Living In The Past?
The Rams claimed a deserved victory at Elland Road on the opening day of the season amidst a wave of nostalgia on the BBC equal to that we roll out every World Cup to remind the world (or is it just ourselves?) that England were world champions once don`t y`know. There may have been only ten minutes build-up but I don`t think the presenters could have crow-barred more 1970`s/Brian Clough VT into the show if they tried. Seriously, we all know he was a great manager and was once in charge of Leeds for 44 days but surely yesterday`s match was about the new season and two teams looking forward to the new season rather then their 'glorious` past? I`m all for not forgetting where you come from but you`d have been fooled into thinking it was still 1975 in the build-up rather than a new football season.
Am I the only one who`s looking forward here? Our favourite team along Brian Clough way were once European champions in the distant past and it`s not like they remind us of that every…. ah okay, maybe they do but look at Liverpool, they were arguably the best side in Europe for a sustained period in the late seventies and eighties and they don`t feel the need to go on and on about it now they`re struggling to keep on the coat tails of United, Chelsea, et al. Okay, maybe they do but my point is surely most clubs have at some point done quite well (even Preston were English champions once) but that doesn`t mean they have to live in the past all of the time. Having said that what would The Rams give to have another Roy McFarland or Igor Stimac to slot into and organise their defence nowadays, now who`s living in the past?
BBC coverage aside it was nice to see Nigel Clough`s men doing themselves justice on national television, don`t get me wrong there were still some dodgy moments at the back and the last ten minutes were somewhat fraught but in truth we should have been out of sight by them. Kasper, son of, did his utmost to keep Leeds in the match making some great saves at close range and also seems to have inherited his dad`s explosive temper after a few close-ups of red faced, apoplectic rage at his frail looking backline. Even Shaun Barker managed to get on the pitch and last for 45 minutes despite not having stepped foot on a pitch in pre-season although the injury to Russell Anderson less than an hour into the season must have all of us hoping the injury record of last season does not strike again.
The new boys all did well, even if none of them were outstanding on the day, with John Brayford probably the best of the four looking solid and assured at right-back whilst getting forward regularly. James Bailey looked to use the ball well in midfield although he may need to learn to out his foot through the ball at times inside his own penalty area and Tomasz Cywka showed a few moments of trickery that hopefully auger well for the future. Gareth Roberts did well at left-back and it`s certainly good to see two fullbacks that, based on yesterday`s evidence, don`t keep resorting to those aimless diagonal balls we all saw last season and don`t have the rushes of blood to the head that Connolly and McEveley seemed to suffer from. It was certainly no surprise to me to see Paul Connolly pick-up a booking for a late and unnecessary challenge on the halfway line in the second half.
All in all a solid start to the season and a good three points to take home against the Damned United (copyright BBC). Let`s look forward to the trip to Crewe on Tuesday (how we love the first round of the Carling Cup!) and then welcome Cardiff City to Pride Park on Saturday and build on this victory and perhaps The Rams won`t be looking over their shoulder so much this season at the teams behind them.