The Sammon Debate

Despite a 3-0 win last night over Bristol City Conor Sammon still managed to receive plenty of criticism and was the main talking point post-match.

The former Wigan striker missed a golden opportunity from just a few yards out that he most definitely should have put away. Having said that, Sammon had a good game – he was strong and always aware of his team mates. The Irish international played much better than the poor Robins strikers last night.

Sarcastic “Conor Sammom dah dah dah dah” were sung by some fans. “Sammon, you’re sh*t” was another widely used phrase by some members of the home crowd. Is it any wonder he headed straight down the tunnel at the conclusion of the game?

It’s time for these supporters to stop these demoralising chants. They’re meant to be supporting their team, not booing and shouting abuse. Pride Park should be a friendly and supportive venue towards the Rams players, a good environment for the players can be very helpful on the pitch – I’m sure it’s better to play in front of a supportive crowd, which can potentially aid more victories. I do hope and believe this abuse is a minority and short lived because it can severely affect his morale and confidence going into more important fixtures.

However the other side of the argument is that the fans pay their hard earned money and should be allowed an opinion. Yes they should be allowed a view and they have every right to but what happened last night was going way too far.

Jamie Ward, less notably, missed a penalty in the opening minutes of the game. The number 10 received very little stick for that, which seems to have been totally forgotten by some supporters – particularly when you consider the Sammon abuse. There’s no doubt, it was an awful penalty kick.

Anyway, Conor Sammon is a hard working striker – nobody can disagree with that. I do agree that he lacks some technique and a great finishing ability in a demanding league for chances to be finished. When the former Kilmarnock player came to the club he arrived with a large price tag, well for a Nigel Clough signing it was very large. That increased the already huge pressure from fans, who have been begging for a 15-20 goals a season striker for a while now.

Recently, loan signing Chris Martin has benefited from Sammon’s unselfishness and excellent awareness. He’s also been recognised on the international stage, with more caps for the Republic of Ireland. I won’t shy away from the fact that he has had some poor games, such as the defeat at Birmingham last month, but you know what you get from him – 100% every game.

For the record, I’m as a frustrated as anybody about his missed chances in front of goal. Looking at the bigger picture he does bring some qualities to the squad but, as a striker, he should do better. As a consequence, the board should address this in the summer and sign a natural finisher (not necessarily to completely replace Sammon) and some more experience to get a better balance between youth and experience, which has been lacking at parts of this campaign.

I hope Rams fans can leave this horrible and uncalled for abuse aside and support the team.

Leeds away coming up on Monday, which will be Derby’s stronger test after playing a very poor Bristol City side, who find themselves fighting for survival.

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21 Responses to The Sammon Debate

  1. Ruth Pritchard says:

    Totally agree with your comments. He struggles sometimes but puts in 100% every game. Why Derby fans take the p out of your own player who is giving his best & heartily clap 3 ex Rams, I agree with us doing that but Conor is wearing our shirt. While ever anyone gives 100% for my team I will support them. He appears to love Derby as mush as I do shame he is being victimised by his own for it.

    • nmorley1 says:

      I agree with your comments too Ruth. 100% commitment every game is something that should be recgnised as we’ve seen plenty who weren’t fit to wear the shirt and did’t care about the club.

  2. Val Taylor says:

    If the so called ‘Derby FANS’ slate ANY member of the team they should be ejected from the ground. They are not fit to be labelled a fan of Derby County if they cannot stand by the team no matter who is in it or what the person does on the pitch. Conor Sammon IS a grafter and everyone can have an off day, saying that Conor Did not have an off day last night, yes, he missed a sitter, but as has been said, so did Jamie, with the peno.

    • nmorley1 says:

      Once they step over the white line they should be supported, regardless of chances missed. Ward’s dreadful miss just further outlines the amount of ant-Sammon people choosing to ignore other players doing bad misses.

    • JackalRAM says:

      We’re you at the game? Sammon probablly doesn’t deserve all the stick he’s getting but he’s not what the supporters needed right now, especially with somewhat deluded hopes of a top 6 finish! The main problem fans at the game have with sammon is the balls he looses to the opposition, and the apparent lack of heading capability he seems to have, and for a powerfull guy that he obviously is, is rediculous. Maybe he needs to put in 100% on the training pitch working on heading and finishing

  3. Phill says:

    Once again spot on! Derby county fans nowadays aren’t what they once were in following or getting behind the team, Connor sammon for me last night was mom ok he missed a sitter and its evident he is low on confidence, but to get at him is wrong! I don’t blame him for ignoring the Connor give us a wave chants, I’d of stuck 2 fingers up myself, if he clears off at the end of the season I wouldn’t blame him.
    Now I personally don’t rate sammon but would never get on his back, if he scores a treble on Monday v Leeds he will be a god!
    Football is a fickle sport

    • nmorley1 says:

      Thanks and I agree. Derby fans aren’t very patient at all, Sammon does bring qualities to the squad – less noticeable, however. I’m not his biggest fan at all and, at times, he does frustrate me, like any player would who’s on an off day, but I wouldn’t feel the need to abuse him. It’s no wonder his confidence is low and a player without confidence isn’t likely to produce what they normally can.
      Football’s very fickle, a hat-trick would do him and the fans a world of good!

  4. scotram says:

    nmorley1 how can you seriously say Derby fans aren’t patient. We’ve had years of mediocrity while forest and leicester change managers every 2 minutes and try to buy there way to success yet we have stuck by Clough for almost 5 years and still get bigger crowds than both on a regular basis. if you don’t think that contributes loyalty and patience then i don’t know what does.

    • nmorley1 says:

      Sorry Scotram. I don’t mean in the overall picture I agree with your points. I was referring to a match situation, barely 5 minutes and Sammon’s being called names.

      • scotram says:

        Fair enough nmorley1,
        five mins into a game is out of order but how long do you give him to win the crowd over. W e are known for giving most players a fair crack of the whip but for a player brought to score goals he does miss a fair few sitters and i’m not sure being a good holding player is good enough if he doesn’t start scoring on a more regular basis.

      • nmorley1 says:

        He doesn’t score goals, which is annoying when Derby are clearly lacking a natural finisher to push on. I think he does being other elements to the team but I’m still not wholly convinced by him, I like his work ethic and awareness however the finishing isn’t good. I just don’t like fans abusing their own players, making them low on confidence and subsequently worse.

  5. Frank Veacock says:

    Crikey, you guys up there are so fortunate to have the oppourtunity to watch The Rams week in and out, down here nothing (NZ), I’m having to pay for Rams player and listen to the commentary!!
    Let’s get behind the team and encourage!!
    We have a Rugby League team in Auckland, called the Warriors playing in the Aussie NRL, and haven’t won yet, they have a saying- “It’s a matter of Faith” I apply this to the Rams.
    Come on Derby, (the mushy peas and warm beer must be getting to the moaners)

  6. Wayne says:

    Sammon is dreadful. Wigan must of been rubbing there hands when Derby fell for him. He is a Waste of oxygen. I’ve stopped going to some of the games because I can’t bare to watch the useless can’t head a ball, can’t shoot and can’t read a pass useless t***.

  7. CapnBob says:

    I agree with you nathan. I think some of the criticism is harsh. I was listening to Rams Player and apparently Jamie Ward’s penalty was weak yet I could hear some of the crowd singing his signature tune (Wonderward) after the miss. Sammon misses a penalty and gets slated.

    You’d think we were 2-1 down or 0-0 when Sammon missed. We were 2-0 up and fortunately Bristol City were poor. It should be remembered that he set up Ward’s goal and I think he set up Davies’ late goal, too.

    He was brought to score goals? Yes, but good finishers cost, everyone wants one. Everyone goes on about Sammon, but Simon Cox cost £2m, is on bigger wages & has about the same, if not less goals, but because Forest invested in other players, Cox escapes censure.

    By all mean level criticism (the crowd) if/when it’s 0-0 and we need a goal. But I think the crowd’s reaction is pathetic, knowing that this player is low on confidence.

  8. CapnBob says:

    By alll means level criticism…

    By this I mean on websites or on the phone in rather than abusing Sammon. I thought Ruth above made an excellent point, fans clapping ex-Rams yet abusing a current player. There’s nothing we do so well at Derby as nostalgia!

  9. JackalRAM says:

    I personally don’t see sammon putting in 100% at all but your entitled to your opinion. I do however feel sorry for the guy, he has come into the club after clough has parted company with 20 goal strikers Davies and Robinson, even injury prone Tyson has a better goal per game ratio. So bringing a a 1m + striker who is not going to get many goals is going to frustrate any pride park regular, especially if you actually watch sammons play, looses the ball and fails to get his head on it more often than he pulls of his goal assists. Maybe he needed a season to get the feel of the club, but I’m affraid no striker coming into the club at the moment would not be granted that privilege at the moment at least.

    As for ward not getting abuse for his penalty miss, remember all that he has done for us so far, and is now our only guaranteed goal threat on the pitch, he has proven his quality to everyone at pride park and those listening on the radio, but please, please please could the armchair fans take a wad of cash out of their pockets, get down pride park and take in more than the odd game to see for yourself what we watch week in week out before jumping on the ‘bash a season ticket holder’ bandwagon. I don’t justify the abuse sammon gets, but our forward line is in decline. Look at theo, that guy WAS sh*t then we signed him permantly from milwall, he got stick but now clough turned him into a capable championship forward, arguably with greater work rate than sammon, pressurising the opponents back line with his non stop pace

  10. CapnBob says:

    First of all, I think maybe you should be a little more tactful about why some people don’t go to matches, regularly. Living in the north-west of England/north wales and dependent on trains, it’s not exactly easy to get to evening matches if you don’t live in Derby itself. But if you want to have a pop at ‘armchair fans’, fine, not that supporting Derby from afar has been exactly pleasureable. Crawley anyone?

    There are plenty of fans who go regularly (see ja606) who don’t buy into Clough’s project. You don’t have to see to read, but you do need to read to see. I am fully supportive of what he is doing, a manager working for the well-being of the club rather than Davies & Jewell & operating under difficult circumstances. A small squad usually means we burn out after January and fans are growing impatient after 4 years, forgetting we had Savage in our midfield for two of them. At the end of the 2009 season, and it was clear Savage’s legs had gone. And he was the mainstay of our midfield for two more years! There, I have sympathy for our season ticket holders.

    Back to Sammon. The thing is Clough chased Sammon since Wigan gazumped us. Then we paid double what we first offered. This is another stick used to beat Clough & Sammon. Sammon gained PL experience and Wigan weren’t desperate to sell. We also had to buy who was available at the time and for the money available and to do a particular job, providing physical presence. On a social media website, Huddersfield fans were fairly complimentary about Sammon as difficult to play against so I suppose if you live in a Pride Park bubble, one is always a bit harder on your own players than opposition fans.

    Steve Davies asked to leave so I don’t know why our fans bring this up. Clough offered him a three contract.

    As for strikers, Sammon & Martin both possess pace plus physicality & I think Sammon works well with other strikers (Ward, Martin) so that goals are spread around and we don’t end up in the situation, like with Rob Hulse, dependent on one striker. Theo just offers pace and would never go for a header like Martin did against Leicester. Clough brought out the best out of Theo, but his touch hasn’t improved nor his distribution of the ball. I also think last season’s success went to his head (those daft rumours about a PL bid, twitter-gate) & he asked for a meeting with Clough rather than fight for his place. I went to Huddersfield away and cringed at the’We want our Theo on’ chants. He hasn’t scored since he has gone on loan to HTFC and maybe that’s the reality check he needs.

    As for Ward, I was just pointing out the contradiction. First goals are vital in this league, Score first and you usually go on to win. Concede and you lose/draw. So it’s funny to slate one player for missing a penalty and chant the name of another for doing the same. Ward has been tremendous for us and we missed him, and Sammon did in particular, when he was out for three months as I think Clough earmarked him & Sammon as his strike partnership.

    Unfortunately, it is really an issue of investment and GSE need to perhaps support the manager to bring in a proven/decent goalscorer. We are 3-4 players short to make a play-off challenge and even with better attendances, none of this investment was forthcoming , was it? It is a case of GSE supplementing the good work Clough is doing. I hope we sign Martin permanently because I think he’ll be a trading up on Theo and an improvement on our frontline. The trouble at Derby is that it is either/or rather than both, due to finances: Keogh or Shackell, Davies or Sammon.

    • JackalRAM says:

      I very much appreciate why fans are not able to turn out at pride park, but I truly believe listening to the game on the radio is no way to make a true judgement on a players performance. Radio derby host phone ins to get the views of the rams fans, I turn this on after the game and find that the majority of pro sammon followers usually start the conversation with, well I listened to the game and thought…….. If listening to the game is as good as being there, then maybe we don’t need scouts going round the country, they can just tune into local Scottish radio and pick up the first player they hear mentioned the most. Again I don’t like the stick is getting, but I do also understand that supporters only really want their team to go in one direction. I mention loosing Davies and Robinson, our ex-20 goal men only as we have not replaced them, whatever the reason for them leaving, to be replaced by a forward who we are told works hard but will not score regularly. Yes there isn’t the talent available but that doesn’t mean that people will be understanding for years on end. Now is the time that a larger band of supporters have had enough of a lack of ambition from our owners, and unfortunantly sammon is getting the stick for it when perhaps it should be aimed elsewhere

  11. CapnBob says:


    Steve Davies asked to leave so I don’t know why our fans bring this up. Clough offered him a three year contract.

  12. owderrammy says:

    I will never boo anyone who wears a Derby shirt and gives 120%. My full views about Connor, the enigma, are on Ram Zone.

  13. CapnBob says:

    I think you’re a bit patronising, to be honest.

    I also listen to the phone-in/moan in and there are plenty of fans who go and bash Sammon and other players. What about the chap a few weeks ago who didn’t even have the decency to call Bryson by his surname but described him as ‘that Scottish headless chicken’ – this is a player who’s been carrying/playing with an injury. That call infuriated me.

    With Rams Player, you can get full highlights of every game. I don’t tend to watch them as I’ve seen enough myself, from the few games I’ve seen.

    I went to Huddersfield at home, Sammon set off a lay off for the first goal which surprised many (the sceptics) that led to the cross and consternation in the opposition box and the goal. Yes, his touch isn’t the best but better than Robinson. Sorry, I don’t buy your comment about Davies & Robinson, ‘ex-20 goal men’. 20 goals together, yes, but Sammon & Ward have 20 goals together. Ward was out for three months, too.

    Goals are spread around the team, we are amongst the highest scorers at home. Away, we struggle but that is due, in part, to the competitive nature of this division. We have conceded amongst the most in the division, indicating that problems lie at the back, the failure to have a settled back four, the loss of Barker and until we have a strong back, as Clough has said, the team remains vulnerable and can’t go out on all out attack.

    Of course, fans want their clubs to go in the right direction, but there are ways to approach it, preferably more sustainable than last time. The PL is not going to run away and last time it damaged us so much that we ended up closer to League 1 than a return to it. What with the new PL payments, some more investment will be required to ensure that we remain competitive in a second tier which is beginning to resemble a PL2 and a closed shop league with the top eight teams mostly sides with backing.

    I completely agree that Sammon is perhaps a target for long-held frustrations. But aim that frustration at the board and Sam Rush. I had never heard of Niall Horan before, but he probably achieved more with his comments than those moaning about our players at the ground, on the phone-in or here on a blog.

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