35 or so minutes of highlights of the recent Fans Forum have been posted on Rams Player, out of a total two-hour programme of questions. Fortunately, however, our guest blogger was on hand to give his impressions of Sam Rush’s debut grilling.
I don’t want to be too negative about Sam Rush, as he’s clearly new to the job and the crowd were quite intimidating. The problem was that he clearly had a message he wanted to get across – that he was committed and driven to achieve success, the club are moving forward in a sensible and financially responsible way etc, etc – and in the face of an awful lot of inane questions, he kept reverting to the same message and never really answered any of the questions particularly well.
Rush is a waffler, with an annoying habit of starting a sentence, stopping and then starting another similar but slighty different sentence. As a result, he seemed to lack confidence when compared to Tom Glick, who always spoke in a very assured, direct manner.
At the start, he seemed very keen to make the point that he wasn’t a “former players’ agent” – explaining that representing 400 top name players was just a small part of what his old business used to do.
For a two-hour session, there wasn’t a great deal of interesting or revelatory stuff to report, but the highlights were: –
Financial Fair Play (FFP) – Rush seemed completely skeptical about it. He said that he didn’t think it was punitive enough and that the richer clubs would just gamble anyway. So basically, he said that he didn’t see it would really have the proposed effect – but then resorted to the standard Glick line that when it does kick in, Derby will be ideally placed etc
Stadium Naming Rights – Given how many times he steered the conversation towards this topic, it seemed pretty obvious that it’s something he’s got up his sleeve. The general concensus was one of apathy – who really gives a toss about the name Pride Park? [agreed, DCB]– so I suspect we’ll see some movement on this front.
When pressed as to how much a deal for stadium naming was worth, he stated six figures, not seven figures. Rush also said that it was harder to sell the naming rights on an established stadium name – Newcastle, for example – as people refuse to call it the new name. Chelsea have apparently not been able to negotiate the stadium naming rights on Stamford Bridge, despite trying for a long time.
Transfer Policy – A bit of a non-topic. ‘We will not sell on the cheap and if we do sell, we will screw the best deals out of the buyer.’ What else was he going to say?
Rush claimed that several Premier League teams were in for Michael Jacobs and that we did well to secure his signature. He tried to argue the point about lack of depth in the squad by saying that we had the core of the team out (naming Fielding, Bryson, Ward and Barker) yet were still playing well, winning and only three points off the play-offs.
Someone quite rightly asked why we weren’t investing to push on by signing a proven goal-scorer and another centre back, at which point, Rush floundered and started saying that it was down to Nigel, who seemed happy. He also suggested that Nigel might come to a future forum… which would be interesting.
Someone asked the foreign scouting question that I asked last time and Rush said, “yes, we do scout abroad” – so that’s either a guess or a change in policy [at a previous fan forum, Glick told our mole that we were not looking at players beyond the British Isles – DCB].
Ticketing – Given the ovation that the cup voucher scheme got [the idea of giving cup vouchers to season ticket holders – DCB], Rush pledged to look at that.
People were generally negative about the Digonex scheme and again, he said it would be reviewed. He seemed desperate to get attendance back up, but there was no acknowledgement that falling numbers are a national phenomenon this season.
We are definitely moving the away fans into the South West corner for next season.
Pride Plaza – Rush had this down as one of his topics to discuss, but we ran out of time and clearly no one really cared too much.
It was funny though because as I walked in late, Rush was chatting to Peter Gadsby in the foyer and said, “we’ve saved a seat for you at the front so you can talk about the Plaza scheme.” I bet he was thrilled that it got chopped!
Thanks to our guest blogger for his considered thoughts. Make sure to watch the Fans Forum highlights on Rams Player to make your own mind up on how Rush came across…. DCB