Derby County Ladies Football Club

Another Positive Year to Reflect for Ewe Rams

Derby County Ladies Chief Executive Duncan Gibb heads into 2020 as a man with a very clear vision, following another positive year both on and off the pitch. He feels the upcoming year could represent yet another landmark one in the Club’s history.

On the pitch the club delivered their highest ever position in the Women’s football pyramid with a third place finish in the FA Women’s National League Northern Division, whilst off the pitch, formal alignment with Derby County FC was achieved through the implementation of the newly formed Governance Board, which includes Rams CEO, Stephen Pearce and Club Ambassador and England U21 coach, Michael Johnson.

On top of that further inroads have been made on three core projects, giving Gibb optimism for a landmark year.

“It’s been another groundbreaking season for the club, although I seem to be saying this every year; however we really are making strides year on year and 2019 was no different. Whilst most of our growth in recent years has taken place off the pitch, we saw significant advancement on the pitch in 2019, as Sam Griffiths led us to our highest ever position in what was her first season as a manager.”

“The clubs Operational Board of Directors were very open in terms of saying that we needed to get the off the field side of things right first, which in turn would then see our focus shift to the on-field side of things. It was therefore pleasing to see that patient and planned approach subsequently delivered pretty much to script.

“The first half of this season has been a bit of a mixed bag if we are being honest; however we are quietly confident that we can move up the league and realise our pre-season ambitions. There is also the small matter of a League Cup quarter final with Sunderland to look forward to, which again represents new ground, in that we’ve never been this far in a national competition before”

“Off the pitch, the ‘big ticket item’ was the formal alignment to the main club, which has quickly manifested itself in a number of ways, through matches being played at Pride Park Stadium, the female team being incorporated into the main club end of season awards and improved player support at the clubs Moor Farm training ground. Last week Michael Johnson spoke to a packed out Toyota Suite at our Xmas Party, about his personal ambitions for the female arm of the club, and both the Operational and Governance Boards share that vision.

“Elsewhere we have seen the continued progress of our Development squad and Academy, which has clearly benefited from a closer working partnership and joined up strategy with the Derby County Community Trust who hold the RTC licence.

“There’s still some exciting work to do there around player educational pathway, which we hope to formalise and announce in the coming months; however the key thing is that we have a shared objective, and the relationship between these two arms of the overall club are excellent.”      

“Away from that we are working tirelessly on two other core projects around facilities and our higher educational offer. The former will hopefully bring long term stability with it, whilst the latter will have a massive impact on player recruitment, player retention and providing that hugely important dual pathway of playing and studying.

“We’ve aimed high on both of these projects and there is still am awful lot of ground to cover on each; however that’s what we’ve historically done as as a club, and its that level of ambition that has seen us become the only club in the history of the female game to be named ‘Club of Year’ at the annual FA Women’s Awards twice.

“For myself and the clubs Operational and Governance Board, its all about continuous improvement both on and off the pitch, but always to a strategy and at a timely and diligent pace. Hopefully 2020 proves to be every bit as productive as 2019 was.”