A new era is underway for Derby County, with some major changes, especially at the top.
The turbulence at Pride Park finally came to an end after the club was purchased by lifelong Rams fan David Clowes. The sale was confirmed before the League 1 season kicked off, which provided some much-needed stability to the Rams, who were plunged into administration for 9 months.
Under their new owners, activities can resume, as usual, the transfer ban has been lifted, and Derby can finally offer new deals to existing players.
However, the ramifications of the 9-month-long administration spell still exist, especially in regard to the club’s kits for next season.
Due to a production cut-off, Derby weren’t permitted to send their kit designs for manufacturing, despite finalizing all 3 designs (home, away and third) created by Umbro. With the limitations now lifted, all the kits have been officially announced, and fans can expect to get their replicas by the autumn.
The looks served up by Umbro are decent enough, although the designs may look a bit plain due to the absence of sponsorship logos.
Nevertheless, the English sportswear brand’s efforts are commendable, barring one major exception, the home kit.
At first glance, the home kit offers nothing worthy of concern, the shirt features a clean white base paired with black accents, and a graphic running diagonally on the bottom.
However, upon closer inspection, there’s something troublesome to be found within the graphic.
The diagonal pattern includes distorted black stripes and fades, which share an unmissable resemblance to tire tread, and essentially look like a skid mark. When placed alongside the club’s recent history, it didn’t take long for the design to be a howler.
Fans online found the skid mark pattern to be an unfortunate reference to the infamous accident between Tom Lawrence and former club captain Richard Keogh.
For the unversed, the accident occurred back in 2019 after a club-sanctioned night out.
Lawrence and Keogh had both overindulged, and the pair then got into Lawrence’s Range Rover alongside two other unnamed players.
Heavily under the influence, Lawrence quickly lost control and ended up ramming his vehicle into the back of former teammate Mason Bennett’s Mercedes. The car then veered into a lamp post, knocking passenger Keogh unconscious, while the others fled.
In the aftermath of the accident, Keogh was the one Derby chose to penalize the most, despite being just a passenger. The veteran defender’s contract was terminated, while Lawrence and Bennett were both retained.
Coincidentally, Keogh had only a year remaining on his deal and had just rejected an offer from Derby on reduced terms.
Nevertheless, the incident added another dark chapter in the club’s recent history, and one the Rams certainly wouldn’t want to be dug up again.
Unfortunately, the skid mark pattern looks to have done just that. And considering that it’s on Derby’s primary kit for this season, it will likely come up numerous times.