When Mel Morris appointed former Real Madrid assistant manager, Paul Clement, at the start of the 2015/16 campaign, eyebrows were raised as to how he would cope in his first managerial job, at arguably one of the biggest clubs outside the Premier League.
Having failed to gain promotion in the previous two seasons under the stewardship of Steve McLaren, the new owner felt it was necessary for a change of approach. So he offered an opportunity to one of the finest young British coaches available.
Following the appointment, the owner, the head coach, academy director and a few other member of the football club staged a fans forum. Morris took it upon himself to visualise Clement as “Our own Sir Alex Ferguson” adding that if promotion is not achieved this season, there would be no added pressure on his job position.
Obviously something strong was placed in Mel’s cup of tea following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Fulham, that saw Derby’s winless run extend to 7 games, and controversially the end of Clement’s tenure as manager.
😳😳😳😳😳 what’s going on at Derby?!
— Robbie Savage (@RobbieSavage8) February 8, 2016
One thing no Derby fan expected from Morris was rash, money-based decisions, but in fact were convinced all choices were in the best interest of the fans and the club alike.
Clement was immediately under immense pressure, with over £25m being spent on “strengthening” the squad over the course of the two transfer windows.
Ironically, Morris said: “The average tenure for a head coach in football clubs is 18 months.” He also mentioned how Clement would be given time to build a squad together.
Yet following the sacking, the club released a statement (link) where Morris said: “The priorities were building on the Derby way and style of football enjoyed in the past two seasons; adding depth and strength to our playing squad; and, developing and improving player and team performance.”