When Charlton parted company with Alan Curbishley, many believed it to be a decision which would push the club forward to another level after a number of seasons of finishing around the middle of the Premier League table.
However, it didn't quite work out that way as the club faced relegation firstly to the Championship, and then to League One under Iain Dowie, who had resigned from Crystal Palace in acrimonious circumstances, and Alan Pardew, a former Palace player.
It came as some surprise when Derby County announced that they had parted company with manager Nigel Clough after a 1-0 defeat to rivals Nottingham Forest, in order to "move Derby County to the next level."
Clough emulated his father, Brian, by taking the Derby County managerial job in January 2009, following ten years at Burton Albion. He led the Rams from the Championship relegation zone to finish in 18th position at the end of the 2008/09 season, and then mid-table finishes in the seasons following that.
With limited funds, Clough had managed to steer County clear of the relegation zone, slowly building a team in the hope of doing exactly what the board want, taking the club to another level. The squad has kept a young core, mixed with players in their prime; with highly rated teenager Will Hughes greatly impressing in midfield and the likes of John Brayford and Craig Bryson also performing well.
Brayford departed for Cardiff this summer, a move which struck a massive blow to the squad, with the right-back's talent being irreplaceable. Craig Forsyth and Johnny Russell were shrewd acquisitions as the former Burton manager continued to try and build a team with little financial support.
To an outsider, it feels that Derby's owners simply lost patience with playing the long game with Clough, and this appears to be symptomatic of the way football has become in the modern era. Progress must be made immediately, with clubs losing vast amounts of money in the Championship and lower leagues desperately chasing the dream of Premier League football and all the riches which encompass it.
The trouble with a desire for instant success is that it is seldom achieved. Leicester City spent millions of pounds last season in the hope of gaining promotion, but fell to defeat in the play-off semi final. Birmingham City also punched above their financial weight, employing several high earners.
Queens Park Rangers have acquired players for fees totalling in excess of £10m, despite being a Championship side. The all or nothing approach was successful for Cardiff, who were promoted to the Premier League last season, but all too often it seems to fail, with the most prominent example being Portsmouth.
Derby have taken a gamble, and the new incumbent at Pride Park will have to impress early on to win the backing of the fans and ease any potential disharmony amongst some who were happy with Clough in charge.
With little financial clout, the new manager will need to ensure a strong sense of unity amongst the squad if they are to take the club to the next level which is expected from the board.
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