Finest hours, finest teams: Derby County

DERBY COUNTY’s financial situation is dire and most football fans will be hoping they come through their current crisis. Derby is a passionate football town and the club was one of the original 12 Football League clubs. They have been champions twice and have lifted the FA Cup on one occasion. The club has given the game some great characters, from Steve Bloomer in the late 19th century to Brian Clough in the 1970s. It’s hard for Derby teams to live up to the club’s glory years when they won the Football League twice between 1972 and 1975. Here’s some of the notable Derby teams of the past:

1897-98  to 1898-99

Jack Fryer, Jimmy Methven, Joe Leiper, John D Cox, Archie Goodall, Jimmy Turner, John Goodall, Steve Bloomer, John Boag, Jimmy Stevenson, Hugh McQueen, Jonathan Staveley, Robert Paterson, Johnny May, Tommy Arkesden, Billy MacDonald, Harry Allen. Manager: Harry Newbould.

Achievements: FA Cup finalists in 1898 and 1899

Steve Bloomer – One of the great figures from the early years of the professional game, Bloomer won 23 England caps, scoring 28 goals. A forward who had all the right qualities – speed, accuracy, goalscoring prowess and strength. Born January 20 1874 in Cradley, Worcestershire, he started his career with Derby Midland FC who merged with Derby County in 1891. He also appeared for Derby Swifts on occasion. In his long career, bloomer scored 392 goals in 655 games and only Jimmy Greaves netted more goals in the top division of English football.

Assessment: Derby went close to winning the league in 1896, finishing second to Aston Villa, who were in their prime and would go on to win the double in 1897. The bulk of Derby’s 1896 team appeared in the 1898 FA Cup final. Derby were primarily a cup side and in 1898, they beat Villa, Wolves, Liverpool and Everton on the way to the Crystal Palace. Their final opponents, Nottingham Forest were considered slight underdogs, but they were in command for much of the game. They took a 19th minute lead through Arthur Capes, but in the 31st, Derby levelled when a free kick by Joe Leiper sailed into the area and “Bloomer headed it cleverly into the net”. Forest regained the lead through Capes and controlled the second period and four minutes from time, they sealed victory with a third from John McPherson. The Times reported that Derby “have the consolation of knowing that the cup is resting among neighbours”!.

1945-46

Vic Woodley, Jack Nicholas, Jack Howe, Jim Bullions, Leon Leuty, Chick Musson, Reg Harrison, Raich Carter, Jackie Stamps, Peter Doherty, Dally Duncan. Manager: Stuart McMillan.

Achievement: FA Cup winners 1946

Raich Carter – A legendary player in the game either side of the second world war, Carter was 32 years old in the FA Cup final of 1946. He was a very vocal figure on the pitch, normally encouraging his team-mates to play better. He won 13 England caps, but for the war, he would surely have won many more. Many critics considered he was one of the most natural footballers to represent England. Carter started his career with Sunderland, with whom he won the Football League title in 1936 and FA Cup in 1937. He signed for Derby in December 1945, the Rams paying £ 6,000 for him. His stay at the Baseball Ground was brief and in 1948, he joined Hull City.

Peter Doherty – The pipe-smoking Doherty arrived at Derby after the second world war and his stint with the club lasted around 18 months before he moved to Huddersfield Town, earning the club a £ 9,000 fee. He had previously played for Blackpool and Manchester City, winning the league with City in 1937. Renowned for his “body swerve”, ball-playing trickery and tireless energy, Doherty won 16 caps for Ireland between 1935 and 1950. He also possessed tireless energy. 

Assessment: Derby’s team included six players aged 30 or over, including goalkeeper Vic Woodley and winger Dally Duncan, as well as Carter and Doherty. Derby met Charlton in the first proper FA Cup since 1939 and it was the fitter, more determined team that won – Derby by four goals to one. Carter and Doherty were in fine form, their artistry apparently “bewildering” the London side. Charlton’s Bert Turner made history in scoring for both sides, first of all putting Derby ahead and then levelling for his team. The game went to extra time and Derby’s energy won the day, with goals from Jackie Stamps (2) and the outstanding Doherty. Just before the end, the ball burst, a moment of great amusement for the media. The Sunday Mirror summed up Derby’s performance: “Cool, calculated genius and perfect training slowly sapped the strength from Charlton”. 

1971-72

Colin Boulton, John Robson, Colin Todd, Ron Webster, Terry Hennessey, Roy McFarland, Alan Durban, Archie Gemmill, Alan Hinton, John McGovern, Kevin Hector, John O’Hare. Manager: Brian Clough.

Achievement: Football League champions 1971-72.

Roy McFarland and Colin Todd: Derby had some excellent players in every department of their two title-winning team: Kevin Hector, John O’Hare, Alan Durban, Archie Gemmill, Alan Hinton and David Nish are all legends from the Baseball Ground era. But absolute key to Derby’s success was the central defensive partnership of Roy McFarland and Colin Todd. McFarland was signed by Clough and Taylor in 1967 from Tranmere Rovers. McFarland had set his heart on playing for Liverpool, but the persistent Clough merely said: “Young man, you are signing for Derby County,” as he tabled a £24,000 fee. Derby knew all about Todd. He had, after all, played for the Sunderland youth team when Clough was in charge. When Clough paid £ 175,000 to take the Chester-Le-Street born Todd from Sunderland, it was a record fee for a defender. McFarland and Todd should have won more caps for England. Between them, they appeared 55 times, with McFarland receiving one more than Todd. 

Assessment: The 1971-72 title race was one of the most absorbing in history and could have ended with Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City or Derby County on top. Nobody really anticipated Brian Clough’s side would be champions before the campaign got underway. They had been in the top flight for two seasons since winning promotion but had slipped a little since their fourth place in 1969-70. The destination of the old trophy went to the final game, Leeds slipping up in their last fixture after winning the FA Cup just two days earlier. Leeds lost 2-1 at Wolves and this gave Derby the championship by a single point. Brian Clough, who was on holiday having finished his season, described the triumph as “one of the miracles of the century”.

1974-75

Colin Boulton, Peter Daniel, Colin Todd, David Nish, Rod Thomas, Ron Webster, Archie Gemmill, Alan Hinton, Henry Newton, Bruce Rioch, John McGovern, Kevin Hector, Francis Lee, Steve Powell, Jeff Bourne, Roger Davies. Manager: Dave Mackay.

Achievement: Football League champions 1974-75.

Bruce Rioch – Midfielder Rioch joined Derby in February 1974 from Aston Villa and was top scorer in the 1974-75 season, his explosive shooting and set-pieces proving invaluable. He had also played for Luton Town earlier in his career. Although born in Aldershot, he was capped 24 times by Scotland, appearing in the 1978 World Cup. He was sold to Everton in December 1976 but returned to Derby for a second spell nine months later. He eventually left the club in 1979.

Francis Lee – In his prime, Lee was an outstanding forward who won 27 caps (10 goals) for England when he was with Manchester City. Although at the veteran stage of his career when he arrived at Derby, he had two excellent seasons with the club, scoring 30 goals in 82 league games. An aggressive and incisive front-runner, he was also renowned for his ability to win and score penalties. Retired from the game in 1976 to concentrate on his business interests.

Archie Gemmill – Few players have made such an impact across two clubs as Gemmill did with Derby and – latterly – with Nottingham Forest. A hard-running midfielder with perceptive passing ability, Gemmill joined Derby in September 1970 from Preston North End for a bargain £ 60,000. He won 43 Scotland caps and will forever be remembered for his contribution in the 1978 World Cup. He played more than 400 games for Derby – across two spells – with a highly successful period with Forest in between.

Assessment: Given the depth of talent at the club, it was no surprise Derby County secured their second Football League Championship in four seasons in 1975. But it was not their charismatic and controversial manager of 1972, Brian Clough, that led them to the title. Clough and his number two, Peter Taylor, controversially left the club in the autumn of 1973 and in October of that year, Dave Mackay was appointed as manager. The 1974-75 season was one of the most open in the league’s history. At the final count, only 11 points separated mid-table Queens Park Rangers and Derby on 53 points. Furthermore, the leadership changed hands almost weekly, with more than half a dozen teams in with a chance of winning the title in the closing stages. Consistency seemed to be a problem among most clubs and Derby only topped the table in the final weeks.

We are the Champions: 1974-75 – Derby County

Derby 1974-75 (700x399)
Given the depth of talent at the club, it was no surprise that Derby County secured their second Football League Championship in four seasons in 1975. But it was not their charismatic and controversial manager of 1972, Brian Clough, that led them to the title. Clough and his number two, Peter Taylor, left the club in the autumn of 1973 and in October of that year, Dave Mackay was appointed as manager.

Mackay, who had been so important to Derby’s rise into the first division between 1968 and 1971, moved from Swindon Town to take on the job. He signed a handful of players to reshape the Derby team: Welsh international full-back Rod Thomas arrived from Swindon in November 1973, goal-scoring midfielder Bruce Rioch joined from Aston Villa in February 1974 and forward Francis Lee, a member of Manchester City’s championship side of 1968, was signed in August 1974. In addition, Clough’s last signing, Henry Newton, an England under-23 international, had established himself in the team.

The 1974-75 season was one of the most open in the league’s history. At the final count, only 11 points separated mid-table Queens Park Rangers and Derby on 53 points. Furthermore, the leadership changed hands almost weekly, with more than half a dozen teams in with a chance of winning the title in the closing stages. Consistency seemed to be a problem among most clubs and Derby only topped the table in the final weeks.

Ipswich Town’s fine side made the early running, but fixture congestion and a relatively thin squad got the better of them. Champions Leeds and 1971 winners Arsenal were in decline and Liverpool were rebuilding. Manchester United were in the second division. The title race brought new, less-fancied teams to the fore, such as Stoke City, Burnley, Middlesbrough, Everton and Sheffield United.

Derby’s early season form did not hint at a serious challenge. They were beaten by newly promoted – and eventually relegated – Carlisle United (0-3) and Luton Town (0-1) and, at the turn of the year, they were in ninth place, three points behind leaders Ipswich.

DerbyLeagueCupChamps1975-Brochure-LInto 1975, Derby were still at the back end of the chasing pack come March and when they were beaten at home by Stoke City, teams like the Potters and Burnley seemed to be better placed. But such was the intensity and unpredictability of this title race that hopes fluctuated with every result. The Easter period was especially productive for Mackay’s side. They scored 12 goals in three games, beating Luton (5-0 – Roger Davies scoring a quintet of goals), Burnley (5-2) and Manchester City (2-1) to jump to third in the table, level on points with Ipswich and Everton.

Derby went top for the first time on April 12 after Bruce Rioch’s goal beat West Ham at the Baseball Ground. Derby were on 51 points and had two games remaining, Ipswich were in fourth, three points behind but with three to play. Derby edged closer on April 19 when they drew 0-0 at Leicester but crucially, Ipswich, Liverpool and Everton all lost. It meant that Derby’s 52 points were too much for the Merseyside duo, who were both three points behind, and only Ipswich could delay the celebrations by winning their game in hand at Manchester City. Derby’s final game was at home to relegated Carlisle. It was all academic, as Ipswich drew at Maine Road and a lack-lustre Derby drew 0-0 on the final Saturday to rubber-stamp the title with a low points total of 53.

Derby were deprived of influential captain Roy McFarland for most of the season through injury, although he returned in the final four games of the campaign. The regular line-up was from:
Boulton, Webster, Thomas, Daniel, Todd, Nish, Newton, Powell, Rioch, Gemmill, Hector, Davies, Lee and Hinton.

Colin Boulton (28): Boulton was the only player to play all 84 of Derby’s title-winning games over the two seasons. He was a dependable goalkeeper, often overlooked, but his handling and ability to deal with crosses were sound. He played 344 games for the Rams, joining the club in 1964 and leaving in 1977.

Ron Webster (31): Belper-born Webster was a hard-tackling defender and the only local man in the Derby title side. He served eight managers in his 17 years with the club and played well over 500 games for Derby. He was named player of the year in 1974.

Peter Daniel (27): An unsung hero of a player who filled in for Roy McFarland in 1974-75 and played almost 250 games for Derby between 1965 and 1979. A steady, unspectacular player who could always be relied upon.

Colin Todd (25): An excellent defender who ranks among the finest of the 1970s. Signed by Derby in February 1971 from Sunderland for a £170,000 fee. He was capped 27 times by England and would have won more but for strong competition in his position. He had a good turn of speed, a strong sense of anticipation and was very strong in the tackle. He was [surprisingly] sold to Everton in 1978 for £ 300,000, a decision not well received by Derby’s supporters.

David Nish (26): Derby paid £ 225,000 to Leicester City for this accomplished defender in August 1972. An elegant player, he captained his former club at the age of 21 in the 1969 FA Cup final. He also won five England caps, possibly deserving more. He left Derby in 1979 for Tulsa Roughnecks.

Rod Thomas (27): Welsh international full back (50 caps) Thomas was one of Swindon Town’s star players when the Wiltshire club beat Arsenal in the 1969 Football League Cup final. He joined Derby in November 1973, earning Swindon an £ 80,000 fee in the process. He stayed with Derby until 1977 when he was sold to Cardiff City.

Henry Newton (30): Newton was very close to winning a full cap for England throughout his career, but did not quite make the breakthrough with the national team. A fierce-tackling midfielder, he played for Nottingham Forest and Everton before arriving at Derby in September 1973, costing the club £ 100,000. He moved to Walsall in 1977.

Bruce Rioch (26): Midfielder Rioch joined Derby in February 1974 from Aston Villa and was top scorer in the 1974-75 season, his explosive shooting a set-pieces proving invaluable. He had also played for Luton Town earlier in his career. Although born in Aldershot, he was capped 24 times by Scotland, appearing in the 1978 World Cup. He was sold to Everton in December 1976 but returned to Derby for a second spell nine months later. He eventually left the club in 1979.

Archie Gemmill (27): Few players have made such an impact across two clubs as Gemmill did with Derby and – latterly – with Nottingham Forest. A hard-running midfielder with perceptive passing ability, Gemmill joined Derby in September 1970 from Preston North End for a bargain £ 60,000. He won 43 Scotland caps and will forever be remembered for his contribution in the 1978 World Cup. He played more than 400 games for Derby – across two spells – with a highly successful period with Forest in between.

Steve Powell (18): A versatile player who captained England Schools and England Youth. He made his debut for Derby in 1971 aged 16 and in a 14-year career with the club, made almost 400 appearances.

Kevin Hector (29): Hector cost Derby £ 40,000 when he joined them from Bradford City in 1966. A swift forward with fine balance and strong finishing, he scored over 200 goals in almost 600 games for the club. He was briefly capped by England, bizarrely making his debut in the closing seconds of the ill-fated World Cup qualifying game against Poland in October 1973.

Roger Davies (23): Plucked from non-league Worcester City by Brian Clough in 1971, Davies was a tall centre forward with good aerial skills and was a handful for opposition defenders. He was sold to Bruges in 1976 for £ 135,000 and subsequently played for Leicester before returning to Derby in 1979. He scored 44 goals in 166 games for the club.

Francis Lee (30): Francis Lee, in his prime, was an outstanding forward who won 27 caps (10 goals) for England when he was with Manchester City. Although at the veteran stage of his career when he arrived at Derby, he had two excellent seasons with the club, scoring 30 goals in 82 league games. And aggressive and incisive front-runner, he was also renowned for his ability to win and score penalties. Retired from the game in 1976 to concentrate on his business interests.

Alan Hinton (31): One of the best crossers of the ball in the game, Hinton joined Derby in September 1967 from Nottingham Forest for £ 35,000. He had already won three England caps before arriving at the Baseball Ground. A superb creator of goals, he was also proficient at free-kicks and corners. He made over 300 appearances for Derby, scoring more than 80 goals.
Football League Appearances

Boulton, C 42 Hinton, A 8+5 Rioch, B 42
Bourne, J 7+10 Lee, F 34 Thomas, R 22
Daniel, P 37 McFarland, R 4 Todd, C 39
Davies, R 39+1 Newton, H 35+1 Wesbter, R 24
Gemmill, A 41 Nish, D 38
Hector, K 38 Powell, S 12+3

Goalscorers: Rioch 15, Hector 13, Davies 12, Lee 12, Daniel 3, Newton 3, Bourne 2, Hinton 2, Nish 2, Powell 2, Webster 1. Total: 67

Football League Results

Aug 17 Everton Away D 0–0 42,193
Aug 21 Coventry City Home D 1–1 Lee 25,717
Aug 24 Sheffield United Home W 2–0 Hector, Davies 23,088
Aug 27 Coventry City Away D 1–1 Davies 18,586
Aug 31 Tottenham Hotspur Away L 0–2 20,770
Sept 7 Newcastle United Home D 2–2 Davies, Lee 21,197
Sept 14 Birmingham City Away L 2–3 Rioch, Davies 27,345
Sept 21 Burnley Home W 3–2 Hector, Rioch (pen), Lee 21,377
Sept 25 Chelsea Home W 4–1 Rioch, Webster, Daniel, Hector 22,036
Sept 28 Stoke City Away D 1–1 Lee 23,589
Oct 5 West Ham United Away D 2–2 Lee, Hector 32,900
Oct 12 Leicester City Home W 1–0 Rioch 24,753
Oct 15 Sheffield United Away W 2–1 Lee 2 21,882
Oct 19 Carlisle United Away L 0–3 13,353
Oct 26 Middlesbrough Home L 2–3 Hector, Hinton 24,036
Nov 2 Leeds United Away W 1–0 Lee 33,551
Nov 9 Queens Park R Home W 5–2 Hector, Rioch, Lee 23,339
Nov 16 Arsenal Away L 1–3 Rioch (pen) 32,286
Nov 23 Ipswich Town Home W 2–0 Hector, Rioch 24,341
Dec 7 Liverpool Away D 2–2 Bourne, Davies 41,058
Dec 14 Everton Home L 0–1 24,991
Dec 21 Luton Town Away L 0–1 12,862
Dec 26 Birmingham City Home W 2–1 Bourne, Rioch 26,121
Dec 28 Manchester City Away W 2–1 Newton, Lee 40,188
Jan 11 Liverpool Home W 2–0 Newton, Lee 33,463
Jan 18 Wolverhampton W Away W 1–0 Newton 24,515
Feb 1 Queens Park R Away L 1–4 Rioch 20,686
Feb 8 Leeds United Home D 0–0 33,641
Feb 22 Arsenal Home W 2–1 Powell 2 24,002
Feb 25 Ipswich Town Away L 0–3 23,078
Mar 1 Tottenham Hotspur Home W 3-1 Rioch, Daniel, Davies 23,000
Mar 8 Chelsea Away W 2–1 Daniel, Hinton 22,644
Mar 15 Stoke City Home L 1–2 Hector 29,985
Mar 22 Newcastle United Away W 2–0 Nish, Rioch 31,010
Mar 29 Luton Town Home W 5–0 Davies 5 24,619
Mar 31 Burnley Away W 5–2 Rioch, Nish, Davies, Hector 2 24.276
Apr 1 Manchester City Home W 2-1 Rioch 2 32,966
Apr 5 Middlesbrough Away D 1–1 Hector 30,066
Apr 9 Wolverhampton W Home W 1–0 Lee 30,109
Apr 12 West Ham United Home W 1–0 Rioch 31,336
Apr 19 Leicester City Away D 0–0 38,943
Apr 26 Carlisle United Home D 0–0 38,000

FA Cup: Round Five
Football League Cup: Round Three
UEFA Cup: Round Three
Average home attendance: 26,719

Pos   P W D L F A Pts
1 Derby County 42 21 11 10 41 18 53
2 Liverpool 42 20 11 11 60 39 51
3 Ipswich Town 42 23 5 14 66 44 51

Dave Mackay…would you have tackled him?

Dave Mackay and team-mates peer through the mists of time...
Dave Mackay and team-mates peer through the mists of time…

It’s always sad to hear of the passing of a football legend and the news that Dave Mackay, most famously remembered for being part of the Tottenham double side of 1961, was just that. Amid the many tributes that will be paid to the man in the coming days and weeks, there are five things that I will remember about David Craig Mackay.

Football’s most famous barrel chest
Today, Dave Mackay’s chest-first figure would struggle to get into the slim-fit technical shirts of the Premier’s finest. Mackay was strong, formidable, scary and determined. When Bill Nicholson signed left half Mackay in 1959, he was already 25 years old and had played 135 games for Heart of Midlothian, the club he always wanted to join. He was also an established Scotland international. Mackay was a pivotal figure in a Hearts side that won the Scottish League in 1958, the Scottish Cup in 1956 and two Scottish League Cups – 1955 and 1959. He skippered Hearts in their short-lived European Cup campaign.

Photographic evidence 1 – Billy Bremner
It was August 1966 and Billy Bremner, then a precocious member of Don Revie’s Leeds United side, was a little too zealous. He picked the wrong man to mix it with and Mackay, snarling and bristling, grabbed his fellow Scot by the scruff of the neck. Terry Venables looks on and referee Norman Burtenshaw runs in. Wouldn’t it have been good to hear what was said?

Mackay 3Photographic evidence 2 – Broken legs   
Mackay broke his left twice and had the misfortune to suffer the second break in his comeback game against Shrewsbury Town reserves at White Hart Lane in September 1964. A photographer captured the moment Mackay realises he’s broken his leg again and the referee’s face says it all. Many people wrote him off at that point, but he bounced back.

Derby County 5 Tottenham 0
Mackay enjoyed a swansong at Tottenham when he won the FA Cup in 1967. But his time with Spurs was coming to an end, and at the age of 33, he was sold to Brian Clough’s Derby County in 1968. Mackay was the catalyst and on-pitch leader Clough was seeking to launch Derby’s bid to climb out of the old second division. Derby won the title in 1968-69 and in their first season in the top flight, surprised a few people – including Mackay’s old team, Tottenham, who were trounced 5-0 at the Baseball Ground.

Mackay 2Porridge
If people give Peter Taylor credit for much of Clough’s success, a considerable number would also name Mackay as equally important to Derby’s climb to the ranks of title contenders. When Clough’s empire imploded, Mackay – who had made the first steps into management with Swindon and Nottingham Forest – was recalled to lead Derby. He won the club’s second League Championship in 1974-75 but was let go in November 1976. TV sit-com Porridge, starring Ronnie Barker, featured a newspaper headline, “Mackay Sacked”, which Barker’s character, Fletcher, pinned to his cell wall, a reference to another character from the show.

and most importantly…

I met Bill Nicholson about 15 years ago. He was attending a pre-season friendly at Hitchin Town with former Norwich defender Duncan Forbes. It was a game between a Spurs youth side and Hitchin. I was lucky enough to speak to Nicholson all through the game – a humble, straight-forward man who you couldn’t help but like. He told me that Mackay was, “the best signing I ever made….the best £30,000 the Spurs ever spent. But he was one of many, many outstanding players I was fortunate to work with.” He nodded and nodded – so did Forbes – and watched, a little misty-eyed, at the latest batch of Tottenham youngsters trying to emulate heroes like Mackay. That was a big ask.

David Craig Mackay, born November 14 1935, Edinburgh. Died March 2, 2015.