Adam Pearson diary: Life's not dull at Derby in week of drama

24 January 2009 02:15
SATURDAYAll the optimism before kick-off disappears in 90 minutes with a 2-0 defeat and an insipid performance against QPR. It underlines the size of the job facing our new manager.

Like every other Derby fan, I went home to lick my wounds. It's difficult to take any positives from that poor display. And who's next? Manchester United!

What's frustrating is that there was no hint of what was to come. The spirit was good, the preparations were spot-on. Who'd be in this game?

In the hot seat: Adam Pearson in his office at the training ground

SUNDAYA bad result ruins your weekend. The performance took us by surprise, given what had happened when we beat United 1-0 in the first leg of our Carling Cup semi.

We were going into a massive week ahead of the second leg at United and the FA Cup tie against Forest. You never know if the players have their eyes fixed firmly on those two fixtures.

After a defeat, you try to be even-handed when you get home, especially with the kids. They get away with blue murder if we have won, mind you.

My wife thinks it's better to send me out on a long walk with the dogs after we've lost because she thinks it helps me get it out of my system.

They must worry if they see me walk through the door with a long face on a Saturday night! The dogs have been walked far more often than I would've liked during the past 18 months.

MONDAYFurther board discussions were held about moving players on in the transfer window. The squad is top-heavy at the moment and we need to do something about it. Nigel will make his mind up on those who can go very quickly. Certainly, we want a far smaller squad by summer.

We are caught between a rock and a hard place at this club. Last summer we were geared up like a Premier League club, with a big and expensive squad, fantastic facilities and great resources available to the players.

But we all now think it needs to be run more along Championship lines. We want Nigel to trim some of the luxuries. We don't have a problem with players being re-instated if and when we return to the Premier League. But it's a feet-on-the-ground approach now.

Certain expenses are high because we've done everything to the highest standard. Nigel thinks things need to be toned down. Players have the best hotels, best travel and all the ancillary departments like medicine, nutrition, pedicures and osteopaths. It's time for a more frugal approach across the club.

The previous week I had discussions, with the Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney among others, about the financial hardships facing football. It is going to require a consensus from all Championship clubs to make a lasting change, but there already appears to be an appetite to ensure clubs' long-term futures are protected.

Too little: Barnes scores from the spot but Derby went out after losing 4-2 at Old Trafford

TUESDAYManchester United at Old Trafford in the Carling Cup semi-final, second leg.

The high-profile clash was a good time to get our investors across from America. United are a modern, forward-thinking club, and set standards we can all aspire to. Everything is extremely professional, as you'd expect from such a huge world-wide brand. However, the great thing about Old Trafford and Manchester United is that it doesn't feel like a brand at all. It still feels like a traditional club, albeit the biggest in the world.

We lost 4-2 on the night, but we were extremely pleased that we made a real game of it to retain our credibility and pride.

WEDNESDAYNigel says he saw the first shoots of a revival in the second-half performance at United - and we all now hope that's the case with important games looming. After meetings with two potential new board members, I'm on the phone seeing what can be done with respect to player recruitment and sales. I'm trying hard to make some moves in the transfer window, but the market is completely stagnant in the Championship.

All the attention is around Manchester City and three or four major deals.

There isn't a transfer market of any substance below the Premier League and it's very quiet because most clubs have been affected by the credit crunch. There is a definite drop-off in marketing, advertising, ticket revenues, corporate hospitality and that has to have a knock-on effect on season-ticket sales. There are serious issues facing football clubs.

Cup cheer: Hulse puts Derby ahead but they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Forest

THURSDAYThere is a lot of press regarding Forest boss Billy Davies facing his former side.

Billy did a tremendous job in gaining promotion for Derby in such a short space of time, particularly considering the small squad he inherited when he arrived from Preston North End. He was critical in a number of the articles of myself and the club but I have to say in response that I think his achievements are deservedly respected by everyone at Pride Park.

I had no doubts during my recent phone conversations with Nigel Doughty, the Nottingham Forest owner, in stating that Billy would be the right man for the job. I hope those conversations don't come back to haunt me later in the season because I'm sure Billy will do very well.

FRIDAYWith the Derby v Forest tie being live on TV and the club receiving international exposure for the second time in a week, we're hoping to put on a good show to enhance our international profile. It will give us all a huge lift.

When I first arrived at Derby, I was surprised at the intensity of the rivalry with Forest and got a chance to experience it first-hand during the first game between the clubs in November's 1-1 draw, refereed by Stuart Attwell. To have two goals chalked off in the last five minutes definitely affected the momentum of this season.

I did find Attwell's appointment surprising for such a big game, particularly after that incident at Watford when Reading were awarded a 'phantom goal'. We're not making excuses. It hurt us because we were just picking up consistent form under Paul Jewell.

I'm not blaming the ref, just the logic behind the initial appointment. There was unnecessary pressure on him.


Source: Daily_Mail