From Hooper to Kuqi (less Hulse) – A Striking Downgrade (pre-Crystal Palace, 25/9/10)

… And Chris Wood is loaned to Barnsley, not Derby, as we were promised. What the hell is going on?

Looking at it broadly, it’s all part of a consistent process of our targets being downgraded.  We’ve gone from the exciting promise of Gary Hooper to the chastening reality of Shefki Kuqi – with Rob Hulse sold – in the space of a few short months.

Tom Glick claimed that we bid £1.5m for Hooper, but were priced out by Celtic.  Fair enough.  But why hasn’t that £1.5m been made available since then?  And furthermore, ‘we didn’t need to sell Rob Hulse’.  You’d like to think therefore that his transfer fee would be made available, in that case.  Only it hasn’t.

In a bit more detail, here’s how it panned out over the summer….

MAY

Clough confirms interest in Gary Hooper… DET reports that the club have held talks with the player, but no deal has been agreed with either Scunthorpe or Hooper… Billy Sharp is also reportedly on Derby’s radar, but the first move comes from Doncaster, whose £650,000 bid is rejected by Sheffield United…. Jamie Mackie, whom Clough had previously named as a target, signs a four-year contract at QPR… James Vaughan is named as a loan target…. Boro join the race for Hooper and bid a reported £2.5m…..

JUNE

The race to sign Hooper now looks like a straight shoot-out between Boro and Celtic, with Derby priced out… Celtic are credited with an interest in loaning Vaughan, who is reportedly not interested in joining Derby or Leicester… Burnley have a bid of £1m accepted for Sharp… Derby announce their interest in signing Simon Cox on loan from West Brom…. Gary Crosby admits on the Rams’ official website that Rob Hulse is for sale…. Leeds are reported to be interested in Hulse… Sharp rejects the proposed transfer to Burnley…

JULY

Hooper is left out of Scunthorpe’s first pre-season friendly, due to a possible transfer… NC quoted as saying Derby were unable to meet Scunthorpe’s asking price… Sharp signs for Doncaster at £1.1m…. Pre-season gets underway and Amari Morgan-Smith of Ilkeston Town comes in for a trial, playing three games without scoring…. NC again states his interest in signing Vaughan…

AUGUST

Hooper is a Hoop, having signed for Celtic…. Clough’s interest in Morgan-Smith cools…  Derby are reported to be scouting Bohemians’ Eire U’21 striker Paddy MaddenLuke Varney is linked with a loan move to QPR… Cardiff are reportedly interested in Hulse and prepared to offer Ross McCormack in exchange… Wigan misfit Jason Scotland is a reported loan target, but signs a two-year deal at Ipswich instead…. As the end of the transfer window looms, a loan bid for Chris Wood of West Brom is made…. Varney is loaned to Blackpool with a view to a permanent transfer…. On deadline day, Hulse is revealed to be set to join QPR, although the deal is not confirmed on the 31st by the Football League…. Alberto Bueno joins Derby on a season-long loan from Real Valladolid, but NC states he is an attacking midfielder, rather than a striker…

SEPTEMBER

Hulse’s move to QPR goes through… Vaughan joins Crystal Palace on loan… Club reiterate their interest in taking Wood, who will apparently be allowed out once WBA’s injury situation improves… Clough admits to an interest in Matty Fryatt of Leicester, but Paulo Sousa states he is not available for loan… Out of nowhere, Shefki Kuqi arrives on loan from Swansea… Also out of nowhere, Wood joins Barnsley on loan….

To be continued?

As I’ve said in my previous Sky blog, I’ve a horrible feeling things might turn nasty if we go 1-0 down on Saturday.  My patience and faith in the board has, I think, finally snapped and even though I try not to listen to the Radio Derby moan-in (the callers generally depress me), I’m afraid I have reached the point of no return.  Either GSE organise a suitable replacement for Rob Hulse, or I won’t write another word defending them.  Kuqi won’t do.  Bueno isn’t it.  We need a proper, talented striker in his prime, or about to develop into his best years.

I feel for Kuqi and who knows, maybe he’ll prove me wrong and bang in ten goals before Christmas, but the reality is, he’s almost 34 and his best days are surely well behind him.  And anyway, if Kuqi gets injured, we’re back to having no fit strikers at all.  If Kuqi plays poorly, there’s nobody to replace him – and my fondly imagined theory that we might be able to do without an old-fashioned ‘number nine’ was very quickly destroyed by Sheffield United.

One of my worst ever Derby memories was seeing Miles Addison get booed for a misplaced pass, as the Paul Jewell-era limped to an end.  I remember one guy standing up and screaming, “don’t boo him, for God’s sake”, as Miles put his head in his hands and Derby lost to Crystal Palace in abject fashion.  The point being, there are some good young players at the club and I don’t want to see them get dragged down.

The supporters shouldn’t have to put up with watching the team struggle through yet another season and as I’ve said before, if you don’t keep moving forward, you start sliding backwards.

The sad thing is, Clough has shown himself to be rather astute in the transfer market – if he’d been given the money Jewell or Billy Davies was, no doubt the club would now be in a lot better shape than it currently is.

I still believe Nigel is a considerable asset. He desperately needs a win, but even three points on Saturday will only paper over the cracks.

Mr Glick is reportedly scheduled to appear on Radio Derby at 2pm on Saturday.  I won’t be listening, I’ll be on my way down to Pride Park.  To be honest, I’m sick of hearing his voice and until he announces that we’ve just signed a quality striker, I’d rather he kept quiet.

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1 Response to From Hooper to Kuqi (less Hulse) – A Striking Downgrade (pre-Crystal Palace, 25/9/10)

  1. bobbydriver says:

    The really scary thing is Ollie that we would have gone down last season if it hadn’t have been for Hulse’s goals (in fact probably the same can be said for the season before!)

    So to not have that type of quality striker in the team (let’s not kid ourselves about Porter and Davies – injured or not I don’t see either of them as the quality striker we need) we could well be doomed to relegation.

    For all our nice football we’ve played this season so far, it means nothing without the end product.

    We don’t just need to win on Saturday – we need to win emphatically (and then again on Tuesday)

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