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The lowdown on Derby

Posted on 19 October 2000  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

It is rare for a team who has plundered 14 goals in its opening nine games to be rooted so firmly to the foot of the table. But when you consider that 23 goals have been shipped in at the other end, it would appear, on the surface, to be simply as case of needing to plug a leaky defence.

That may have been the required fix before last weekend, when Liverpool travelled to Pride Park seeking to extend Derby’s record of being the only club in the top four English divisions yet to win a game. Long before Emile Heskey picked up the match ball, Derby wore the look of a team totally add odds with itself and devoid of confidence.Taking into account the fact that Spurs have failed to register points in their last three Premiership outings, Saturday has become a ‘must not lose’ — for both sides.

Following the 4-0 home reverse on Sunday, calls for Jim Smith’s resignation intensified, with most Derby followers favouring a switch to an ‘upstairs’ position. Wily old sage Smith announced later that he was already in the process of identifying his successor — tantamount to installing your own stair lift.

One thing is for sure, Smith is old school, one of a fading breed of managers who have done the rounds and served their time outside of the glamour end of the market. In these fashion-conscious times, when supporters demand a ‘name’ and not a track record, Smith and his ilk are not likely to find themselves shortlisted when plum posts become vacant.

It will be fascinating to see who Smith nominates to take over the reigns. It is perhaps a racing certainty that the Bald Eagle will not put forward any old foreign name, and will want to ensure that the candidates are domestic and on an upward spiral of progression.

Not that Smith has been adverse to adding a dose of foreign flavour to his team. Not long ago Derby were rivalling Chelsea in an overseas recruitment drive that must have seen the scouts racking up the air miles. Nowadays the team has a more homespun look to it and for every Carbonari there is a Christie and for every Strupar a Sturridge.

How times change. Prior to the advent of the Premiership, mention Carbonari in Derby and the locals would have probably pointed you in the direction of an Italian restaurant that does nice pasta.

To stay in the top flight, Derby need to start converting draws, of which they have managed five, into wins — starting next week when they travel to Leicester.