Former Derby County captain Shaun Barker believes that the Rams players and supporters both deserve huge amounts of credit for the way they conducted themselves throughout the 2021/22 campaign.
Pride Park Stadium was almost at full capacity on Saturday afternoon as already-relegated Derby concluded their turbulent Sky Bet Championship season with a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City.
Despite the result, the mood inside the stadium was buoyant as the Rams’ fans thanked the team and manager Wayne Rooney for their courageous efforts.
Looking back on the last ten months shortly after Saturday’s game, Barker said: “It’s been a bizarre season.
“The off-field stuff has dominated, but on the pitch they [Derby] have been great and have performed well.
“Pride Park’s been bouncing all season, and today was a nice little farewell for the fans and the players who have both really done their bit all year long.
“There was just shy of 30,000 [fans] there today and so many times this season 25,000-plus have turned out to see a team that were taking on what was always going to be a difficult and monumental task to stay in the Championship.
A bumper crowd for our summer send-off 🖤🤍
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) May 7, 2022
“That’s not happened, but they’ve still been proud of what they’ve seen on the pitch.
“[We’re] still waiting to see what the next development is, desperate for the takeover to happen.
“The sooner that happens the better, and it means that the manager and the players can progress and plan for next season.”
Barker was speaking after appearing in a charity match at the Pirelli Stadium, which was put on to raise money for the Burton Albion Community Trust and Sam’s Superheroes.
“It was good,” Barker said following his 45-minute run-out for the Brewers All-Stars.
“There were some good ex-pros on the pitch today and they’ve still got a bit, a few of them, but it’s the physical side that lets you down.
“You want to run round, you want to take care of your touch and get round the pitch, but you haven’t got it in your legs anymore!
“It was fun, it was entertaining, there were some big names, and it’s been put on really well. The turnout was great as well.”
To get a sense of how Derby’s fans are feeling now the 2021/22 season is over, have a read of our reaction article.