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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Can Derby stay in the Premiership?
By Chris Bevan

Derby boss Billy Davies celebrates winning the Championship play-off final
We will be well-drilled and if there is one thing that gives us a chance in the Premiership then it will be having Billy Davies in charge

Paul Peschisolido

The first question to ask about any club that has just won promotion to the Premiership is always "can they stay there?"

And for this season's play-off winners Derby County, the issue of survival is especially pressing.

Since the start of the Premiership in 1992, nine of the 15 clubs to have gone up to the top flight by the same route as the Rams have lasted only one year among the elite.

For some teams that single season in the sun, and the rich financial rewards it brings, is enough.

The figures speak for themselves - even if they finish bottom of the Premiership next season, Derby will still bank 60m.

According to accounting firm Deloitte, that cash breaks down as a guaranteed 40m from TV rights, with 10m more following from increased gate receipts, sponsorship and merchandising revenue.

Another 10m would arrive in parachute payments even in the event of the Rams being relegated next May.

1992: Blackburn 1993: 4th
1993: Swindon 1994: 22nd
1994: Leicester 1995: 21st
1995: Bolton 1996: 20th
1996: Leicester 1997: 9th
1997: C Palace 1998: 20th
1998: Charlton 1999: 18th
1999: Watford 2000: 20th
2000: Ipswich 2001: 5th
2001: Bolton 2002: 16th
2002: Birm'gham 2003: 13th
2003: Wolves 2004: 20th
2004: C Palace 2005: 18th
2005: West Ham 2006: 9th
2006: Watford 2007: 20th

Not that an instant return to the Championship features in the plans of Derby chairman and lifelong fan Peter Gadsby.

A millionaire after selling his locally based property and construction business, Gadsby has long been associated with the club and helped mastermind the Rams' move from the Baseball Ground to Pride Park in 1996.

After a spell out of the game, he returned as head of a consortium to gain control of the club in April 2006 when the Rams were teetering on the edge of financial oblivion.

He set about reducing the club's debt, making funds available for signings and, crucially, appointing Billy Davies as manager.

The Rams have not looked back and Gadsby believes he knows why.

"Too many people taking control of football clubs have no affinity with them," he told BBC Sport.

"For us this is more than an investment, it is a way of life. And this is our football club. Derby is my city and it is where I made my livelihood.

BBC Sport's Chris Bevan

"I have always been involved in sport and Derby deserves a great team. We have got 20,000 season-ticket holders who have always been there for the club and they deserve it too.

"But the club was close to entering administration when we arrived and could have gone under.

"The people at the helm then had no interest in the wellbeing of the football club. It was only an investment and it was an investment that was going wrong.

"Our dream was to rebuild the club. It was a great club that had been in the Premiership before but had seen some poor times and we were deep in debt.

It has been feast or famine at this club recently and our achievement is still sinking in

Derby chairman Peter Gadsby

"We had to stabilise things but we also had to show Billy that we were prepared to invest.

"He said at Christmas that he wanted the players that would give him a squad to win promotion - that is why we bought five players in January.

"Going up has justified that decision. It has been feast or famine at this club recently and our achievement is still sinking in."

Davies' future at the club is still unclear but he certainly has the backing of his players.

Veteran Rams forward Paul Peschisolido feels his manager's continued presence is essential if Derby are to prosper in the Premiership.

Paul Peschisolido celebrates Derby's promotion with Jay McEveley
Peschisolido celebrates Derby's promotion with Jay McEveley

The 36-year-old Canadian international, who has been at Pride Park since 2004, told BBC Sport: "Billy is a fantastic manager - his attention to detail is by far the best I have seen.

"The amount of time he spends in the editing suite after matches, putting together DVDs of the game for the lads, is phenomenal.

"His organisation is first-rate and he has brought a good bunch of players together and made us gel.

"It is so important for Derby to keep hold of him. He is an up-and-coming manager but he is proven too.

"He had success at Preston with no budget and then has come here and completely turned around the club in his first season.

"Don't kid yourself, it isn't luck I can assure you. It is the amount of time he spends immersing himself in football that has paid off."

So will Derby stay up next season?

"The one thing I can guarantee is that we will be organised," stated Peschisolido.

"We will be well-drilled and if there is one thing that gives us a chance in the Premiership then it will be having Billy Davies in charge."

Davies future at Derby uncertain
29 May 07 |  Derby County
David Pleat on Derby's promotion
28 May 07 |  Championship
Davies delighted as Derby cash in
28 May 07 |  Championship
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28 May 07 |  Championship
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18 Jan 07 |  Live Text
Play-off final photos
28 May 07 |  Football
Davies rounds on Derby's critics
11 May 07 |  Derby County


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