A kind interpretation of Nigel Clough would depict him as slowly building towards something significant at Derby County. After all, he spent the best part of a decade across the county boundary at Burton and was ultimately rewarded with success. The naysayers are having none of it of course: Derby were downright terrible in 09-10. A club with their resources and a proud history of two Championships in the seventies should not be trading blows with Scunny and Donny, let alone coming off inferior.
All of which makes their average gate of 29,207 a freak of nature. This is not the glory seeking of a Norwich on finding themselves in the third tier – it’s not too difficult to head groundwards if you are winning every week, even if it is against Stockport. No, Derby’s fans deserve credit for turning up in such numbers given the fare on offer – meagre at best, diabolical at worst.
Honourable mentions to Cardiff City
whose fervent following on the road always makes the Bluebirds seem harder to vanquish and Watford
, whose pained reaction to the walk out of Brendan Rodgers was voluble but dignified. As for the Crystal Palace
ultras aka The Holmesdale Fanatics
? Twenty pimply teenagers trying to intimidate away fans by bouncing under a massive flag? It didn’t work.