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McFarland was sacked a year later after Derby missed out on the playoffs, and his replacement was Jim Smith — a manager whose track record at his previous clubs included four promotions and an FA Cup semi-final appearance.
Smith guided the Rams to a second-place finish and the Premier League , now the top flight of English football. During that season, it was announced Derby would be leaving the Baseball Ground after more than years to move into a new all-seater stadium, following earlier plans to develop the Baseball Ground as a 26,seat stadium.
After finishing in 12th place in their first season back into the top flight, the club left the Baseball Ground, its home of years, to move into the new 33,seat Pride Park Stadium for the —98 season.
The Baseball Ground was demolished six years later and a memorial was eventually erected in memory of its role in Derby city history.
The club settled well into its new home as it recorded back-to-back top-ten finishes for the first time since their s peak, before a sudden decline at the turn of the millennium saw three years of struggle.
Smith resigned to be replaced by former players Colin Todd , who lasted just three months, and John Gregory before the Rams were relegated after a six-year stay in the top flight, in Derby County's relegation saw the club enter a serious financial crisis, which forced them to sell many key players.
Gregory was later suspended from his managerial duties over alleged misconduct and former Ipswich Town boss George Burley was brought in.
After finishing 20th in the —04 season , a dramatic improvement in the —05 season saw Derby finish fourth in the Championship , qualifying for a promotion play-off spot, though they lost in the semi-finals to Preston North End.
Soon afterwards, Burley resigned citing differences between himself and the board. He was replaced by Bolton Wanderers first team coach Phil Brown.
In January , Brown was sacked after a poor run of results. Terry Westley, the academy coach at the time, took over first team duties until the end of the season and saved Derby from relegation.
In April , a consortium of local businessmen led by former vice-chairman Peter Gadsby purchased the club, reducing its debt and returning Pride Park Stadium to the club's ownership in the process.
In October , Peter Gadsby stepped down as chairman to be replaced by former Hull City owner Adam Pearson , who immediately began searching for investment from overseas.
In January , Derby was taken over by an international investment group led by General Sports and Entertainment, with Pearson remaining as de facto chairman.
Derby's match at home to Sheffield United on 13 September generated much media coverage as it was approaching a year since Derby's last league win, a run which saw the club break the English league record for most matches without a win.
Just four days short of the anniversary of the 1—0 victory over Newcastle United , Rob Hulse scored against his former club as Derby ran out 2—1 winners, earning Paul Jewell his first league win as Derby boss at his 27th attempt.
Despite taking the club to the League Cup semi-final, the club's first major cup semi-final since , where Derby lost 4—3 to Manchester United over two legs, Jewell resigned as manager in December after a run of just 2 wins in 11 matches.
Nigel Clough led the club to 18th place and safety. After two seasons that saw the club finish in the bottom half of the table, Derby finished the two subsequent seasons in 12th and 10th place.
Clough was replaced by Steve McClaren in September ; McClaren led the club to a 3rd-place finish in the —14 Championship season , but lost the play-off final to Queens Park Rangers.
Derby failed to finish in the play-offs the following season, which saw McClaren sacked as local-businessman Mel Morris assumed control.
Morris oversaw a level of spending unprecedented in Derby's history over the following three years, breaking the clubs transfer record four times, but also saw an unprecedented managerial turnover as went through six managers between June and May In this three-season period, Derby qualified for the play-offs twice, but failed to get past the semi-finals on both occasions.
Like most old football clubs, Derby County did not initially have any badge displayed on their shirts. Their first badge was introduced in The badge consisted of a circular shield split into three equally sized sections, representing the club, its fans and the area, all containing items traditionally associated with the city of Derby: The badge was worn on the players' shirts for just two seasons before they reverted to plain shirts.
By , another badge had been introduced. This time it was a traditionally shaped shield, again with three sections. The buck in the park had been removed and the rose and the crown had been split up and now occupied a section each.
The ram's head also remained and was now given the largest section of the shield. The badge never appeared on the players' shirts.
The shield was modified in when the rose and crown were removed and replaced with the letters "DC" Derby County and "FC" Football Club respectively.
The badge, right, was featured on to the player's shirts from its introduction onwards, though the ram's head on its own was used from the late s the full shield, however, remained the club's official logo.
A new club badge was introduced in , featuring a more modern design that, with modifications, is still in use.
The badge was initially consisted of a stylised white ram facing left. The badge was first modified slightly in to include the text "Derby County FC" under the ram though the ram remained on its own on away kits.
In , the ram turned to face to the right and the text under it was removed. The ram was surrounded by a wreath of laurel and the text "Centenary —" was printed underneath for the club's centenary season.
The laurel was removed and the text reading "Derby County FC" returned from the next season. In , the ram faced left again and the text was removed once more.
From , the ram faced right and was enclosed in a diamond, with a gold banner reading "Derby County FC" underneath and the text "" the year of the club's foundation underneath that.
The design was changed again in see left: A decade later, in , the badge was modified again with the ram still facing left and the text "Est.
In July , the club announced its intention to show only the iconic ram on future shirts, rather than the full club logo. In July , this traditional ram became the club's full logo again.
Derby County's original colours right were amber, chocolate and blue, though by the s the club had adopted its now traditional colours of black and white, which are still in use today.
In the s and s, colours for home matches were white shirts with small blue or red touches on the club badge or shirt makers insignia , blue shorts and socks that were blue, red, white or a combination of the three.
Similar in design to the club's away kit of the s, with blue and white stripes and reminiscent of the Argentina national team strip, the style was re-introduced following feedback from fans who said it was one of their favourite kits from the club's past.
Derby's mascot is a ram named Rammie. Rammie is a full-time employee of the club who also works to maintain the club's links with fans and the East Midlands in general, such as school visits to promote literacy and charity events.
Rammie was the first full-time mascot in British football. Rammie is a very popular figure amongst Rams fans   and, in , released his first DVD, which features the character reading from Aesop's Fables in the Derbyshire countryside.
Shortly thereafter, Rammie was joined by a female equivalent, named Eweie. However, Eweie did not last very long at Pride Park, and took a reported "vacation" to the United States.
She returned from a ten-year exile on 3 October at a home match against Brentford. Although the ground itself was good enough to hold the first FA Cup final match outside London , when Blackburn Rovers beat West Bromwich Albion 2—0 in the FA Cup final replay  and a full England international , disputes over fixture clashed between the football and cricket clubs meant that when the opportunity to play at Sir Francis Ley's Baseball Ground arose, the club accepted.
Commonly referred to amongst supporters as "the BBG", the club moved to the Baseball Ground in and remained there for the next years, despite opportunities to move in the s and s.
Following the Taylor Report in , and the legal requirement for all seater stadia, the ground's capacity dwindled to just 18, by the mids, not enough for the then ambitious second tier club.
Despite initially hoping to rebuild the Baseball Ground to hold 26, spectators, and rejecting the offer of two sites elsewhere in Derby, then-chairman Lionel Pickering announced in February the intention to move to a new, purpose built stadium at the newly regenerated Pride Park , with the last ever first team game at the Baseball Ground being in May , a 1—3 home defeat to Arsenal , though it continued to host reserve matches until Derby's new ground, named Pride Park Stadium , was officially opened by the Queen on 18 July with a friendly against Italian club Sampdoria following on 4 August.
Derby hold the unique distinction of being the only club to have had three home grounds host full England internationals.
Derby is often acknowledged as a "passionate football town" by rival supporters  and the press alike. Even in Division Two, it's a reasonable bet that crowds at Pride Park would not fall far below 20, It's historical, it's geographical, it's in the blood.
Some places have it, some don't. The recognition included them being named fans of the season in much national coverage of the season, winning an award from Nuts magazine ,  and being named the most loyal supporters in the country in a survey by Sky Sports Magazine.
Statistically, the club had the 12th-highest average attendance in the country in the —08 season,  —09,  and —10 seasons,  despite only having the 15th-largest club ground and finishing 18th or lower in their respective division.
In —09, they were the best supported club in the Championship, with a larger average attendance than nine Premier League clubs, and had the Football Leagues' single largest league match attendance, with 33, against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 13 April Derby's primary rival clubs are Nottingham Forest , Leicester City and Leeds United ,  with Forest, based in Nottingham , 14 miles east of Derby, being by far the fiercest rivals; a survey named the rivalry the 11th-largest in English football, revealing that nine out of ten fans from both clubs point to the other as their fiercest rival.
The rivalry as a whole largely developed from the s, due to former Derby manager Brian Clough taking over at Forest, much to the anger of the Derby fans.
In fact, some commentators have described the rivalry to be as much about which club owns Clough's heart as much as the proximity of the clubs geographically.
The rivalry with Leicester City stems largely from geographical location rather than any shared history. Leeds United are disliked due to ongoing friction from the early s when Derby and Leeds were two of the top English teams and the scarcely concealed hostility between their respective managers, Brian Clough and Don Revie.
This rivalry is stronger on Derby's side: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
The Football League Legends is a list of " legendary football players" produced by The Football League in , to celebrate the th season of League football.
Eight former Derby players made the list. Derby County's Player of the Season award is voted for by the clubs supporters and named in honour of Jackie Stamps , who scored two goals in Derby's sole FA Cup final victory in It was first introduced in the —69 season.
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