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Derby County’s promotion emotion – a £55m gesture, a fitting farewell and what happened to Ebou Adams

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A raucous Pride Park saw Derby County’s promotion back to the Championship after a 2-0 victory over Carlisle thanks to goals from Max Bird and James Collins.

Paul Warne’s team flew quickly out of the blocks, needed only a point to take second place, and inside the fifth minute they took the lead thanks to a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing shot that sailed just wide.

He received the ball in the inside right channel from Kane Wilson, opened up his body, and unleashed a fantastic shot that soared beyond Harry Lewis. That raised Pride Park’s ceiling and was a great way to allay any pre-match jitters, but eventually the visitors started to pose a threat.

In addition, United had penalty requests for handball turned down by the referee, and Curtis Nelson had to make a fantastic block on the edge of the box. Georgie Kelly saw his header deflected over the bar, and Adams thought he had given Derby some breathing room with an incredible volley, only to have it flagged out for offside.

After the break, James Collins had a chance to give Derby a second goal when Mendez-Laing sprinted down the right and crossed for him, but Collins was unable to make the last touch.

However, Sonny Bradley’s knockdown did set up Collins for a goal, as Collins took a touch before firing past Lewis to set off incredible celebrations across the stadium.Lewis denied Mendez-Laing, who could have added a third. Fans streamed the pitch during full time, sensing it was game over and time for a massive celebration.

The 55-second melody

Since saving Derby from certain death in June 2022, David Clowes has been an amazing caretaker of the club.

At an estimated cost of £55 million, the reluctant savior has managed the team flawlessly and with the affection one would anticipate from a devoted fan. Instead of chasing attention, Clowes would rather let his deeds speak for themselves. But with this promotion, he probably won’t need to purchase a drink in the city ever again.

The fans’ decision to serenade him in the 55th minute, which represented the amount he spent for the club—an expensive labor of love—seemed rather fitting, too. However, the memories he will have are precious, and everyone stood to sing a few songs in appreciation, which was a beautiful gesture.

He should take some time to enjoy the festivities after overseeing their quicker than expected return to the Championship after a grueling nine months. Derby’s time in the third tier came to an end in spectacular, champagne-soaked fashion on a day he would have only dreamed of, one that will be told down the generations. Above all, though, the fans will always have his gratitude for saving the club from extinction when it was just a week away.

An appropriate farewell

This summer, Max Bird will move to Bristol City, but not before giving Derby the ideal send-off.

The midfield player scored his 10th goal of the season in his 200th game, a thundering drive that reminded him of the quality in that refined left foot of his. The fact that it happened in the opening ten minutes of the game really helped allay any pre-match jitters, especially because Bolton was leading Peterborough 2-0.

Bird has experienced everything at Derby, having entered the team at the age of ten. In 2019, he also had to deal with the death of his father. When Paul Warne talked about Bird to the media following the game, you could see the emotion in his eyes as he talked about both his human traits and his skill as a player.

He has been a credit to the team, and when he left the field in the second half to an incredible ovation, there were undoubtedly a few teary-eyed Derby supporters.

For a player with a bright future and a large heart, it was a perfect sendoff.

An award of gold and the best defense

Perhaps lost in the midst of the understandable emotional outburst and the chaos that spilled out at full time was the fact that this Derby side took home another trophy. Joe Wildsmith won the Golden Gloves award for the season’s most clean sheets while Paul Warne’s team concluded play with yet another shutout.

In what has been a record-breaking season, that also left them with the best goal difference and defensive record in League One. Even League One’s top attackers have struggled to get through this strong lineup, which has either a back three or a back four.

Achieving a goal differential of just 37 goals in 46 games is a noteworthy accomplishment for each player that has been a part of that defense. Regarding Wildsmith, he received a trophy with a golden glove, and there’s no denying that his stop against Bolton—which everyone in Pride Park believed to be a goal—was a crucial turning point in their promotion battle.

Adams is engulfed

The supporters readied themselves for the pitch invasion, sensing that promotion was almost certain following James Collins’ second goal and the announcement that Bolton had blown a 2-0 lead at Peterborough.

There were a few pointless attempts to ask them to get off the field, but Paul Warne and his teammates had etched their names in history, and there was no way that anyone was going to listen.

The referee, who could see what was happening as thousands of spectators were getting ready for the party, blew early and then flew down the tunnel at the fastest speed he had all afternoon.

In an instant, the pitch transformed into a sea of black and white, yet in the midst, Ebou Adams, elevated upon several shoulders, was visible, soaking up the moment’s splendor.

He was a game-changing acquisition that helped the team accomplish its goal and has been a fantastic addition to the team. Around Pride Park, there were cries of “sign him up,” and who knows what the future might bring.

Although Adams is a loan signing that Derby fans will always remember, the transfer is one that the supporters would really like to see happen.

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