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Bill's Take: No Rush For The Rams
Friday, 17th Mar 2017 13:56 by Bill Riordan

The Rams have identified the problem at the root of the recent run of poor results; they have eliminated it and found a solution. The problem turned out to be the same as it always seems to be; they had a duff manager!

Replacing him will immediately bring better results. Anybody who thought perhaps the players are part of the problem could not be more wrong. Steve McClaren was the problem, and Gary Rowett is the answer.

The problem that proved the undoing of both Steve McClaren and Paul Clement at Derby was that while the Rams put together spectacular winning runs under their management, they were prone to alarming lapses which resulted in long stretches of matches that were either lost or drawn.

Yet much as I respect the job Rowett has done in his previous managerial assignments at Burton Albion and Birmingham City, I think that for the Rams to achieve consistent success, two more things are needed beyond a change of manager.

As the calendar rolls around to June 2019, in my opinion, Sam Rush must be shown the door.

Chief Executive Sam Rush joined the club in January, 2013 and is under contract until late 2020. His time with the club has seen continual changes of manager, some of which were perhaps not well thought through; numerous expensive and ill-advised player signings which have flopped; several long-term player contracts which will haunt the club for years and a stadium-naming deal which crashed and burned.

The significance of June, 2019 is that prior to that date the Rams cannot really undertake a major rebuilding since so many player contracts expire on that same date.

Nick Blackman, Andreas Weimann, Jacob Butterfield, Bradley Johnson, Abdoul Camara, Scott Carson, Richard Keogh, Craig Bryson, David Nugent, and Tom Ince are all under contract until then.

While some of these players make a valuable contribution, several of them never score a goal, even though it is expected in their position; they drift through matches with no impact, and many fans believe it is time for them to go.

But the money expended on their transfer fees and the length of their contracts mean that several of those players are tied to the club for another two years, whether the club likes it or not.

Despite these facts many players continue to start most of the matches simply because the club lacks the resources to replace them. These few players are on a sweet gig at Derby, and are going nowhere for another two years.

There has been little good news for the club in Sam’s first four years. Then there is this; Derby County constantly endure serious injuries to key players which never, ever seem to clear up and allow the player to return to effective first team action.

Is this an inevitable part of the modern game? No. Do other clubs have the same problem? Some, possibly. Are injuries not being diagnosed properly? Very likely. Are the treatment regimes not right or not being followed? Very likely. Sam is not the one at fault here, but he needs to get some answers and get it sorted before more careers are ruined.

I do not know if this was the right time for Steve McClaren to go. I do not know if Gary Rowett was the right man to replace him, or if he will improve results. He may be able to make some low-risk signings that will improve the team, which is something the Rams have not tried for some time.

His record at Birmingham suggests he may be more likely to go for some foreign signings than recent Rams managers. But I also believe that Rowett has inherited a difficult situation which will take quite some time to remedy completely.

It will be interesting to see what use Gary Rowett makes of the rest of this season; which players he uses and how he uses them; and then of course, the summer ahead may well prove to be endlessly fascinating. COYR!

Photo: Action Images

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