Derby County spent six straight seasons in the Premier League between 1996 and 2002. Jim Smith was the man who guided the Rams to promotion in the 1995/96 season, his first in charge. Derby adapted well to the rigors of life in the top flight, and ended their Premier League debut season in 12th place.

The club moved into the 30,000-seat Pride Park for the 1997/98 season, a stage fit for luxurious foreign imports such as Igor Stimac, Paulo Wanchope and Aljosa Asanovic, who had helped the club impress in their first Premier League season. Italians Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano also joined ahead of the debut season at Pride Park as the continental craze continued.

Derby would go from strength to strength in the FA Carling Premiership, finishing ninth and eighth in the following seasons, before going on to struggle. Smith resigned in October 2001 and his replacement Colin Todd lasted just three months before being sacked in January. Former Aston Villa manager John Gregory took over but could not prevent the club being relegated, and the 2007/08 season represented their return to the top flight.

Club Heritage

Derby County were formed in 1884 as an off-shoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club. The name Derby County FC was settled on after objections from the local football association who claimed that Derbyshire County FC was too long. Matches were originally played at the Racecourse Ground, the home of the cricket club.

In 1895, the club moved to the Baseball Ground where they would remain for 102 years. The first honour the Rams won arrived in 1946 with a 4-1 FA Cup Final defeat of Charlton Athletic after extra-time.

The lack of fortune in the competition up to this point - three final reverses and regular defeats at the semi-final stage - prompted a notion that the club was under the spell of a gypsy curse because of the Baseball Ground being built on a gypsy camping ground. Prior to the 1946 triumph, players even asked gypsies angry at the development to lift the curse.

County's greatest success came under the great Brian Clough who guided them to the league title in 1972 and the European Cup semi-final against Juventus the following season. 1975, saw the Rams claim their second league title under the stewardship of Dave Mackay. The latter replaced Clough who left the club after falling out with the board over controversial comments against football's establishment.

Premier League History

1995/96 - Jim Smith appointed manager
1995/96 - Promoted to FA Carling Premiership
1997/98 - Move to Pride Park
1998/99 - Seth Johnson signs from Crewe for £3million in May 1999
1999/00 - Craig Burley signs from Celtic for £3million in December 1999
1999/00 - Branko Strupar signs from Racing Club Genk in December 1999
1999/00 - Georgiou Kinkladze signs from Ajax for £3million
2001/02 - Smith steps down in October 2001, replaced by Colin Todd
2001/02 - Todd sacked January 2002. Replaced by John Gregory
2001/02 - Relegated from Barclaycard Premiership
2002/03 - Gregory sacked in March 2003. George Burley appointed manager
2005/06 - Burley resigns as manager in June 2005 and Phil Brown takes over
2005/06 - Brown sacked in January 2006. Academy coach Terry Westley appointed caretaker
2005/06 - A Peter Gadsby led consortium takes over the club
2006/07 - Billy Davies appointed manager
2007/08 - Robert Earnshaw signs from Norwich City for £3.5million
2007/08 - On the 29th October former Hull City chairman and owner Adam Pearson buys a majority shareholding and takes over as Chairman
2007/08 - Billy Davies leaves the club by mutual consent in November and two days later Paul Jewell is handed the job
2007/08 - Relegated from Barclays Premier League