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Derby County 1-0 Hull City: Home fans chant ‘F**k the EFL’ as Matthew Clarke’s header secures win

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Derby County 1-0 Hull City: Home fans chant ‘F**k the EFL’ following Financial Fair Play charge as Matthew Clarke’s header secures win for the Rams

  • Derby were charged with breaching the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules
  • Owner Mel Morris is accused of using another company to buy Pride Park
  • On the field, Wayne Rooney shone as Matthew Clarke scored the only goal

There is nothing quite like an EFL charge for an alleged breach of financial fairplay rules to really galvanise a fanbase. It almost didn’t matter that Matthew Clarke’s header gave Derby an ultimately deserved win over Hull for this was a time to stick it to the powers that be. 

Indeed, 20 seconds was all it took for the home supporters to air their thoughts after the club was this week charged with breaching the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules. 

‘F**k the EFL,’ they sang. Whether they like it or not these are uncertain times for Derby. 

Matthew Clarke’s header gave Derby a deserved win over Hull at Pride Park on Saturday

Clarke headed into an empty net after George Long raced out of the goal to win the match

Clarke headed into an empty net after George Long raced out of the goal to win the match

MATCH FACTS 

Derby (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Bogle, Wisdom, Clarke, Lowe; Huddlestone, Holmes; Knight, Rooney, Lawrence; Waghorn

Subs not used: Roos, Forsyth, Martin, Davies, Sibley, Bird, Whittaker

Scorer: Clarke 64

Booked: Wisdom, Knight, Lawrence

Manager: Phillip Cocu

Hull (4-2-3-1): Long; Lichaj, Burke, Tafazolli, Elder; da Silva Lopes, Irvine (Honeyman 71); Bowen, Kane, Bowler (Samuelsen 62); Magennis (Wilks 71)

Subs not used: Ingram, Batty, Eaves, Pennington

Scorer: N/A

Booked: N/A

Manager: Grant McCann

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 27,412

The allegation is that Derby owner Mel Morris used another one of his companies to buy Pride Park, the club’s stadium, for an overvalued £81.1million to enable Derby to turn a profit of around £14m and avoid sanctions for breaking the rules – Championship clubs cannot incur in excess of £39m over any three-year period. 

An independent valuation of the stadium commissioned by the EFL was £32m lower than the club’s figure – a number that would have seen them make a loss. 

Unsurprisingly, Derby have been bullish, insisting that the EFL’s charge is ‘unlawful’, and they will challenge a possible 21-point deduction should it come to that.

Indeed, the club’s fanbase wholeheartedly agree. ‘Mel Morris, he does what he wants,’ was belted out before fans in the South Stand called on Morris to give them a wave, which he happily did. 

Manager Phillip Cocu said: ‘It confirms the connection between the fans, the club and the team and shows it is very positive and we stand with each other and protect each other. We don’t like it when somebody touches the club in this way.’

Back on the pitch, Derby were controlling play well but with little to show for it in the opening stages. Wayne Rooney was pushed into a more attacking position behind Martyn Waghorn and in between Jason Knight and Tom Lawrence. 

There was a rare moment of embarrassment for Rooney when he miscued a shot, sending the ball back over to the corner flag from where it came and nowhere near visiting goalkeeper George Long’s net.

Much like Jarrod Bowen, the man Hull are so desperate to keep, when he had time in the Derby area to pick his spot after a fine ball from Herbie Kane on the right but shot wide. Bowen was on the ground rubbing his left thigh shortly afterwards following a collision with Tom Huddlestone. 

Wayne Rooney was characteristically tireless and showcased his talent throughout the game

Wayne Rooney was characteristically tireless and showcased his talent throughout the game

While Bowen got up without much fuss, the situation was a little different when Josh Bowler appeared to twist his knee after trying to trap the ball under his left foot. 

He eventually got back to his feet and returned to his position on the left of Hull’s attack which had largely struggled to put any sort of pressure on Derby’s back four.

There wasn’t much troubling Hull’s defence either. Rooney was characteristically tireless and at one point sprinted back to his own half to retrieve the ball. 

The pass forward was intercepted but the Derby supporters appreciated his effort. Towards the end of the first half, Rooney appeared to join Waghorn in a two-man attack. 

Even at 34, Rooney is still able to showcase his talent. First he sold Eric Lichaj a dummy to set up Waghorn whose shot was tame and then knocked the ball past Jackson Irvine as though he wasn’t there. 

In retaliation, Irvine hacked England’s all-time goal scorer down outside the Hull box but Rooney sent the resulting free-kick into the wall.

Ultimately, the match's key moment would come courtesy of a mistake by Long

Ultimately, the match’s key moment would come courtesy of a mistake by Long

It reflected Derby’s overall play quite well: get themselves into decent position only to fluff their lines whenever a big opportunity presented itself. 

Again they moved forward with purpose with some 30 minutes to play only for yet another move to break down. 

Rooney dispatched a sharp ball out to the left as Derby drove deep into the Hull half. 

Lawrence controlled the ball on the left but his cross was about two yards further back than intended and possession was lost once more. 

Ultimately, the match’s key moment would come courtesy of a mistake by Long. He charged off his line to intercept Lawrence’s corner but Clarke got ahead of him and had the simple task of heading into an open net. 

This was Derby's day at a time when they feel everything is going against them

This was Derby’s day at a time when they feel everything is going against them

‘It was unacceptable,’ said Hull boss Grant McCann. Another rendition of ‘f**k the EFL’ came as Derby’s players celebrated and this time was delivered with more gusto than before.

The goal did spur Hull on to an extent with Clarke having to be alert to go to ground and courageously block Herbie Kane’s powerful effort.

On Hull’s behalf, this was a timid display that lacked joined up thinking and any real invention. 

As the minutes ticked down, it was up to their fans to pipe up with ‘going down, going down,’ a nod to a possible points deduction that would consign Derby to the bottom of the table.

But this was Derby’s day at a time when they feel everything is going against them. 

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