Derby fans are a bit special, you have to admit it. I know a couple of kids from the East Midlands who might not agree, but the Derby supporters stick with their team through thick and thin. Lately though, it’s been as thin as gruel.
County’s 1-0 victory over Sheffield United on Saturday was its first in 10 matches. That includes their humiliating away defeat to non-league Crawley Town in the FA Cup. But even gaffer Nigel Clough admitted that it was not an inspiring perfomance for the 2,300 fans who made the trip to Yorkshire. Cloughie told a post-game press conference that it was the worst passing he had seen from his team all year.
What’s worse is that the Rams have not won at home since their 3-0 victory over lowly Scunthorpe United on November 20th… the last of six straight victories at Pride Park.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for fans who pack the place week in, week out. Derby averages just over 26,000 fans per game, good enough for 2nd in the Championship… and better than about 40 percent of clubs in the Premier League. Remember too that these fans were voted the best in English football after an infamous season, when the Rams were relegated with the worst-ever record in the Premier League: just one win and only 11 points.
The Rams’ main problem seems to be finding the back of the net, having failed to score in six of their last 10 games. Perhaps they are rueing the sale of local hero Kris Commons to Celtic last month. But they boast a solid backline of John Brayford, vice-captain Shaun Barker, Liverpool import Daniel Ayala, and even central midfielder-cum-emergency right-back Paul Green.
Derby County are in that nebulous area of the Championship table, where they are probably safely above the relegation zone — unless their string of bad runs continues. Their goal difference suggests they are a mid-table team that could go either way.
That makes Derby not so different from Ipswich, Portsmouth, Coventry City, Bristol City or Barnsley. It’s great if you are a die-hard supporter of one of these clubs, but really, where’s the fun in it?