Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 4: Derby County
If you forget last years Brian Clough Trophy Game at Prideless Park, it's been 3 long years since we locked horns with Derby County in a meaningful game, so next seasons encounters will be the most eagerly awaited games for some time.
Let's face it, they hate us as much as we hate them and there's certainly no love lost between the two clubs. Even in last seasons preseason friendly a crowd of over 25,000 turned up for the inaugural BCT game. We can brush over the fact that they cruised to a 2-0 win and laid claim to the trophy for the first time.
The last game between us was back in the 2004/5 season. The game at the City Ground was a thrilling 2-2, with our goals coming from Evans and Taylor. The day was spoilt by Grzegorz Rasiak bagging himself a brace. The away game that season saw us slump to a 3-0 defeat, with another brace from that man Rasiak. In 79 meetings Forest have won 33, lost 27 and drawn 19. You have to go all the way back to 1971 to find the last time they beat us at the City Ground. Still times have changed and how for both clubs.
We of course got relegated the season we last met and the Rams have since tasted the dizzy heights of the Premiership. Last season ended with complete and utter humiliation for the Sheep, who were savagely beaten on what seemed a weekly basis. We of course attained promotion and experienced the delights of going up, whilst they had to deal with the misery of going down.
As a result of our good fortune and their bad, we will meet once again in the Championship for the 2008/9 campaign. It goes without saying that they will be the first fixtures that both sets of fans will look for.
Whilst we were finishing the season with automatic promotion, the sheep worriers were coming to terms not only with being relegated from the greatest division in the world, but they were doing it in a cataclysmic and horrifying style. They ended up being the first team ever to be relegated before April (March 29 to be precise). They finished up with the Premierships worst ever points tally, 11. They were the first team in 108 years to go the entire season with only 1 win. They finished with the lowest ever goals for tally and the worst ever goals against tally. Good reading this, innit? They were without doubt, the worst ever team in the history of the beautiful game (the last bit may not actually be fact, but that's how it looked).
Things were as bad off the pitch as they were on it. Not only did they get rid of manager Billy Davies in January for amassing only 6 points from 14 games (not too bad when you look at how the rest of the season panned out), they had to deal with the sex scandal of new manager Paul Jewell. As we all know by now he was caught on video performing in a way more reminiscent of a very bad 70's porn video. Those pictures caught by the News of the World will feed Forest fans for a lifetime and no amount of 'coffee cup' jibes will ever beat what Rams fans and the porn star himself will be put through for eternity.
So it all bodes well for two fascinating encounters in the coming months. Those games will have the added spice of not only Robert Earnshaw pitting himself against one of his former clubs, but also the fact that Kris Commons will be making his first trip back to the CG since he was christened Judas. The fixtures will be released in a fortnight and I for one can't wait. Make a note in the old diary. 10am. June 16.