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Derby County v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship

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Derby County: Relegation to League One isn’t something I’d wish on any club... take it from us!

Derby are the latest big club to drop into the third tier - the biggest since Sunderland, arguably. Here’s why, according to Paddy Hollis, they need to get out as soon as possible...

Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Derby County are one of the most iconic clubs in the football league, having been one of the twelve founding members.

The club has experienced a turbulent time of late, and a points deduction caused by entering administration pushed The Rams towards relegation to the third tier of English football.

The drop into League One had felt inevitable for some time, and this was finally confirmed with a 1-0 defeat to QPR on Easter Monday.

With a buyout waiting in the wings, the future is looking more promising for Derby, but it will likely get worse before it gets better.

Queens Park Rangers v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

This, primarily, is because they need to play in League One. Secondary to this is that the league which we have slogged it out in for what seems like years is incredibly difficult to get out of.

Fans who are hoping for a quick return to the Championship need to keep in mind that it isn’t as easy as they may think.

Derby will drop into League One and become one of the bigger clubs in the division. The club has regularly attracted large crowds, with all but one home game this season seeing a crowd over 20,000 people in Pride Park.

Although the ground has rarely been packed to the rafters this season in the Championship, the hardened numbers who have kept showing their support will be needed next season more than ever.

During our relegation from the second tier, we were ridiculed for our ‘tens of thousands of empty pink seats’. Yet only once did the attendance at the SoL during this dire campaign (one in which we won just three home games) drop below 25,000.

Reading v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

The low attendance rod is one that is used by fans of other clubs to beat relegation-threatened clubs with, usually by fans whose club hasn’t been run into the ground by careless owners or had freeloading players milking the club dry whilst putting in half-arsed performances.

Derby fans have probably had a lot of this, and unfortunately, you’ll have a lot more of it between now and, well, the next time you get promoted.

This is the case with Sunderland, and it’s something we’ve had from rival fans for five years now.

League One looks like it may improve in quality, given the teams who could be playing in the division next season, but the truth is this and I won’t mince my words.

It. Is. Grim.

Queens Park Rangers v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Shocking officiating, clubs trying to waste time from almost the word go and visiting players trying to give it the big ‘un in front of the biggest crowd many of them will ever play in front of.

These are three of the reasons why this league is a horrible one to be a part of.

You also might have fans of your local rivals turning up to games to sit with opposition fans (often in their club’s colours) and then explain that they aren’t obsessed with you, but that one might just be Newcastle United.

So, Derby County, there you have it. You’ve joined the fun factory that is Sky Bet League One.

There’s a big chance we will be kicking off as league rivals in August and if that happens, you’ll want to hope with all your heart that it’s the first and last time you start a season in League One.

If we don’t go up, the 2022/23 season will be our fifth consecutive campaign in the third tier. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.


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