Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Faded sluggers Derby cling to survival in football’s great pyramid scheme

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Wayne Rooney basked in relief after his Derby team stayed up via a desperate 3-3 draw against a Sheffield Wednesday side laid low by boardroom chaos 

Fittingly, nobody won. Even for Derby, there would be no crowning glory, no moment of triumph and precious little dignity. Certainly, Wayne Rooney had the decorum and sense of place not to go charging across the turf as if his side had finished any higher than 21st. Instead, vaguely abashed relief and very probably an urge to go and lie down in a dark room for several hours. 

On a day of high drama and occasionally high farce, it was Derby who staggered to safety, pipping Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham despite conceding three goals at home in a must-win game. 

No heartwarming triumph here, no satisfying redemption stories; just a parable of the bad and the worse, a snapshot of English football in 2021 that, if anything, tells you more about the state of the game than any “big six” hype-fest. 

For Derby and Sheffield Wednesday . . . 

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