Right, time to take it upon myself to cheer up Derby County fans because the second coming of Clough was supposed to point to more promising things than being 17th in the second tier and below the likes of, well, us. It might be something of a cliché but there is genuine potential for a club like County. They appear to have happened on upon one of the more down to earth of club owners and of course continue to attract significant crowds to Pride Park regardless of league form. And then of course, there is the precendent of history.
Under Clough senior Derby were transformed from a side which had bounced between the top two divisions for the best part of seventy years to become Football League Champions in 1972. County won the league again in 1975, now under the guidance of, future Doncaster Rovers manager, Dave Mackay earning a place in the 1975-76 European Cup. After defeating Czechoslovakian Champions Slovan Bratislava 3-1 on aggregate in the first round County were paired withS panish Champions Real Madrid in round two. Ultimately they lost this tie 6-5 on aggregate, but not before the Derby public had taken in one of the greatest ever footballing nights at the Baseball Ground in the first leg.
It is this tie which features in this week’s Viva Video, complete with Barry Davies commentary. Things to look out for then including a couple of brilliant penalties from Charlie George, played in this footage by Napolean Dynamite. Madrid meanwhile appear to have fielded Tom Selleck in goal and he gets found out for the actor he is with the third goal. The referee offers some fantastic hand signals throughout and appears from his face to be permenently blowing his whistle, whilst the linesman bails Derby out with an atrocious offside decision. Finally, a couple of points of nostalgia for things you don’t see often enough at football these days; firstly had painted banners and secondly the four-shadow effect caused by the floodlights.
Sod it, lets make this episode a double-header because I cannot leave this feature without mentioning last season’s visit to Pride Park, Rovers’ first game at this level for half a century. Over 3,000 Doncastrians made the trip and were rewarded by a 1-0 win. As a rule I never use mobile phone footage in this feature… this is the exception to that rule. Brilliant capture of the joy in the away end as Lewis Guy finds the net followed by possibly the most synchronised display of support Rovers fans have ever produced.