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Derby County History – All about the Club

Let us go into the details of Derby County history, starting from the time it was founded until the present day.

Derby County Football Club, located in Derby, England, plays in League One, the third level of English football.

It is recognized as among the original 12 members who founded the Football League in 1888.

The club has the distinction of being one of only 10 clubs that have taken part in every English football league season, one of Derby County honors.

It is worth noting that they spent all but six of these in the top two divisions.

Established in 1884 by William Morley, the club emerged from the Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

Its golden era was the 1970s when it twice claimed the First Division title.

They also made four appearances in significant European tournaments, even reaching the European Cup semi-finals.

The club shined between the two world wars, securing second place in the league twice during the 1930s.

They also lifted the first post-World War II FA Cup in 1946, a fact regarding Derby County trophies history.

Since the 1890s, Derby County has donned black and white as their primary colors.

Known as “The Rams,” this moniker and their ram mascot pay tribute to their association with the First Regiment of Derby Militia and its regimental song.

The club has a deep-rooted rivalry with Nottingham Forest, leading to the intense East Midlands derby matches.

Everything to Know about Derby County History

  • Full Name: Derby County Football Club
  • Nicknames: The Rams
  • Year of Formation: 1884
  • Place of Origin: Derby, East Midlands, England
  • Home Stadium: Pride Park Stadium
  • Owners: David Clowes
  • Head Coach: Paul Warne
  • League: EFL League One
  • Market Value: €19.50m

Originally a Cricket Club

Derby County history - Originally a Cricket Club

Derby County Football Club, established in 1884, emerged from the Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

The idea behind its formation was twofold.

First, to provide both players and fans with a sporting interest during the winter months.

Second, to generate additional revenue for the cricket club.

Initially, there was a proposition to name it “Derbyshire County F.C.” to emphasize the connection.

However, the Derbyshire Football Association raised concerns that the name was overly lengthy.

They said it could lead to confusion, making fans potentially mistake it for a Derbyshire FA team.

Subsequently, the club’s home games were played at the Racecourse Ground, the cricket club’s venue.

The inaugural season in 1884-85 predominantly comprised friendly matches.

It wasn’t the most auspicious of starts.

Their debut match was a crushing 6–0 loss to Great Lever on 13 September 1884.

Their competitive journey began with the 1885 FA Cup.

There, they suffered a 7–0 defeat at the hands of Walsall Town.

However, a turning point for the club came in the next FA Cup season.

A significant 2–0 win over Aston Villa, a rising power in English football, propelled Derby County into the national footballing highlight.

This achievement in Derby County history enabled them to attract stronger teams for friendly matches.

Also, it earned them an invitation to the newly formed Football League in 1888.

On its debut league matchday on 8 September 1888, Derby showcased their resilience.

They overturned a 3–0 deficit to win 6–3 against Bolton Wanderers.

Nevertheless, the club ended the season 10th out of the 12 teams.

In 1891, Derby County further consolidated its position in the city by merging with Derby Midland.

Steve Bloomer Starting His Journey at the Club

Steve Bloomer Starting His Journey at the Club

This move solidified Derby County as the primary professional football entity in Derby.

A significant addition to their ranks came in 1892.

Steve Bloomer, widely recognized as the club’s most illustrious player, joined the club back then.

By 1895, they shifted their home to the Baseball Ground.

The name was the result of its prior use for the sport of baseball.

This move coincided with the club adopting the iconic black and white colors for their home kits.

The club’s journey in the league had its ups and downs, but they marked their presence.

They finished second to Aston Villa in 1896 and secured several third-place finishes.

They also showcased their prowess in the FA Cup.

The club made it to the finals thrice in the span of six years as the 19th century drew to a close.

However, triumph eluded them on all three occasions.

They lost in 1898 to Nottingham Forest, in 1899 to Sheffield United, and in 1903 to Bury.

Derby County history shows that in 1906, Steve Bloomer was transferred to Middlesbrough due to financial issues.

This move saw Derby facing relegation in the subsequent season.

However, with Jimmy Methven at the helm and Bloomer’s return, they managed to claw their way back to the First Division in 1911.

By 1914, Derby faced another relegation but promptly secured promotion by clinching the Second Division title.

The interruption of World War I meant they couldn’t resume First Division play until 1919.

They were relegated once more in 1921.

George Jobey’s appointment in 1925 marked a turnaround for the club.

Following a promotion in 1926, Derby consistently achieved commendable league positions throughout the late 1920s and 1930s, even finishing second twice.

World War II forced many clubs, including Derby, to shut down.

Golden Era After the Second World War

Derby County history - Golden Era After the Second World War

They made a comeback in the early 1940s, largely due to the efforts of Jack Nicholas and Jack Webb.

With the addition of Raich Carter and Peter Doherty, who were both based in Loughborough during the war, Derby had an edge when competitive play resumed.

Their prowess was evident when they clinched their first significant title.

They defeated Charlton Athletic 4–1 in the 1946 FA Cup.

Post-war, the league resumed, and under Stuart McMillan’s management, Derby achieved notable success, a fact to know regarding Derby County managers history.

After making significant signings like Billy Steel and Johnny Morris to replace Carter and Doherty, they finished in impressive positions in 1948 and 1949.

However, the subsequent years weren’t as kind.

After nearly three decades, the club faced relegation in 1953, marking their exit from the top tier.

By 1955, they found themselves in the third tier for the first time.

Harry Storer managed to steer the club back to the second tier in 1957.

However, the club remained stagnant over the next ten years under Storer and his successor, ex-Derby player Tim Ward.

In 1967, the managerial duo of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor ascended to the helm of Derby.

This marked the beginning of a golden era in Derby County history.

From a middling position of 18th in the Second Division in 1968, their astute acquisitions like Alan Hinton, Roy McFarland, and John O’Hare, followed by the crucial signing of Dave Mackay, catapulted the team to the top position by 1969, earning them a promotion to the First Division.

The team’s momentum continued, finishing fourth in 1970.

Although they encountered a setback in 1971 due to a ban from European competitions over financial discrepancies, the subsequent year brought them their first Football League Championship in 1972.

The Departure of Clough and Taylor

The Departure of Clough and Taylor

They couldn’t hold onto the title in the subsequent season.

However, they made a commendable run to the European Cup semi-finals, only to be halted by Juventus.

Clough’s propensity for candid remarks, often aimed at the football hierarchy, strained his relationship with the club’s board.

This rift culminated in the departure of both Clough and Taylor in October 1973.

The significance of their tenure can be gauged by the fact that nearly four decades later, a bronze statue honoring the pair was unveiled outside Pride Park.

Despite this managerial setback, the club’s prowess on the pitch persisted.

Derby clinched another league title in the 1974-75 season under Dave Mackay, a former player from Clough’s era.

However, the latter half of the 1970s marked a decline in the team’s fortunes.

A succession of managerial changes, one of which included ex-Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty, destabilized the club.

By 1980, Derby found themselves relegated to the Second Division.

The subsequent years were marred by financial problems, dwindling match attendance, and subpar performances.

Peter Taylor, attempting a managerial comeback in 1983, succeeded in keeping Derby in the Second Division but bowed out a year later.

The club was then demoted to the Third Division for only the second time in Derby County history.

Amidst these challenges, they narrowly evaded bankruptcy, eventually finding a lifeline in businessman Robert Maxwell’s ownership.

Arthur Cox’s appointment as manager post the 1984 relegation heralded a resurgence.

Though the initial season under Cox didn’t yield promotion, the team secured consecutive promotions in the subsequent years.

They marked their return to the First Division by the 1987-88 season.

Alongside the team’s on-pitch success, there was a revival in match attendance and the club’s financial health.

Ownership Changes

Ownership Changes

With the financial support of chairman Robert Maxwell, Derby inducted several star players.

Players like Peter Shilton, Mark Wright, and Dean Saunders and secured a fifth-place finish in the 1988-89 season.

Maxwell’s absence of continued investment took its toll on the club, resulting in fans’ growing dissatisfaction.

Eventually, that led to the club’s relegation to the Second Division in 1991.

That season was particularly challenging, with Derby managing only five victories throughout.

They finished at the bottom of the First Division.

Derby County history says that amidst these challenges, Lionel Pickering, a local newspaper entrepreneur, acquired the majority stake in the club right before Maxwell’s passing in November 1991.

In 1992, Derby County made a notable acquisition by spending £2.5 million on Notts County’s central defender, Craig Short.

This investment marked a record at that time, as no club outside the top division had spent such a sum.

It remained a significant amount for an English club to pay for a player for the following five years.

Additional key signings included forwards Tommy Johnson and Marco Gabbiadini.

Arthur Cox’s managerial departure in October 1993 paved the way for the club’s iconic former player, Roy McFarland, to take charge.

The team had a promising run that season, making it to the Division One playoff finals.

But local adversaries dashed their hopes, Leicester City.

Following a playoff miss the next year, McFarland faced the axe, with his role being taken over by Jim Smith.

Smith was a manager renowned for his impressive achievements at his previous clubs.

The acquisition of defender Igor Stimac catalyzed a change in the team’s fortunes.

Under Smith’s guidance, Derby secured a commendable second-place finish, promoting them to the Premier League, the pinnacle of English football.

Moving to Pride Park

Derby County history - Moving to Pride Park

That season also brought the news that the club would bid adieu to the Baseball Ground, its beloved home for over a century, to transition to a contemporary all-seater stadium.

The initial idea was to renovate the Baseball Ground to accommodate 26,000 seats.

But the plan shifted towards building a new arena.

Upon concluding their inaugural Premier League season in 12th position, Derby transitioned to their new 33,597-seat venue, Pride Park Stadium, for the 1997–98 campaign.

The cherished Baseball Ground faced demolition in 2003.

However, its legacy was preserved with a memorial dedicated to its significant contribution to Derby’s heritage.

Derby County swiftly adapted to the atmosphere of Pride Park Stadium.

They achieved consecutive top 10 league finishes for the first time since their golden era in the 1970s.

However, this renewed vigor was short-lived.

The club faced a downturn as the 2000s dawned, experiencing a challenging three-year period.

Amid this decline, Jim Smith stepped down, making way for Colin Todd, a former player.

However, Todd’s tenure was short-lived, lasting a mere three months.

John Gregory then took the reins, but under his leadership, the Rams faced relegation in 2002.

This ended their six-year stint in the Premier League.

A crippling financial crisis accompanied the descent to a lower league.

This dire situation compelled the club to offload several crucial players.

In the midst of this turmoil, allegations of misconduct led to Gregory’s suspension.

George Burley, previously with Ipswich Town, was appointed as his replacement.

We can see in Derby County history that the year 2003 marked a significant shift for the club.

Derby County was placed into receivership.

It was subsequently acquired for a nominal fee of £3 by a consortium helmed by Jeremy Keith.

Billy Davies As Manager

Derby County history - Billy Davies As Manager

While the 2003–04 season saw Derby narrowly avoiding relegation by finishing 20th, the next season, 2004–05, witnessed a considerable upswing.

The Rams secured fourth place in the Championship, granting them a shot at promotion through the playoffs.

However, their aspirations were dashed in the semi-finals by Preston North End.

Shortly after this setback, Burley exited the club, attributing his decision to disagreements with the board.

Previously associated with Bolton Wanderers, Phil Brown was chosen as his successor.

Yet, by January 2006, following a series of disappointing performances, Brown faced dismissal.

Terry Westley, who was overseeing the academy at that time, stepped in as interim manager for the remaining season.

He was ensuring the club avoided further relegation.

Reading Derby County history, we understand that in April 2006, a significant change of guard occurred at Derby County.

A group of local entrepreneurs, spearheaded by the club’s former vice-chairman, Peter Gadsby, acquired the team.

This acquisition was crucial for the club’s finances.

It significantly reduced the team’s debts and facilitated the return of Pride Park Stadium to its rightful ownership.

Just a couple of months later, in June 2006, Billy Davies, who had formerly managed Preston North End, was instated as the club’s manager.

In his inaugural season at the helm, Davies steered Derby to the Championship play-offs.

In an intense play-off semi-final, they triumphed over Southampton in a nail-biting penalty shootout.

The climax was the final at the newly-constructed Wembley Stadium.

A goal by Stephen Pearson saw Derby best West Bromwich Albion 1–0.

This ensured their Premier League promotion and an impressive financial boost of £60 million.

Their return to the Premier League, however, was fraught with challenges.

Trying to Revitalize the Club

Derby County history - Trying to Revitalize the Club

After a string of initial setbacks – one draw and four losses – Derby finally tasted victory in a match against Newcastle.

The win was courtesy of a lone goal by Kenny Miller.

By October 2007, there was another shift in the club’s management structure when Peter Gadsby stepped down as chairman.

Adam Pearson, the former owner of Hull City, replaced him.

Under Pearson’s leadership, efforts were immediately directed towards securing foreign investments.

The club’s on-field struggles persisted, and by November, following a series of unsatisfactory performances, manager Billy Davies departed.

Paul Jewell took over the managerial reins, but despite his best efforts, the club faced the ignominy of being the earliest team to be relegated from the Premier League in March.

Additionally, Derby County history tells us that they recorded one of the Premier League’s lowest points totals.

This lackluster performance mirrored that of Loughborough from the 1899-1900 season.

Loughborough finished the Second Division season with a solitary win in that season, a record Derby unfortunately equaled.

In a bid to revitalize the club’s fortunes, January 2008 saw a takeover by an international consortiu.

It was led by General Sports and Entertainment.

Pearson continued to operate as the club’s effective chairman.

The game against Sheffield United on 13 September 2008 was a focal point of media attention for Derby.

The reason? It had almost been a year since the club’s last league triumph.

This dry spell put them on the cusp of setting an unwanted English league record for the longest winless streak.

However, a few days shy of this dubious one-year milestone, Rob Hulse found the net against his ex-team, helping Derby clinch a 2-1 victory.

Struggling All Throughout

Struggling All Throughout

Though Jewell managed to guide the team to the League Cup semi-final, their most significant cup progression since 1976, his tenure saw a waning form with just two victories in 11 matches, leading to his resignation in December 2008.

The management was then passed to Nigel Clough, the son of the legendary former manager, Brian Clough.

Under Nigel’s guidance, the team achieved a stable 18th position.

However, Steve McClaren took over in September 2013 after several years of mediocre performances.

McClaren’s impact was immediate; he guided the team to a commendable 3rd place finish in the 2013-14 season, although they fell short in the play-off final against Queens Park Rangers.

A significant change in the club’s ownership occurred in the subsequent season when local entrepreneur Mel Morris acquired the club.

In Derby County history, Morris’s tenure was marked by record-breaking spending, with the club’s transfer record being shattered four times in just three years.

Yet, the managerial helm saw frequent changes, with a staggering nine managers appointed between June 2015 and 2021.

Despite these efforts, Derby faced repeated heartbreak in the play-offs, reaching the semi-finals twice and losing the 2019 final to Aston Villa.

By 2021, under the management of football luminary Wayne Rooney, Derby teetered on the brink of relegation to League One but managed to evade this outcome narrowly.

However, clouds of controversy loomed as allegations surrounding violations of financial fair play regulations surfaced in May 2021.

These allegations culminated in the EFL’s imposition of a transfer embargo on Derby in July 2021, leaving Rooney with the significant challenge of managing with just nine senior professionals on contract.

On 17 September 2021, a significant announcement came from Derby’s board of directors: the club was heading into administration.

Going into Administration Due to Huge Debts

Derby County history - Going into Administration Due to Huge Debts

As a result, the EFL indicated that Derby would be penalized with a 12-point deduction.

The challenges intensified when, on 16 November, an additional nine-point deduction was imposed on the club for contravening EFL’s accounting regulations.

The financial intricacies revealed that Derby, along with its associated entities, owed an enormous £29.3m to HMRC.

Furthermore, they were in debt of £20m to the American investment group MSD Holdings.

There were also outstanding dues of around £15m to various football entities and trade creditors.

Rooney, amid a whirlwind of speculations in December hinting at the club’s possible liquidation due to massive debts, vehemently dismissed such notions.

However, following a match defeat against QPR, Derby’s fate was sealed, and they were demoted to League One.

Fast-forward to 26 June 2022, David Clowes, a property mogul from Derbyshire, acquired Pride Park.

Subsequently, his proposal to buy the football club was greenlit, with the administrator, Quantuma, giving him the status of the preferred bidder.

Importantly, Clowes’s bid adhered to the EFL’s insolvency guidelines, ensuring that Derby wouldn’t face additional point deductions.

The acquisition process culminated on 1 July 2022.

Derby sought permission to communicate with Paul Warne, the then-manager of Rotherham United.

By 22 September 2022, Warne’s appointment as Derby’s new head coach was formally announced on a four-year contract.

In Derby County history, the team showed promise and aimed for an upward move under his guidance, but their aspirations were thwarted.

They narrowly missed the League One play-offs, landing in 7th place, after succumbing to a 1–0 loss against Sheffield Wednesday on 7 May 2023.

It’s worth mentioning that regarding Derby County Champions League history, they have never been able to reach the prestigious European tournament.

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Derby County Stadiums

Derby County Stadiums

Derby County, originating as a subsidiary of the cricket club, initially played at the County Cricket Ground, colloquially known as the Racecourse Ground.

From 1884 to 1895, this was their home turf.

The stadium was prestigious enough to host the first-ever FA Cup final outside the capital, with Blackburn Rovers clinching a 2–0 victory over West Bromwich Albion in the 1886 FA Cup final replay.

The venue also hosted an international match for England.

However, due to scheduling conflicts between the cricket and football fixtures, Derby County saw an appealing opportunity in Sir Francis Ley’s Baseball Ground and decided to relocate.

The Baseball Ground, affectionately known as “the BBG” among fans, became Derby’s home in 1895.

Derby County history informs us that it remained their home for a considerable span of 102 years, despite options to relocate during the 1920s and 1940s.

Interestingly, Derby had already had a taste of playing at the Baseball Ground in the 1891–92 season.

A scheduling clash at the County Ground led them to use the Baseball Ground as an alternative, where they triumphed 1–0 against Sunderland.

The late 1960s marked the zenith of the Baseball Ground’s capacity, accommodating approximately 42,000 spectators.

The record attendance at the venue was set after the inauguration of the Ley Stand, with a crowd of 41,826 witnessing Derby’s dominant 5–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on 20 September 1969.

However, as the years progressed, renovations and the addition of more seats gradually reduced the stadium’s capacity.

By 1985, it could house only around 26,500 fans.

After the 1989 Taylor Report emphasized the need for all-seater stadiums, the Baseball Ground’s capacity suffered a notable reduction, shrinking to a mere 18,500 seats by the mid-90s.

The Pride Park

The Pride Park
credit: wikipedia

This capacity was insufficient for a club with aspirations in the second tier.

While there were initial plans to refurbish the Baseball Ground to accommodate 26,000 spectators, and despite dismissing alternative locations offered within Derby, then-chairman Lionel Pickering unveiled plans in February 1996 to relocate to a modern, purpose-designed stadium in the revamped Pride Park area.

The Baseball Ground’s last first-team match took place in May 1997, ending in a 1–3 loss against Arsenal.

However, the venue continued to serve as a pitch for reserve fixtures until 2003.

On 18 July, Derby’s state-of-the-art Pride Park Stadium was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II, followed by a friendly match against Italian side Sampdoria on 4 August.

An intriguing facet of Derby County history is that it remains the sole club whose three home stadiums have each been venues for full England international matches.

The Racecourse Ground saw a 9–0 victory for England against Ireland in 1895, the Baseball Ground hosted a 2–1 win for England, again against Ireland, in 1911, and most recently, in May 2001, Pride Park was the setting for England’s 4–0 triumph over Mexico.

On 7 December 2013, in line with a 10-year, £7 million sponsorship agreement with the global sports beverage company iPro, Pride Park was rebranded as the iPro Stadium.

However, by the start of 2017, the stadium reverted to its original name, Pride Park Stadium.

In a significant real estate transaction, Clowes Developments (UK) Ltd acquired Pride Park from its owner, Mel Morris, on June 17, 2022.

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Derby County Kit History

Derby County Kit History

Derby County’s initial team colors encompassed amber, chocolate, and blue.

However, by the close of the 19th century, the club transitioned to its now iconic black and white palette, which continues to define its identity today.

During the 1970s and 1980s in Derby County jersey history, the home jerseys were predominantly white, complemented with subtle blue or red accents, either on the club emblem or the brand insignia of the jersey maker.

The shorts were typically blue, while the socks oscillated between blue, red, white, or even a mix of these shades.

As for the away kits, their colors have witnessed considerable variation over the years.

Although predominantly leaning towards yellow/gold or blue, there have been some unusual choices.

Notably, for the 2008–09 season, the club opted for a striking fluorescent green.

In August 2008, Derby County unveiled an unexpected third kit.

This kit, designed with blue and white stripes, not only bore a resemblance to the Argentina national football team’s jerseys but also evoked the club’s away jersey design from the 1970s.

This nostalgic design was re-adopted after consultation with supporters, many of whom expressed their fondness for this retro kit from the annals of Derby County history.

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Derby County Badge History

Derby County Badge History

Derby County, akin to many of the football clubs founded in the early days, didn’t incorporate any emblem or badge on their jerseys for a significant period.

It wasn’t until 1924 that the club adopted its inaugural badge.

Designed as a circle, this badge was compartmentalized into three sections of equal size.

Derby County logo history shows that each section symbolized distinct elements: the club itself, its ardent supporters, and the local community of Derby.

Iconic symbols from Derby County history graced the badge.

One section showcased a Tudor rose alongside a crown, the second depicted a deer within a park setting, and the last section prominently featured a ram’s head.

Surprisingly, this detailed emblem graced the team’s jerseys for a mere two seasons, after which the team went back to unadorned shirts.

A decade later, in 1934, Derby introduced another badge, evolving from the previous design.

This emblem took on a classic shield shape and was divided into three parts.

The depiction of the deer was discarded.

Previously sharing a section, the rose and the crown were now separated into distinct segments.

The ram’s head retained its place and was even granted the largest space on the shield.

However, this emblematic design was never embroidered onto the players’ kits.

A revamp occurred in 1946: the rose and crown symbols were removed, paving the way for the letters “DC” (representing Derby County) and “FC” (standing for Football Club).

This updated badge made its way onto the player’s jerseys.

Yet, from the late 1960s, the team opted for a more simplified design on their kits, featuring only the ram’s head, while the complete shield remained the official emblem of the club.

In 1971, Derby County underwent a branding evolution, rolling out a modernized badge.

Focusing on the Ram

Focusing on the Ram

This initial iteration spotlighted a stylized white ram facing towards the left.

By 1979, the design incorporated the text “Derby County FC” beneath the ram.

Interestingly, while home jerseys displayed this full design, away kits retained only the standalone RAM.

In 1982, there was another twist: the ram turned its gaze to the right, and the supporting text was discarded.

Derby County history reveals that to commemorate the club’s centennial season in 1984-1985, the ram was encased in a laurel wreath and underscored by “Centenary 1984-1985.”

Post the centenary celebrations, the wreath was dropped, and “Derby County FC” made a return under the ram.

By 1993, the ram reverted to facing left, devoid of any accompanying text.

1995 saw a more ornate design: the ram, facing right, was nestled within a diamond shape.

Below, a gold banner displayed “Derby County FC” and was further complemented by “1884”, marking the club’s inception.

In 1997, the design underwent yet another refresh: the ram’s orientation was leftward, the banner was simplified to read just “Derby County,” and the diamond and the establishment year were omitted.

2007 heralded another change: the badge now had the ram gazing left, surrounded by a circle bearing the club’s full name, “Derby County Football Club,” in gold, and “Est. 1884” at its heart.

A color tweak in 2009 altered the gold to the club’s official colors of black and white.

By July 2012, the club expressed its intention to simplify its shirts to only feature the emblematic ram, stripped down to a mere outline, forsaking the comprehensive club emblem.

Come July 2013, this pared-down ram emblem was embraced as the club’s primary logo.

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Derby County Mascot History

Derby County Mascot History

Derby County proudly parades its mascot, Rammie, a spirited ram who not only enlivens the matches but also serves as a bridge, fortifying the bond between the club, its devoted fans, and the larger community of the East Midlands.

Beyond the confines of the stadium, Rammie plays an instrumental role in community outreach, participating in educational initiatives like school visits to bolster literacy and supporting various charity events.

This cordial mascot was conceptualized as a more approachable representation, contrasting the club’s more serious ties with the British Army, especially the Mercian Regiment.

Derby County history says that Rammie holds the distinction of being the premier full-time mascot in the realm of British football.

During matchdays, Rammie’s customary antics involve challenging select audience members to a penalty shoot-out during half-time, with him valiantly defending the goalpost.

Pre-match, he is known to rev up the energy levels of the crowd and continues to rally the Derby supporters throughout the game.

The ram mascot enjoys immense popularity among Derby aficionados.

This was further evident when, in 2005, Rammie debuted his own DVD, a delightful compilation of him narrating tales from Aesop’s Fables against the picturesque backdrop of Derbyshire.

In a delightful twist, Rammie was later joined by a female counterpart named Eweie, who was presented as his sister.

Eweie’s tenure at Pride Park was, however, relatively brief.

It was whimsically announced that she embarked on a “holiday” to the United States.

Much to the delight of fans, following a hiatus spanning a decade, Eweie made a triumphant return to the stadium during a home game against Brentford on 3 October 2015.

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Derby County Rivalries History

Derby County Rivalries History

Derby County counts Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, and Leeds United among its main adversaries in football.

The most intense rivalry is with Nottingham Forest, a club situated just 14 miles east of Derby.

According to surveys conducted in 2008 and 2020, this contest is among the fiercest in English football.

In fact, a significant majority of supporters from both sides identify the other team as their chief opponent.

Matches between these two are dubbed the East Midlands derbies.

The victor is honored with the Brian Clough Trophy.

This rivalry’s roots trace back to the 1970s, when Brian Clough, formerly Derby’s manager, controversially transitioned to helm Forest, an interesting fact in Derby County history.

This move irked Derby fans, and the subsequent competition between the teams was as much about staking claim to Clough’s allegiance as it was about regional supremacy.

The animosity towards Leeds United originates from the early 1970s, a period when both Derby and Leeds were among England’s elite teams.

The rivalry was intensified by the stark contrast and tension between their managers: Derby’s Brian Clough and Leeds’ Don Revie.

This story was popularized in both the novel and film “The Damned United.”

Although Derby supporters often view Leeds as a major rival, the sentiment is somewhat lopsided.

While Leeds fans recognize the rivalry, their main disdain is reserved for teams like Manchester United and Chelsea.

Nonetheless, the 2018–19 season saw the rivalry between Derby and Leeds flare up due to the ‘Spygate’ controversy, a charged play-off semi-final, and heightened tensions among both teams’ management and supporters.

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Fan Base

Derby County history - Fan Base

Derby is frequently recognized for its fervent football following, an accolade that resonates both among rival fans and in media circles.

The Daily Telegraph’s Tony Francis has remarked on Derby’s deep-seated football culture, suggesting that the connection between the town and the sport is both historical and inherent.

He speculated that even if the team played in the second tier, the attendance at Pride Park would likely hover around the impressive 30,000 mark.

He emphasized the unique fervor of Derby’s footballing spirit, suggesting that while some locations naturally possess this passion, others simply don’t.

During the challenging 2007–08 Premier League season, the loyalty of Derby County supporters was particularly evident.

Derby County history depicts that even though the team faced a string of disappointments, their fanbase’s unwavering support did not go unnoticed.

Pride Park Stadium consistently witnessed home games that were almost at full capacity, thanks to the Derby faithful.

Moreover, the team benefited from robust support during away matches.

This commendable loyalty earned them numerous accolades.

They were frequently celebrated as the top fans of that season in many national narratives, clinched an award from Nuts magazine, and were crowned as England’s most loyal fanbase in a survey by Sky Sports Magazine in 2008.

To add a cherry on top, in 2013, a Derby fan, Nick Webster, was honored as the Championship Fan of the Year, underscoring the dedicated nature of the club’s followers.

Derby County’s support has been notably strong, evidenced by their consistently high average attendance, which stood as the 12th-highest in England during the 2007–08, 2008–09, and 2009–10 seasons.

Loyal Supporters

Loyal Supporters
credit: twitter

This is a significant accomplishment, especially when considering that their home, the Pride Park Stadium, is only the 15th largest in terms of capacity, and the team frequently finished in the lower half of their division during these years.

The 2008–09 season saw them leading the Championship in terms of attendance, with their average crowd size even surpassing nine Premier League clubs.

A testament to their passionate fan base was the impressive attendance of 33,079 during their clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers on 13 April 2009.

Derby County history says that after relocating to Pride Park Stadium in 1997, the club’s average attendance has consistently remained above 23,000.

Remarkably, in nearly two decades since their move, Derby has been among the top 20 clubs in England in terms of average attendance for 19 out of 23 seasons, even though they mostly competed in the second tier of English football.

Derby County can also boast a range of well-known personalities among its supporters.

Hollywood actor George Clooney and seasoned British actor Robert Lindsay have been linked to the club.

Politically, the club finds a supporter in former Labour MP Dennis Skinner.

The music world contributes fans like Irish singer Niall Horan, Blur’s guitarist Graham Coxon, and The Gaslight Anthem’s Alex Rosamilia.

Adult film actor Keiran Lee and rising star actor Jack O’Connell are also passionate Rams supporters.

Interestingly, O’Connell seems to have influenced other celebrities to throw their weight behind Derby, with big names like actress Angelina Jolie and supermodel Cara Delevingne reportedly joining the Rams’ fandom.

Read More: Sunderland History – All about the Club


Derby County history - Academy

Derby County boasts a state-of-the-art training facility, Moor Farm, nestled near Oakwood, a suburb of Derby.

Inaugurated in 2003 with an investment of £5 million, this facility was established to supersede the Ram-Arena at Raynesway.

Derby County history lets us know that Moor Farm spans 50 acres and offers six full-scale outdoor pitches, an indoor pitch, a gym, a dining facility, ProZone rooms, and laundry services.

On its inauguration, the then-chairman, Lionel Pickering, had voiced hopes of having eight academy players graduate to the main team in three years.

While that exact goal wasn’t met, the academy did nurture talents such as Tom Huddlestone, Lewin Nyatanga, Lee Camp, Miles Addison, Lee Grant, and Giles Barnes.

2009 saw a revamp under the leadership of Nigel Clough, with ex-Derby players Darren Wassall, Michael Forsyth, and John Perkins from Wolverhampton Wanderers taking on pivotal roles.

The academy’s enhancement, with an additional annual investment of £1 million, led to numerous academy players integrating into the main squad by the 2010-11 season.

One notable achievement was Mason Bennett making his debut at just 15, making him the youngest to represent the club.

This nurturing environment enhanced Moor Farm’s standing, aligning with CEO Tom Glick’s ambition of making it the top academy choice in the Midlands.

In 2012, it was designated a Tier 2 academy under the new Elite Player Performance Plan, but it climbed to Tier 1 status by 2014.

Mel Morris, who became the club owner that year, emphasized the academy’s significance.

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Damian Cade
Damian Cade
He is an enthusiastic senior writer for Footbalium who leans towards writing and researching the history of football clubs and players' life stories.


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