Football is a game of opinions, after each Derby County game if you spoke to twenty people then you will no doubt have twenty different opinions on the match.
The summer signings made by Nigel Clough have certainly illustrated this and I am unable to remember a summer when the incoming players to Pride Park have polarised opinions so quickly without them having kicked a ball for The Rams. Opinions seem to be split fairly evenly between those who think bringing in players from the lower leagues is a sensible way forward and Clough should be given time to build, those who think that proven big name players and foreign imports are the way forward and those that are actually willing to give the players time to settle and see how they perform before instantly forming an opinion.
Signings such as Dean Moxey show Clough`s willingness to invest in young talent from the lower leagues and with the current economic climate (don`t you just hate that phrase) the days of mutli-million pound signings seem to be behind us whilst at this level. You only have to look at some of the signings made under this and previous management to show there are players capable of making the step up. Paul Green is a prime example of this having never played at this level before joining last summer from Doncaster. Whilst I don`t think you can build an entire team around such signings the number of young, hungry and talented players desperate to prove themselves at the highest possible level can only be a good thing for the squad.
Some fans believe that proven players at this level and above and foreign imports are the signings The Rams should be making in order to be looking at the right end of the Championship table whilst detractors have said that this is the route followed by Paul Jewell and look where that got us. I think that is a very simplistic view of his less than successful tenure as he brought in some relative unknowns and frees but having said that some of the more established names, Rob Hulse for example, did prove to be a success. On the flip side players like Nathan Ellington and Przemyslaw Kazmierczak show that known players and foreign imports are not always successful so this can cut both ways.
Personally, I`m happy to trust Nigel Clough`s opinion at the moment and give the players time to show their worth, it would be nice to have an established name for the fans to get excited about but if the big signing of the summer turns out to be Shaun Barker and he helps to solidify our rather shaky defence then that`s fine by me, just think how many extra points we could have gained last season had we been able to defend. Let`s face it if Steve Davies, Chris Porter, Dean Leacock and Stephen Pearson can stay fit and find their best form they will be like new signings with the amount of games they have missed and all could quite easily find themselves as starters in our new look team.
I missed the Stoke City game due to work commitments but from the reports I`ve read it seems we gave a good account of ourselves against a Premiership side who at times gave a scare to some of the more established top flight names last season. Stoke may be a week behind in their preparations for the new season but they have never been shrinking violets when it comes to the physical side of the game and we stood up to them and weren`t found wanting in terms of effort which must a welcome relief after some of the limp performances of last season.
Whilst I believe it`s going to be a long and tough season things will be an improvement on narrowly avoiding the drop last time out and a steady climb up the league and some attacking football will make the trip to Pride Park something to look forward to again…. in my opinion.
I will (hopefully) be writing this column every couple of weeks during the season so if you have any ideas for articles or even want to write one yourself feel free to get in touch with the powers that be on the site. Input is always welcome as we look to build the site and you can also check out our predictions league via the forum or articles that will be published so if you fancy yourself as a bit of a pundit then why not give it a go?