Honouring legends before its too late...
It is inexcusable that 26 years since opening, the four stands at Pride Park are named North, South, East and West. The club has a history of waiting too long to honour the legends that have shaped our history while they can still be a part of the process. While Clough was given the freedom of the city in time, the fact that statues of him existed in Nottingham and Middlesbrough before Derby is an unfortunate example of this. When Jim Smith died in 2019, it seemed such a shame that a man who gave the very stadium its greatest memories had not returned to celebrate this achievement in his retirement. It is inspiring to see Dave McKay at the player entrance and Steve Bloomer watching over the home dugout, but more could be done.
We are proposing the West Stand be renamed the Roy McFarland stand. This would be a fitting tribute to the clubs greatest living player and servant. We are aware the King may have had a fractious relationship with Derby County since retiring, so what an opportunity for the current regime and for us as supporters to reach out to Kevin Hector and rename the East Stand after him.
We are proposing the North Stand be renamed the Arthur Cox stand following the gaffer’s awesome contribution in turning the ship around after near extinction, achieving back-to-back promotions, our last league title (Division Two in 1987) and our highest-placed finish in the last 34 years (1989) at the time of writing. All these stands could be opened by the men they are named after, a fitting celebration of their enormous contributions. Whilst it is sadly too late for the Bald Eagle to open it himself, we propose that the South Stand be renamed the Jim Smith South Stand, overlooking the goal where Wanchope and Eranio did their best work. This could be opened by family and friends of Jim.
This proposal is not set in stone. We would absolutely support a club-led process in the renaming of any stands that involved a wider supporter group. We are aware there are many great names that are not on our list that absolutely should be recognised at Pride Park. Archie Gemmill, a man who won two league titles with the club and scored the greatest goal in the history of the East Midlands derby, needs something permanent also. As always, these articles are designed to get fans talking about how we better celebrate our fantastic history and our passionate and vibrant community. What we are sure of is that Micky North, Gerald South, Eric East and Roger West never played for Derby County.