Former Derby County striker Paul Peschisolido has shared how then manager Billy Davies told him to fake injury ahead of the 2007 playoff final to potentially catch a mole inside the dressing room, dcfc.co.uk report.
“He said to me: ‘you’ll be playing in the final at Wembley’. I hadn’t been starting so I said ‘pardon?’ and he repeated it and said: ‘but what you have to do is next time we have a training session you are going to pull your groin and I want you to do nothing for the first seven days. Tell everyone including the players and staff, everybody that you have pulled your groin. I don’t want anyone to know that you are playing this game’. So, I faked injury for that week and went into gradual training after that. Only the two of us knew. Billy had some really strange, bizarre ways of dealing with things, maybe he was trying to find out if there was a mole. I don’t know.”
Peschisolido has been looking back on Derby’s last trip to Wembley ahead of this season’s playoff final. Back in 2007, the Rams faced West Bromwich Albion and the former Canadian striker was a surprise starter.
Billy Davies had guided Derby to third place in the Championship in his debut season. After seeing off Southampton in the playoff semi-finals on penalties, Derby beat West Brom 1-0 in the final.
In what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, Davies instead made it all about him with some bizarre antics. The former boss refused to commit to Derby, which prompted upheaval throughout the ensuing summer.
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Derby’s stint in the Premier League ultimately was a disastrous one. The East Midlands club managed just 11 points as they broke several records for all the wrong reasons. Davies, meanwhile, seemingly instigated his own sacking as he evidently wanted a route out.
Derby County reach Wembley again under current boss Frank Lampard:
The fiery Scot is in stark contrast to current manager Frank Lampard who is such a popular figure at Pride Park. The former Chelsea midfielder has also overachieved in his debut campaign at the club, but the standard of football is much better than the 2006/07 team and their potential is far greater.
Derby face Aston Villa on May 27 for a place in the Premier League. Like 2007, the Rams will head to Wembley as underdogs but only a fool would right off their chances of securing promotion.