It doesn’t sound that long but today is the 11th anniversary of Derby County’s Wembley win in the Championship Play-off final.
The one-nil win saw Derby County take their place for the second time in the Premiership, what happened the season afterwards was the worst of all seasons for Derby County in the top flight.
A Rams following of 33,500 fans made the trip down to London for the day. Derby County despite finishing above Westbromwich Albion were not the favourites for the game but a goal by Stephen Pearson saw the Rams take the prize and the estimated £60m prize.
Derby County at the time was more than £50m in debt so winning the game saw a lot of that debt paid off. Money for re-building, or strengthening the squad was limited and may be the reason Derby only managed 11 points in the ensuing season.
West Bromwich Albion had a certain Kevin Philips (Now Derby County attacking coach)in their line up and with his strike partner and teammates had scored more than 100 goals in all competitions that season.
Darren Moore (Now WBA manager) played in central defence for the Rams that day, which is a bit ironic as he managed to keep WBA in the Premiership after taking over as caretaker manager for the last few Premiership games this season.
At the end of the day, it was Derby County who triumphed and it was left to Matt Oakley to raise the Play-off trophy as Derby were promoted to the Premiership.
Happy Days, and great memories, even if I had to miss going to Wembley and watching the game live.
DERBY COUNTY … 1 WEST BROMWICH ALBION … 0
DERBY COUNTY: Bywater; Mears, Moore, Leacock, McEveley; Fagan, Oakley, S Johnson, Pearson; Peschisolido, Howard.
Subs: Barnes (for Peschisolido, 58), Edworthy (for Fagan, 83), Jones (for Johnson, 87), Macken, Camp (gk).
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: Kiely; McShane, Sodje, Perry, Robinson; Gera, Koren, Greening, Koumas; Phillips, Kamara.
Subs: Carter (for Gera, 71), Ellington (for McShane, 71), Clement (for Sodje, 81), Chaplow, Daniels (gk).
REFEREE: G Poll (Hertfordshire).