Sunday 24 April 2022

We face them next year, part 1

An occasional series looking at relegated and promoted clubs we will be facing next year as our season concludes with mid-table mediocrity - but it could have been worse.

Derby County fans have been through the mill as a result of irresponsible ownership and I have every sympathy with them.   We have had some great games against this historic club over the years, not least losing to them in a FA Cup final.

Pessimists have already seized on their relegation to League One as meaning that one automatic promotion place is already booked.  I don't think it's as simple as that, although I wouldn't fancy facing them in the play offs.

There is still a lot to be sorted before they come out of administration.   HMRC have to be paid off, and bills keep coming out of the woodwork:   There is the matter of the ownership of Pride Park with Mel Morris demanding no less than £22m for what is admittedly a fine stadium.

If there hadn't been a points deduction the Rams would have stayed up and their young players have done them proud.  However, they only have five players contracted for next season and can't offer new deals which they are in administration.

The entire squad have told Wayne Rooney they want to stay and he says that he would like to keep 95 per cent of them.  But he admits that 'there are other clubs sniffing around and putting salaries in front of them.'

So I think the jury is still out.   Derby are likely to be formidable opponents whatever happens, but they aren't guaranteed an immediate return to the Championship.   Charlton need to make some good signings to stand up to them.

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