch roaring on the crowd and hitting the advertising boards to warm up the crowd.
Derby County has a great reputation for producing young stars of the future. The Moor Farm training complex at the club is one of the best in the country, with world class training facilities. The purpose-built complex in Oakwood was built at a cost of £5 million and it covers fifty acres and features six full-sized training pitches plus a state of the art indoor pitch. It also boasts a gym and a restaurant. This has provided some exciting young players from the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Lee Camp and Giles Barnes.
Derby County's original colours (right) were amber, chocolate and blue, though by the 1890s the club had adopted its now traditional colours of black and white, still in use today. The colours of away kits have varied widely, and although they are usually yellow/gold or blue, the colour of the away shirt for the 07/08 season is black.
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