Having won the First Division title twice in the early 1970’s under Brian Clough and Dave Mackay, Derby County’s slide was pretty dramatic; finding themselves in Division 3 just a decade later.
But once former Newcastle United boss Arthur Cox led the Rams to successive promotions, the club were back in the top flight for the first time since 1980. Once there, they fell under the control of yacht-loving newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, who had previously been the financial backer of Oxford United during the rise to the top of English football.
Derby joined the Umbro family in 1987 and were supplied with some of the new designs within their portfolio. The opportunity to do something radical with their home shirt was limited but the away kit more than made up for that with its chequered, chess board effect in various shades of blue.
The Baseball Ground club survived their first campaign and with significant investment in the playing squad – Peter Shilton, Mark Wright, Dean Saunders and Ted McMinn coming in – they achieved a highly creditable fifth place finish in 1988-89; European qualification denied by the ongoing ban on English clubs after the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985.
One of the best results of their 88-89 season was a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane
Classic retro shirts now available from Campo www.camporetro.com