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04/05: Preview: Derby County
Opposition opinion
by Chris Smith of The Baseball Bat Fanzine

What happened last season?
In short we stayed in the division by a gnat's knackers. However as I predicted in this same piece last season, it was a massive period of transition for the Rams. We got a new board, almost an entire new squad and most importantly got rid of the last of all the overpaid duffers who have been dragging us down for so long. We even got a Football Director who seems to be good at his job and actually contributes to the cause.

For much of the early part of the season we were relying on reserves and youth-teamers and this was reflected in some shocking results. However from around Christmas we started to bring in some experienced quality players as well as the inspirational loan signing of Leon Osman from Everton. If Everton have 4 better midfielders than him they should be top 6. However I digress.

We actually should have been safe a lot earlier than the second last game of the season but a bizarre run of winning at home and then losing away never quite let us pull away. From Christmas, our home points tally was better than Norwich yet our away points tally was worse than Wimbledon!

What's going to happen next season?
Well again in this piece last season, I predicted if we could stay up, we would piss the division this season. However looking at Wolves, Leeds, Leicester, Sunderland, West Ham etc I'm not so sure.

We have signed some good players though and the play-offs are not out the question. We have been crying out for a big nasty aggressive centre back and in Mo Konjic we seem to have got one. Tommy Smith and Morten Bisgaard look good and having Junior back from injury is effectively like a new signing as well.

We have done nearly 15000 season tickets and people generally feel good about our prospects. If nothing else you will certainly see Derby playing some proper football and scoring loads of goals.

Soundbites (from assorted Census correspondents)

"football means more than most things in this world"

"Marmite crisps are the best. It's official."

"Raymond E Feist is God, and 'Magician' should be made into a film!"

"I have an IQ of 157 according to one internet test."

"I think we genuinely could challenge for the playoffs this season. Really! Lookout."

"Derby county are the best team you will ever see on a football pitch, tommy smith is a goal machine and i hate notts forest so much i cant put it into words"