Pride Park blew its biggest sigh of relief as Gary Rowett’s new three-and-a-half-year contract looks to keep the in-demand manager at the club until 2021.
Derby has flourished under Rowett, leaving them in second place as the new year begins.
The 44-year-old was rumoured to be on his way to the Premier League without even earning promotion, as Stoke City showed understandably heavy interest following their sacking of Mark Hughes.
It isn’t the first time a Premier League club has shown interest in the manager of Derby County: Steve McClaren was the earlier culprit.
The interest shown for him from Newcastle United undeniably upset the atmosphere at Derby, which inevitably effected the results too.
Many Derby County fans were fearing that history may have been repeating itself as Stoke came knocking.
However, their fears were quickly transformed into jubilation with the news that Rowett wants to finish the job at Derby before even thinking about going anywhere else. The news, however, means much, much more for Derby County Football Club.
Showing that they are now able to keep hold of one of the most sought after, young, English managers demonstrates the belief in and status that the club currently possesses.
Despite it being a contract worth over three years, the news is also tremendous for the short-term. McClaren’s untimely departure severely affected the remainder of the season which had been going so well.
Derby have stopped all of this by putting pen to paper and extending Rowett’s contract. Derby can now continue their season knowing that their manager hasn’t had his head turned by the opportunity to take the easy route straight to the Premier League.
The players can now be assured that Rowett believes in them which will boost their confidence and encourage them to achieve promotion. The fans will perhaps be even more boosted than the players themselves.
They are most certainly relieved. Fans took to social media to express their delight on hearing the news that Rowett was staying; they can now sing his name not in vain and desperation, but in joy and admiration.
Moreover, it demonstrates the strong relationship between Rowett and Mel Morris. It is hard not to conclude that previous managers have failed to connect to the chairman enough to earn the contract extension.
Now more than ever there is an optimism that surrounds Pride Park which has forever previously been overshadowed with doubt. Derby fans are now really believing that Rowett can take the Rams to the Premier League.
Especially entering this January’s transfer window, it is important that any player that is brought in to Pride Park, or equally let go, is supported by the man who will be in charge for the foreseeable future.
For all the staff, players and supporters, Rowett’s decision to stay, means that full focus can now be on achieving promotion to the top flight of English football.