Derby County Profile
|Major Honours||First Division/Premier League (2), Second Division/Championship (4), Second Division/Championship Playoffs (1), Third Division/League One (1), FA Cup (1), Charity Shield (1)|
One of the original founders of the Football League, they reigned supreme during the 1970s. However, now they find themselves in the third tier of English football.
Derby County are a League One club based in Derby. Their home ground is Pride Park Stadium which has a capacity of 33,597.
Under Brian Clough, Derby won the First Division twice in the 1970s. However, they found themselves in the third tier in the 1980s, and again in the 2022/23 season.
They were promoted to the Premier League in 1997 and spent six years there before relegation in 2002.
The Rams made an ill-fated return to the top flight in 2007, recording the division's lowest ever points total. Until 2022, they had been in the Championship ever since, losing out in the play-offs three times, most recently a 2-1 defeat in the final to Aston Villa in 2019.
During a drawn out period of financial mismanagement, the club were relegated from the Championship after having a 12-point deduction imposed upon them for entering administration.
Derby-based property developer David Clowes completed his purchase of the club and ground in July 2022, ending their nine months in administration and partially lifting the transfer embargo.
Derby under Brian Clough
Trophyless since winning the 1946 FA Cup final, the club were transformed under the management of Brian Clough in the 1970s.
Clough and sidekick Peter Taylor, who would follow him to Nottingham Forest and Brighton, joined the Rams in 1967 as the club were looking to climb out of the Second Division.
Their appointment was an almost instant success. Clough and Taylor clinched the Second Division title in 1969, with a little helping hand from new signings Alan Hinton, Dave Mackay, John O'Hare and Roy McFarland.
A new era had begun at Derby and the Rams achieved an astonishing fourth-placed finish in Division One in the 1969/70 season.
Clough continued to work his magic and in 1971/72 Derby were crowned Division One champions, pipping Leeds United to the title by a point.
However, despite Clough and Taylor achieving legendary status at the club, they would depart Derby at the end of the 1972/73 season after a falling out with the board.
The duo will forever be remembered at the club, however, with a bronze statue commemorating the pair outside Pride Park.
1980s decline and revival
After Clough and Taylor's departure, Derby went on to win their second First Division title in 1974/75 under Clough and Taylor signing Dave Mackay.
However, despite their mid-70s success, Derby County would find themselves in the Second Division by 1980.
Their demise led to a domino effect and as attendances dwindled, debts rose and peroformances on the pitch suffered. A second relegation occured in 1984.
Arthur Cox was appointed as manager and despite failing to achieve promotion in his first season, Cox transformed the Derby side. Back to back promotions followed and the Rams were back in the top flight for the 1987/88 season.
After saving Derby from financial collapse in 1984, Robert Maxwell invested into the club, allowing Cox to sign the likes of Peter Shilton, Mark Wright and Dean Saunders.
However, a lack of investment ahead of the 1990/91 campaign saw Derby bow out of Division One once more.
In the early 1990s, Derby would invest but without reward. The closest the Rams came to the recently formed Premier League was a loss in the 1994 play-off final to Leicester City.
The 1995/96 season would begin under the guidance of promotion specialist Jim Smith. He did not disappoint. In his first season, Smith led Derby to a second-placed finish and automatic promotion to the Premier League, ending a 16-year absence from the top flight.
A comfortable 12th-placed finish saw out the final season at the Baseball Ground before a move to the newly built Pride Park.
In their impressive new surrounds, Derby finished ninth in 1997/98 and improved to eighth the following year.
A record to forget and modern-day Derby
After relegation to the Championship in 2002, Derby returned to the Premier League in 2007 through the play-offs.
However, their return to the top flight was one to forget.
The Rams only recorded one win, setting the record for the lowest ever Premier League points total with 11.
In September 2008, four days short of Derby's previous win in English soccer, the Rams beat Sheffield United 2-1 in a Championship encounter. It was Paul Jewell's 27th game in charge of the club, and his first win.
The Championship has become home to Derby County after numerous failed play-off attempts.
Steve McClaren led the side to the 2013/14 play-off final before suffering a dramatic loss to Queens Park Rangers.
Local businessman Mel Morris took over the club following McClaren's failure but despite initial investment - and nine managers in a five-and-a-half year spell - has failed to spearhead the club back into the Premier League.
Three play-off defeats came during his tenure and under former manager Wayne Rooney the club only survived relegation to League One in 2020/21 by a point.
Morris' spending eventually caught up with him when the club were put into administration in September 2021. The club incurred a 12-point penalty as a result.
Rooney fought bravely on, under a transfer embargo, but was unable to keep Derby from the drop to League One, with the club finishing 23rd in the 2021/22 Championship season.
Derby County were finally taken out of administration after local property firm Clowes Developments completed their takeover of the club in July 2022.
It was too late for Rooney though, he quit the club the week before saying Derby needed someone with "fresh energy" to lead them in League One.
Derby County's biggest rivals
Derby County have established rivalries with Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and Leeds United.
Nottingham Forest, the biggest rival of the three, are located only 14 miles from east of Derby, with the meetings between the sides known as the East Midlands Derby. The winner is awarded the Brian Clough Trophy.
Whereas for Leeds, their rivalry stems from their tensions within the 1970s when they were two of the biggest clubs in the country, if not Europe.
The rivalry was reignited during the 2018/19 Championship campaign when Leeds were found to have spied on Derby training.
Derby fans have always been known as a passionate set of supporters.
During their disastrous 2007/08 campaign, Derby fans were known as the best in the country for their loyalty. Pride Park was sold out for most home games, as well as an abundance of away supporters travelling to support their side.
Due to their commitment to their club, in 2008 they were named Fans of the Season. The club had the 12th highest average attendance in England from 2007 to 2010.