• James Fleming

Derby County Season Preview 2021/22: The club worth less than £1, fighting relegation with no CB's


It’s certainly been a very interesting year for Derby County. Financial turmoil, takeover saga, the Wayne Rooney twist. There have been so many things to talk about around the club. With the club in huge amounts of debt and now a recently implemented transfer embargo, the fans are struggling to find positive things to look forward to. This is a season preview to tell you what exactly to expect from Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.


The Squad


Derby’s squad has changed quite significantly over the window. However, there has been a lot of departures and zero incomings. With players like Martyn Waghorn, Jack Marriott and Curtis Davies departing the club, it leaves Derby with barely enough senior players to field a side. They have no senior centre backs, no striker and no squad depth. The reason there have been no incomings is because the club is under a transfer embargo. Meaning that they are sanctioned by the EFL so they cannot sign any players due to them conflicting with EFL rules. However, their star man from last season Krystian Bielik is returning from injury and all their main players from last season are still at the club. But they desperately need to sign players. They have had players like Ravel Morrison, Sone Aluko, Tom Carroll and many more on trial with the club this summer. Signing them would be so vital to their season but they have to have some assistance behind the scenes from the clubs’ higher-ups and the EFL. Going into their first game though it looks like there will be a lot of younger players given the chance to impress Rooney for the season ahead.


The Manager


Another season under Wayne Rooney is what looks like is coming for Derby. After retiring from football with his career ending at the club, he has been the manager ever since. It has not been an easy road for the former Manchester United striker. With massive struggles on and off the pitch, he managed to save the team from relegation after a 3-3 draw on the final day against Sheffield Wednesday. With Rooney still being vastly inexperienced in the managerial scene, it’s a very difficult situation to be thrown into at your first club as a manager. He managed to get them from bottom of the table to just about survival. All be it with his team being winless since February in competitive games. This season would’ve been a challenge for the most experienced managers let alone Rooney in his first full season as a manager. The task will certainly be avoiding relegation this season. A debt-ridden club with barely any senior players I think survival would be a huge achievement for Rooney and Derby County. Most Derby fans still believe Rooney is the man for the job despite the very poor form as they understand the situation, he is in. It’s certainly going to be one of the hardest challenges Rooney will have to face in his career to save Derby this season.


The Expectations


It’s safe to say Derby fans expectations are low for the upcoming season. With probably the worst squad they’ve seen in many years and the closest they’ve been to the third tier of English football since their relegation in 1984. I think most Derby fans are expecting to see their team in League One by the end of the campaign.


They look like they will have to rely on youth players to fill the voids of departing first team players due to the embargo. Meaning, it’ll be a huge season for players like Festy Ebosele, Eiran Cashin and Dylan Williams to show what they can do at this level. The fans are crying out for investment from Mel Morris but he has already assured the fans he will not be investing and is waiting for a takeover until any investment will be seen within the club. It is the worst situation the club has ever been in maybe bar the 2003 financial crisis after relegation and selling the club for just £3. This being worse as Morris has actually failed to sell the club for just £1. Relegation looms over the rams season. The only way I see Derby surviving is through a miracle. With so much stuff going on behind the scenes the players won’t be in the right mindset and angry fans every week at Pride Park will not benefit the players mindsets and confidence at all. If I had to predict their finishing position, I will have to say 24th and dead last. Especially if the potential points deduction is implemented, it’s going to be a very long season for Derby County.


Summary


Overall, it looks like there isn’t a lot to look forward to this season as a Derby County fan. It’s a terrible situation for any club to be in and I think most football fans will hope that the situation can be resolved as soon as possible. We don’t want another situation like Bury or Macclesfield where a club disappears due to owner ignorance. We wish Derby all the best for the upcoming season and maybe they could do what some would say is the impossible and stay up for another season.