OPINION: Rowett’s departure was a Rams’ first for many years

Dery County manager Gary Rowett, who could soon be on his way to Stoke City, according to the latest betting trends. (PHOTO BY: James Williamson)
Dery County manager Gary Rowett, who could soon be on his way to Stoke City, according to the latest betting trends. (PHOTO BY: James Williamson)

When Gary Rowett left Derby this week, he became the first County manager since Tommy Docherty to jump ship to another team — in Docherty’s case it was widely speculated that he was going to be fired anyway.

We all know that Brian Clough and Peter Taylor tendered their resignations to the board after many disagreements with the then chairman Sam Longson.

After leading the club to a league title and the European cup semi-finals, they chose to compose a letter of resignation.

They never actually wanted to resign and were calling Longson’s bluff, unfortunately it backfired on them and they found themselves unemployed.

Obviously fans were upset by this and years later, even after success at our biggest rivals, they never forgot Derby County.

The duo always retained their love for the club and although Peter Taylor was to return many years later, Clough never did despite coming close to it many times.

Longson did play a masterstroke when he came around to replacing Cloughie — he took Dave Mackay from Nottingham Forest.

Mackay had been very popular with everyone during his stint as a player and really was the only name that fans would accept as a replacement.

Mackay got off quite slowly as a boss, but he soon picked up and results started going our way.

In 1974-75 we won the league for a second time and with one game to spare.

Mackay inherited a great side built by Clough and Taylor and added quality such as Francis Lee, Bruce Rioch, Charlie George and Leighton James.

In November 1976 the board made one of the worst decisions ever when Mackay was sacked after a run of bad results.

We have never been near to the achievements of him or Clough and Taylor since.

Colin Murphy was an in-house promotion to succeed Mackay, but he only lasted ten months in the job.

What a job to take on in your first attempt at club management. He was dismissed for Tommy Doherty and what followed was possibly the biggest destruction of a squad filled with talent I’ve ever seen.

When Tommy Docherty took over at Derby, he inherited a squad full of players from our title-winning campaign of 1974-75. WHe replaced them with players who were not in the same league.

Doherty had success at Rotherham, Chelsea and Manchester United. He took United from the Second Division back into the top flight and won the FA Cup, but was sacked following an affair with the wife of the club’s physiotherapist.

His tenure at The Baseball Ground saw the exit of players such as Archie Gemmill, Colin Todd and Colin Boulton, and would you believe he swapped Leighton James for Don Masson?

There was an influx of players like Billy Caskey, Vic Moreland and Jonathon Clark — an obvious drop in standard.

Gemmill had been swapped for goalkeeper John Middleton — this was a period of some of the worst deals ever done for Derby County.

It was a massive sigh of relief from many when Docherty finally resigned to take the QPR job, but the damage was already done!

Colin Addison had an almighty difficult task and when he departed we were heading towards years of financial difficulties and were about to sink into the third tier of Football.

John Newman, Addison’s number two, had a spell in charge before Peter Taylor was lured out of retirement.

Taylor had very little to spend and had to sign players of much lower quality than he would have hoped for.

He did lure Archie Gemmill back to The Rams and brought in ex-Forest players Kenny Burns and John Robertson.

The Robertson signing ended his relationship with Brian Clough as two very close friends.

During that period Derby met Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup in a Clough v Taylor clash.

Goals from Gemmill and Andy Hill saw a famous 2-0 victory for The Rams.

Derby slipped into the third tier and that’s where they spent their centenary season.

It wasn’t until the appointment of Arthur Cox that things started to turn around.

He wheeled and dealed and added to a squad that was beginning to look more like challengers again — Bobby Davison had already started to become a club hero.

The second season in the old Third Division saw promotion back to the Division Two and good times were ahead of us again as we made it successive promotions the following season.

Arthur Cox had brought a feel good factor back to the club, assisted by Roy McFarland, who had been caretaker manager before his appointment.