OPINION: The glorious memories of being a Derby County fan
We now go into a summer break after another league campaign and another summer of speculation on who we are buying, selling etc.
The social media platforms will be full of “insider knowledge” and ‘in-the-know’ accounts.
Most of us participate in the silly season and its part and parcel of the game.
Back in 1969 when my support for Derby County started, all you got was confirmed sightings by the press or indeed a mention of the old BBC Radio 2 Sportdesk. It was a different world.
Of course back in 1969 we were back in the top flight after a promotion season in which Brian Clough and Peter Taylor led us to glory.
The best years of being a Derby County supporter were ahead of us!
Now I was only a five year-old child in December 1969, but my love for the game had already started.
People often say to me “how can you have been a fan at such a young age?” The sight of my three year-old grandson kicking a ball about in the back garden in his Derby County kit jogs my memory of similar when I was a kid.
As it happens I am known for having a good memory and my recollections form the earliest days of supporting The Rams include Les Green who must have been one of the shortest goalkeepers around.
Colin Boulton was already at the club, but in the early years Cloughie preferred Green who he signed himself.
He wasn’t a bad goalkeeper, but his height was, in my opinion a handicap that prevented him form achieving much more in the game.
Ron Webster was a player in the less glamorous position of Right Back, but he was very good at it.
He sits in third place in the appearances chart and is a real club legend. John Robson was our full back on the other side of the pitch.
Players like Roy McFarland, Dave Mackay and Colin Todd simply don’t exist today.
I wonder how much they’d fetch in transfer fees today? Mackay was a real hard man and was signed when he was due to retire and join the management team back at Heart of Midlothian.
Good old Cloughie and Taylor persuaded hm to extend his playing career and he proved to be a perfect leader on the pitch (Off the pitch too in later years).
If you google his name, Ill guarantee that the photo of him getting to grips with Billy Bremner will appear.
Willie Carlin wasn’t the biggest of players, but he was as hard as nails! You simply didn’t mess with him.
Some of his hard challenges used to leave me speechless, yet he wasn’t dirty as such.
Most of young lads like myself hero worshipped Kevin Hector.A real all time great who always had goals in him.
He was simply brilliance at it’s best! Had he played for one of the so called bigger clubs, I’m positive that he would have got a sackful of England caps.
John McGovern and John O’Hare were stars of that era and I’d guess the two most valuable players to Clough and Taylor through there time in management.
They both played For Clough not only at Derby, but also at Leeds (as brief as it was) and Nottingham Forest. McGovern in fact had started out with Clough at Hartlepool and what an incredible career he had!
Alan Hinton a winger with two wicked feet interacts with fans today via twitter. He could cross, shoot, score and was probably under appreciated. I have told my son a lot of stories of Hinton and his white footwear. which is incidentally the colour of my sons boots.
Despite showing up and being competitive from their arrival to the old First Division, I’d guess that not many were expecting what was to follow over the next few years.
As the terraces of the Baseball Ground was set to bulge with spectators and witness scenes of glory, we could only watch and admire what we were about to achieve. What a start in my journey as a fan!