Derby County will be looking for their eighth permanent manager in just under six years after it was confirmed that Frank Lampard would rejoin Chelsea replacing Maurizio Sarri on a three-year deal. Lampard has only been in management for the past year but managed to guide The Rams to a play-off final – losing to Aston Villa 2-1. The last manager to be at the club for over 100 matches was Nigel Clough who took charge for 233 matches over a four year spell which ended in 2013. Since then, the club have been involved in four playoff campaigns but have been cycling through managers during this time at a rapid rate.
In some ways that puts into perspective Lampard’s achievements at the Midlands club – or lack thereof. He’s managed the same feat as three others – Steve McClaren, Darren Wassall and Gary Rowett. The 41-year-old won 26 of his 57 matches in charge meaning he recorded a win percentage of 45.6% during his time in charge – slightly less than McClaren (45.83%) and slightly more than Paul Clement (42.42%). It suggests that Lampard didn’t do anything out of the ordinary at Derby as they endured a second playoff final defeat since 2014. It’s almost as if fans are used to being one step away from the Premier League – a division they have only competed in once in 17 years. That infamous side of 2007/08 was branded the ‘worst-ever’ team to play in England’s top-flight having recorded just one win and 11 points all season.
Lampard was also able to call on his former (now, new) club for a number of their young stars. Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori both joined the club on season-long loans and both were arguably Derby’s best players. Mount scored 11 goals and assisted four in 44 appearances – playing a vital role in Derby’s stunning comeback against Leeds United in the playoff semi-final. Derby ended the season with the joint-sixth best defensive record having recorded 11 clean sheets in which Tomori played a vital part. The 21-year-old played 55 matches for The Rams last season averaging 3.9 clearances and 2.3 tackles per game. Would Derby have even made the playoffs without this duo? They only just sneaked into the final spot by a point after beating fellow playoff hopefuls West Brom 3-1 on the final day.
I think recent history suggests that most managers who enter the helm at Pride Park have the side competing at the right end of the table – in seven straight seasons their worst finish has been 10th place which was in 2013. That also includes four playoff runs in that time. They are in need of someone who can take them to that next stage by actually winning promotion to the Premier League – the last man to do that was Billy Davies who hasn’t been seen since his sacking by Nottingham Forest in 2014.