Jump to content

Breakfast with Mel and no Bacon or Sausages!


David

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 750
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I just want to first explain the process of who was picked to go to Moor Farm for these sessions.

We first went to Moor Farm last year in the summer, I was approached by Mel to bring a group of members down for a tour and open session to clear the air talks after libellous posts were made on the forum. 

I was given a list of members, a couple of which were unable to attend for various reasons and was free to select replacements. To be honest I can only remember the reasons behind one replacement and that was Revildevil as he posted a Rupert Murdoch comparison which given the timing gave us a squeaky bum and was issued with a warning (which we removed after the meeting).

The day was a great success, it allowed us to clear the air of what is and isn't acceptable to post on the forum, turns out you can call Mel a **** all you like, just leave anything out that can be seen as libellous and damaging to the club or it's players, fair enough right? 

It seemed to go down well with members at the time and lifted the mood after recent events on the forum. I was also given an open invite to return in the future, although I didn't want to abuse that and ask to go down each month and I have had no other contact since that first meeting apart from thanking him for his words on Radio Derby about the forum. 

Fast forward to roughly 2 weeks ago Mel contacted me to remind me of the open invite, we agreed the date (yesterday) and I was allowed to pick 9 members, all Mel asked was for 3 positive, 3 neutral and 3 critical members for a balanced debate and banter. 

Only 3 of us that went last year went down yesterday, myself, Boycie and Alpha. If you believe there is a clique then it only has 3 in it and we have moderators that are still yet to even be invited.

I spoke with my other half Boycie and 6 other members were chosen and another mod Ambitious who for me fell into the critical of us at the time category, I'm not going to call out who I saw as the other critical members but Ambitious was very much in the Clement out group.

The 6 members I have never met before or had any online dating experiences with.

They were all simply regular members that have contributed to the forum and I felt would be able to hold a discussion with Mel on the day.

A couple I initially invited couldn't make it as they were under the thumb being Valentines weekend, again, not members I have met or had any real contact with.

After choosing the members and creating a range of views Mel decided he would make things even more entertaining by sacking Clement, we ended up with really critical members now that didn't hold back on the day.

I want to also squash the myth now that you have to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, like my posts on this forum, donate or feed me grapes whilst fanning my ego for an invite. 

It's also not true that if I don't like your posts on the forum or have any disagreements you wouldn't be chosen. Eddie went who I had loads of issues with when he first joined as he liked to call other members ***** on a regular basis, I may have agreed at the time but it didn't fit in with the forum I wanted to create and was banned temporary at one point. 

I would be able to pick a different 10 members every day for a week that I would take down there, we really do have a great group of regular members, honestly it's so hard trying to get that balance right, would be so easy to just pick the members that make me laugh and I get on with but it wouldn't make for a great discussion.

Just want to finish this post with I know some of you will see this as being nothing more than a PR brainwash job on us and those that return will have Mel's faeces on our noses and think we're something special and that's ok, free to believe what you want but I hope others also are interested in what the members have to say and will appreciate their opinions on what was said. 

I mentioned it last night but I'm still yet to talk to the guys that went, the plan was a pint in the Kings Corner after to have a chat, some stayed but I had to neck my pint quickly and go as the missus was kicking off that we had to be at the ground for 1pm as we won hospitality tickets on Twitter.

Another myth to squash is that Mel told Just Eat who to pick or that I have any kind of deal with Just Eat, if I was chosen because of my bio and they were hoping for free advertising, sorry but thanks! Was great seats, the missus loved the duck, shame the football had to ruin the day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now the bits I can remember about Moor Farm itself, we was there for 3 hours, left at 12.30pm which if you stop and think, a chairman giving fans 3 hours of his time on matchday and a new manager?

Can you see Fawaz doing that? 

If you think what we're all going to say is PR, covering up the truth, not being honest or whatever, you have to give him credit at least for allowing the fans access like that. 

Having been down before I have seen most of it and not much has changed, the War room is still there and it really is called the War Room on the door sign.

They are in the process of replacing the photos on the corridor walls with 42" screens replaying us at our best as a constant reminder for the players. Not much to choose from really so Thornes goal v Man Utd features heavily.

We went into the crocked room where Hughes and Forsyth were having their knees rubbed with some yellow stuff, young Will has a very firm handshake which I wasn't expecting.

He's been kicking a ball for around a month now I think he said and now doing a little running but straight line stuff only, no turns.

Forsyth didn't say much but I think the occasion got to him and was a little starstruck.

We was taken into the analysis room where Rory Delap and some other bloke (sorry) showed us the technology they have to analysis games, it's basically the Monday Night Football screen with every camera angle you can imagine, sure I heard that they could basically stick a camera on any players head so when the keeper says he couldn't see it....erm you could as we can see here. Didn't get to see everything as I was stood at the back with Boycie who was playing the role of Asian tourist with his camera out. Pretty pissed off he didn't ask for a selfie with me but anyhow.

The canteen is now laid out differently, long tables and more seating than last time, the tea lady even joined us towards the end to talk to us. She was asked without prior prompting what the mood was like around the place and seemed really genuine when saying it's been really upbeat this week, told us how she knows when to and not to approach the players and how she's a bit of a mother figure, takes pride in watching the players grow up, seen Lee Grant since he was 8 or 9.

When Mel was asked about the Moor Farm plans being rejected, I can't remember exactly what he said apart from if they can't get the plans approved and they don't feel like they can build Moor Farm into what they want then they will look at moving. The academy is really important to Mel, something he really wants to see up there with the best in the country.

Zanzala and Lowe were mentioned as the next big things for us, Zanzala is a beast apparently and not sure how he hasn't been involved with the squad yet, srg even started drooling at one point when talking about him. 

Not much more to say about the place, there wasn't a tour this time, plenty of youth players were walking around as there was a game on, one had some weird cyborg thing on his leg. 

Mel agreed something had to be done about the dodgy haircuts with the younger players. 

Me and Mozza also used the ladies toilets, not together, I went first. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I specifically asked Mel around his style of ownership on the club, constantly being in the public eye and that it seemed like he was pushing Sam aside on areas he should be dealing with. I then finished the user ion by saying I don't think this approach is concussive to a successful football club because it means more incidences come out in the press negatively, I.e the changing room incident. This was exactly how I phrased the question to Mel.

Mels response was along the lines that he didn't enjoy the media exposure. He does decline a number of interview requests (4/5 he quoted) but he felt whilst the club was going through this change period (not the Clement sacking but his takeover) that he feels it is a necessary requirement to be more in the order to get the picture of the club over. He said he talked to Steve Gibson about this a few weeks ago (I mentioned Boro as an example of a club that were well run without interference) and Gibson said to him that he felt the need during the first couple of years to have more public exposure. Longer term he does intend to pass more responsibilities back to Sam. 

My view - he answered the question honestly. I still disagree with his viewpoint but he answered it. Can't ask for more than that.

i asked Sam Rush to clear up his ownership of the club and I asked Stephen Pearce to clarify a comment made at the fans forum.

Sam stated he does have an ownership of the club. (Me - I think it's in the region of 3-5%). Mel later said that he has given more ownership to Sam since his takeover. Stephen Pearce clarified that the insurance on players covered salaries only. This was what I assumed but Stephen said during the fans forum that the 'Insurance allowed us to go out and get more players'. 

I also asked Mel around the 5-year contract Sam has.

Answer - the five year contract Sam has means if Sam wants to leave he has to pay it off, or likewise if we want to get rid of Sam we need to pay it off. On the basis that I tick he is on £400k plus (A number I have pulled from the highest paid director on company accounts) this would suggest Sam has a £2 million buy out. I feel more secure knowing this now because I personally applauded the role Sam has done in the past and should be doing more of now.

Other points I can remember.

- Clement - there was just a difference of opinion about where Mel wanted the club to go and where Paul was taking it. That combined with the football on the pitch contributed towards his departure.

- Pascal Z - Mel said he rated this guy a huge amount.

- Future business plans - they have three plan so in the offering and they have begun. 1) stay down, 2) go up but if they go up and are lucky to do so and 3) go up playing attractive football. He said during the last one their budget on new players was around £45-£55m split over 3/4 players. He said number 2 is a risk because they could well come back down and have costs they cannot sustain. I don't think he said anything on business plan number one.

 

The others will cover other areas. I think it's fair to say I was one of the more critical ones there and asked harder questions of Mel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few points that I can remember which have not already been covered:-

£25m seemed to be accepted as the figure we have spent on players this season.

They believe our wage bill to be 5th or 6th highest in the division.

5 managers have approached us about the managerial position, some are managers currently in work. Pearson was the only one he confirmed. We are currently not discussing the job with anyone as Wassall is going to be given a chance.

Wassall said his phone is permanently ringing with people wanting a position at Derby.

Rush made a reference to fans leaving early.

 

Morris made it clear the sacking was not a knee jerk reaction and that numerous meetings had been held with Clement to ask him to address the playing style.

Morris confirmed the dressing room 'incident' but said the rant was at the whole group, rather than individual players.

Chris Baird has since texted Morris to apologise to him and the fans and said they realise it is not acceptable. 

Morris did take offence when one of the group told him he should not have done it!

Morris mentioned on several occasions that he believes Zanzala should be in the matchday squad.

Next pre season tour will be in Austria where first team/academy teams will be mixed up to give all players a chance to impress.

Will post up more later if I think of anything.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First thing - I'm deaf, and although I have new hearing aids, I still have trouble - and even if I do hear something clearly, in my own mind I'm now no longer sure whether or not I have misheard. Because of my own self-doubt, I very nearly pulled out of the trip at the last minute. I'm glad I didn't.

I opened the brekky Q&A session on what I hoped would be a light note, but one which seems to be winding fans up as much, if not more, than the appointment of Darren Wassall in the managerial hot-seat - what is "The Derby Way?"

Fans seem to already have their own preconceived interpretation of this - is it a style of football, i.e. the fast, open, attacking, quick passing style that we saw under McClaren - and Mel seemed to be suggesting that yes, that was part of it, but it was really about having a club that was both stable and sustainable from top to bottom. Any change in management will lead inevitably to other changes within the club, but just how big a change will largely depend upon whether the manager has bought in to the framework from the word go. Clement's approach seemed to be to target promotion as an end in itself, whereas Mel was taking a more long-term approach, i.e. with the sustainable approach, if everything else is right then promoton would be an inevitable result.

I got the impression that Mel is still very much haunted by the Billy Davies era - an almost accidental promotion built upon results and a house built on sand, the result of which eventually set the club back years. I also got the impression that the appointment of Darren Wassall as first team coach is largely because the Academy is seen by Mel as part of that 'stability and sustainability', and that Wassall is part of that because he is inexorably linked with the Academy. Is this because he can be 'moulded' to fit the rest of the requirement, i.e. the style of football? By all accounts the U21s are good to watch, but wasn't that because all teams at Derby were supposed to play in the same manner so that players wouldn't find it a great sea change moving from one level to the next, and that was something that was brought about several years ago?

It's funny that you think about the best questions after the event. Mel's ideal candidate for the sustainable approach with entertaining football is basically a combination of the pragmatic Nigel Clough and a gung-ho Steve McClaren. Would this be a definition of 'The Derby Way'? 24 hours later, I'm still none the wiser.

On the related issue of a Wassall and a new permanent manager, did Mel say that Darren would be part of the consultation process or am I making this up?

The Academy is central to everything, and the decision by Erewash Council to change their minds over their decision to approve Derby's plans for the expansion was described as a 'big blow' by Mel. I think he said that if ultimately the expansion was not approved, the club would be prepared to up sticks and move the Academy to a completely different location.

There was some talk about the seeming inability for Academy players to stake a claim for the first team. When Clough was here, out of necessity there were players who did cross the divide. Was Clement even aware of the existence of players like Zanzala? I think Mel said that this year's pre-season would be to Austria, and that there would be more games, and that players (First team, U21s etc) would all get similar amounts of playing time. This certainly didn't seem to happen from what I saw of the Holland tour last year.

Mel said that he has a huge amount of admiration for the way that Bournemouth have gone about thngs - basically they have a 'tight' squad with the kind of 'togetherness' that we had under the early McClaren days. I got the distinct impression that he thinks that the squad we have now is bloated beyond recognition. Regretting authorising some of the purchases, perhaps?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to answer your questions Eddie, yes he did say Wassall would be part of the consultation process in appointing a new manager.

And yes we are also off to Austria in pre season, each day there will be 4 games and they are taking all the first team, U21's and U18's with them.

2 games will be a mix of first team with U21's and another 2 games with a mix of U21's with U18's. 

This was Mel's idea and that if a new manager was to come in he would need to buy into this idea as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Daveo said:

Just to answer your questions Eddie, yes he did say Wassall would be part of the consultation process in appointing a new manager.

And yes we are also off to Austria in pre season, each day there will be 4 games and they are taking all the first team, U21's and U18's with them.

2 games will be a mix of first team with U21's and another 2 games with a mix of U21's with U18's. 

This was Mel's idea and that if a new manager was to come in he would need to buy into this idea as well.

Something he and Wassall came up with I think

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Morris when questioned about the wisdom of spending money, even though he was losing faith in Clement, said that he has always operated a 'no excuses' policy. Basically if his manager asks him for money he gets it. Also said he thought fans would see it as a lack of ambition of he didn't. He also made it clear that he will always publicly back his manager and give him full support right until the end.

Stephen Pearson clarified the 'injury insurance' we have in place only covers wages and not the transfer fees as some had believed.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mostyn's report of Breakfast:

Firstly, I was very grateful to be invited. As someone who has experienced many years of disagreement with other forum posters, it's always something I welcome, a face to face discussion.

I'd never met any of the other 9 forum members previous, and was surprised at how young most were, and how shy and bashful Daveo seems.

Upon arriving, Mel Morris met us in reception, where we all shook his hand and introduced ourselves, using real names, not forum names. Mel guided us down the corridor, whilst introducing us to his Derby Way, the corridor itself. Which starts at academy and progresses through to 1st team. 

We were invited into the treatment room where Will Hughes and Craig Forsyth were having their knees massaged. Will Hughes seemed more sociable, possibly as he's nearer to resuming his career than Forsyth. But both were receptive and smiling. I asked Hughes when he'd start kicking a ball, he responded that he already was. I think he added that he'll start with the twisting and turning soon, but it's a slow process and he's looking forward to it. I quite sycophantically told him he was missed, then we left the room.

The next few rooms were admin and tactic (WAR) rooms. One room just looked like a classroom, for IT lessons, desks with computers on, and flipcharts with MK Dons data on. Rory Delap was at a desk with the Under 21 analyst where they were reviewing West Ham under 21s, and editing the videos like Gary Neville used to do on Sky. Circles, Lines and Arrows everywhere. We were given a brief overview of how it was presented to the academy kids, and jokes were made that the kids were better on the computers than the analysts and coaches!

We then went in to the 'Bistro', which was just like a staff canteen, Mel pointed us to a table, where his son and step-son were sitting watching Sky Sports news, and told us to help ourselves to breakfast and then sit down at that table. It was a buffet, pick a plate, and walk along, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans... but hang on... where the bloody hell is the pig product? No bacon or sausage!! Anyone who thinks Mel bought me off with breakfast is very mistaken! It requires bacon to do that!

So, we are all eating breakfast and Mel, straight off the block says "I can tell you all now, I have never interfered with team selections", It appeared to me that if not hurt by the insinuations, he was clearly offended and annoyed. It took a while for people to pluck up courage to say anything, but Eddie took the initiative to ask for a clear definition of what the "Derby Way" was. As has been mentioned, it is not just what happens on the pitch. It is about a mentality, and a clear focus from kids to the first team, which MUST be sustainable. Mel pointed out that it's crazy to bring managers in with differing views on style, that then require an overhaul of playing staff each time. He wanted Derby to be one of the clubs, like Southampton or Swansea, where there is almost seamless transition.

(to be continued...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, G STAR RAM said:

Did Morris say that Rush had not been in the media regarding the Clement sacking because they say he was treated after the NC sacking had left him and his family scarred or did I dream that bit up?

He did say that. The FD is called Stephen Pearce as well, although I you can be forgiven for remembering a Derby legend haha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will share my day with you , tho i will not discuss the conversations that took place (others are doing a fine job of that ). I was first to arrive at the pub car park around 8:50am , the other members started trickling in over the next half hour . We 'car shared' to Moor Farm . Security let us through after verifying who we were . Mel greeted us at reception , then took us through the complex . We sort of 'intruded' on Will Hughes and Craig Forsyth , as they were on the treatment tables receiving minor treatment , they welcomed us . Several room visits later we stumbled across the canteen , this is where Mel said we could 'grill' him (not sure if this was a pun) Mel commented that the black pudding is highly recommended. I/we were somewhat surprised that there was no bacon or sausage on display (it being a Full English , remember) but more than happy with beans , tomatoes , egg , mushroom , black pudding , toast etc. The meeting itself took place whilst we were eating ,  in a very relaxed atmosphere.  Mel's son and step son were present and seemed friendly . As i said earlier , i have no wish to discuss what was said at the table (partly because i'm a bit deaf ) i do know there was no real earth shattering news that would make headlines , even in the DET . I would like my fellow posters on here to respect the fact that Mel is giving us the chance to discuss things , in person with him . I would hate to jeopardise this arrangement for future events such as this , bearing in mind you could be invited to attend  in the not to distant future . Mel is open to any questions you are prepared to ask. We , as a forum don't want to lose this opportunity of getting an insight as to how things are run at our beloved club . I can't thank all concerned enough for giving me this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity ..  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, G STAR RAM said:

Did Morris say that Rush had not been in the media regarding the Clement sacking because they say he was treated after the NC sacking had left him and his family scarred or did I dream that bit up?

I thought he said he made the decision to come back from his holiday as he felt Rush got hammered by the Derby fans for sacking Clough and felt it unfair.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Mostyn6 said:

I thought he said he made the decision to come back from his holiday as he felt Rush got hammered by the Derby fans for sacking Clough and felt it unfair.

Yes, he said this, and the bit about family being scarred was about Rush's family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flew back on Tuesday from holiday to face the media and explain the reasons behind the sacking, didn't want to shy away. I think it was the communications guy that said it would have been easier to just blame it on results, 7 without a win and you're out but he wanted to be honest. Declined loads of interview requests including Sky Sports, used the local media and BBC only.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, G STAR RAM said:

No word from Ambitious, any truth in the rumour that he has been grounded for not giving his mum a goodbye kiss?!

maybe he managed to fix her up with Mel and is currently driving around in that nice little Maclaren car.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, Mostyn6 said:

I thought he said he made the decision to come back from his holiday as he felt Rush got hammered by the Derby fans for sacking Clough and felt it unfair.

Yes, I got the impression that Mel felt that as the sacking of Clement was his decision, he felt obliged to deal with the fallout himself as opposed to anybody else having to do his dirty work. People have used Sam's absence from the front line as something else to beat Mel with, but I think that the intentions were honest and laudable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...