Derby players’ drinking session happened after game of ‘foot golf’ was cancelled, as video of Mason Bennett being sick emerges

27 Sep

What was supposed to be a game of ‘foot golf’ descended into a heavy drinking session, a car crash and the captain sustaining a serious knee injury.

Two of Derby County’s senior players – Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett – were charged with drink driving this week and skipper Richard Keogh suffered his injury in the crash.

Derby captain Keogh has made more than 350 appearances for the club since joining in 2012
Getty Images - Getty

Derby have condemned the incident, while manager Phillip Cocu said plans to play foot golf as a team bonding session after training were changed because of the rain, so the squad went bowling instead, followed by a team meal.

The Rams have revealed Keogh was among those who continued drinking and Cocu admitted his captain is ‘extremely down’ and ‘feels responsible’ for the incident.

Cocu, who has yet to decide whether Lawrence and Bennett could feature against Birmingham on Saturday, said: “The first idea was foot golf but the weather was really bad so we changed plans and went bowling.

“After that there was a team dinner where the team sat together for some bonding. Most of the players left around 8pm and a small group stayed and continued at the bar.

Phillip Cocu was not at the dinner that led to two of his players arrested and his captain out for the season with injury

“Due to an alcohol-related incident we’ve lost our captain for the rest of the season, so in the end it was bad news for the whole team.

“It’s bad news and a bad situation for everybody at the club.”

A video later emerged showing 23-year-old Bennett downing a pint and being sick in a toilet.

Someone can be heard shouting ‘get it all out, Mas’ as the forward throws up.

Another is heard saying: ‘F***ing three pints of Peroni are f*****g strong these days’.

Bennett was filmed by his team-mates drinking pints
SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone
The 23-year-old was then seen vomiting into a urinal
SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone
‘I’ve had more than three’, he is heard saying to team-mates who goad him as he wipes his mouth clean
SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone

Cocu, who was not present at the meal, suggested there will be disciplinary action taken against those involved but is eager to establish exactly what went on first.

Asked whether 33-year-old Keogh’s injury could even be career-threatening, the Dutchman simply reiterated it is ‘a very serious injury’.

“I’ve spoken to him. He was [at the training ground] for a short moment and I spoke briefly to him because there’s a lot going on.

“He’s extremely down, of course, because he realises what’s going on for him personally and of course as a responsible player, as captain, to not be part of the team any more does something to you.

“I think he feels responsible, yeah.

“The more senior players always have to step up and take responsibility and it’s now had a huge effect on him personally. It’s a lot to deal with for him.”

A statement from Championship club on Tuesday condemned the incident.

“The players were out as part of a scheduled team-building dinner with staff and while the majority of them acted responsibly and left at around 8pm and were not involved, a small group, including the team captain Richard Keogh, continued drinking into the night. They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club, and chose to stay out.

“The players involved in the incident on Tuesday evening will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under the club’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, but over and above any punishment they receive we will be expecting them to become involved with the excellent work the Community Trust does helping the communities we serve.

“We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.

Rooney will link up with Derby in January under manager Phillip Cocu

“Those involved in Tuesday’s incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team.

“We fully support the work of our partners at Drinkaware and the unsanctioned actions of this small group of players is totally at odds the stance that both Drinkaware and Derby County Football Club take regards alcohol. We will be using this situation to redouble our efforts in highlighting the dangers posed by alcohol.

“We would also like to thank the emergency services for their swift help.”

In August, Derby announced they would complete the shock signing of England and Man United legend Wayne Rooney as player/coach.

The 33-year-old said the opportunity to return home was too good to refuse and the Rams will need all his experience to lift them from 18th in the table and get their promotion bid back on track.

‘This cannot happen again’ – Derby boss Phillip Cocu blasts his players’ ‘arrogance’ following resounding defeat at Brentford

1 Sep

Phillip Cocu tore into the attitude of his Derby players following their resounding defeat at Brentford on Saturday.

Brentford raced to a 3-0 lead in the first-half thanks to Bryan Mbeumo’s goal and a brace from Ollie Watkins.

Derby have not made a good start under Phillip Cocu

The Rams improved after the break but the damage was already done by then and Cocu’s men suffered their second league defeat of the season.

And after the game, Cocu didn’t hold back – labelling his players ‘arrogant’.

Cocu said: “I’m mostly disappointed with the attitude we had in all of the first-half.

“It’s like an arrogance based on nothing – we have to work hard because we’re not in a position where we’re top of the league so your attitude and press you show on the pitch is really important.

“But if you don’t start well then it’s really hard to play good football and there were so many mistakes on the ball.”

The result leaves Derby in 19th spot and just two points above the relegation zone after six games.

They haven’t won since the opening weekend which was against Huddersfield Town – who are joint bottom of the table with Stoke City.

It’s a particularly bad start for Derby considering they almost got promoted to the Premier League last season but lost to Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.

Derby have a lot of work to do if they’re to mount a serious promotion challenge
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And Cocu said his players must not put out a display like they did against Brentford again.

He added: “This cannot happen again – not for the team, not for the club.

“Our fans travel a long way to see the team and we cannot show in any game and the rest of the season what we showed today.”

Nottingham Forest vs Derby: Phillip Cocu knows about rivalry as Rams prepare for Carabao Cup clash

27 Aug

Phillip Cocu is well aware of the intense rivalry between Derby and Nottingham Forest.

The manager takes his Rams side to the City Ground for the second round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening, LIVE on talkSPORT.

Phillip Cocu has made an underwhelming start to life as Derby boss

“To be honest, before [joining Derby] I didn’t know [about the rivalry] because I did not have the experience to work here,” Cocu, who has won just one of his first five Championship games since replacing Frank Lampard in the summer, said.

“But, of course, it is one of the first things people let you know. It is the biggest game, and we are playing a cup game against them already.


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Nottingham Forest vs Derby (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Newcastle vs Leicester (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Lincoln City vs Everton (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Cardiff vs Fulham (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Southampton vs Manchester United (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Bristol City vs Middlesbrough (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Chelsea vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Burnley vs Liverpool (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

“It is good, it’s great. There will be a fantastic atmosphere.

“You have to keep your emotions under control, keep the good balance between aggressiveness and to be able to play football, and don’t get into other stuff too much.

“If you are a football player, you have to love to play these kind of games.”

Derby have failed to beat Forest in their last three meetings, with their last victory coming in a 2-0 win in October 2017.

Reds boss Sabri Lamouchi says he will not field a weakened team against Derby.

He said: “A lot of our players have played a lot of games.

“We need to check on them and will then prepare immediately for Derby.

“On Tuesday, we need to pick the best possible team – a team which can cause Derby problems and which can get the win.”

Nottingham Forest vs Derby County is live on talkSPORT at 7.45pm on Tuesday 28 August

Mel Morris reveals Phillip Cocu asked Derby County to renovate his office after he replaced Frank Lampard

5 Aug

Derby County owner Mel Morris says it’s unfair to compare former manager Frank Lampard and his replacement Phillip Cocu – but has revealed the new boss came to the club with a number of big demands.

And one of them was to give his new offices a makeover.

Former PSV Eindhoven coach and ex-Barcelona player Cocu was appointed on a four-year deal earlier this summer after Lampard left Pride Park for the top job at Chelsea.

Lampard led Derby to the play-off final in his first ever season as a manager and now has a huge task ahead of him at Chelsea

Much has been made over the managerial switch and, while fans and Morris regretted Lampard’s decision to leave Derby after just one year in charge, they now have a man with an impressive record at the helm.

The 48-year-old Cocu led PSV to three Eredivisie titles as well as the Dutch Cup in five years in charge, although he did last only 15 days in his previous role with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Derby chairman Morris joined Jim White on Monday ahead of the club’s Championship opener at Huddersfield – with LIVE commentary on talkSPORT 2.

And while discussing this summer’s managerial changeover, he revealed a funny story about one of Cocu’s demands when he came to the club – and it had nothing to do with transfer funds…

Speaking to talkSPORT, Morris said: “I think there are some big similarities there [between Cocu and Lampard] – both are very good at inspiring and motivating people, particularly players.

“I think Frank in his first season of course was always going to have a need to focus on things he could actually control, and his second year was always going to be a step up for him to engage with more areas of the club and how things would function.

Dutchman Phillip Cocu made an unusual demand when he was appointed manager of Derby

“But of course Phillip has been there and done that many times before and came with a set of expectations of what he wants to have in place, and he’s been very clear about what those things are.

“To give you an example, I always asked Frank and I ask Phillip as well: ‘What else can we do for you?’

“And Phillip said: ‘Well, I need a doorway from my office to the other coaches’ office so that I can connect with them all the time’.

“Now, that office has been the same for 20 years. He’s the first manager who has actually asked that question.

“It was done within 24 hours!


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Huddersfield vs Derby County (Monday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Portsmouth vs Birmingham (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • West Ham vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

“It’s a small thing but it’s symbolic of that collaborative approach to things. It’s attention to detail.

“It’s unfair to compare Frank in his first year with an experienced manager, but I could see Frank starting to focus on more and more things towards the end of his first year.

“I’m sure that’s going to set him up well from his time at Chelsea.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Derby County manager Mel Morris IN FULL above!

Chelsea transfer news: Derby County manager Phillip Cocu not ruling out re-signing Blues stars Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori on loan

20 Jul

New Derby County manager Phillip Cocu feels it will ‘difficult but not impossible’ to bring in Chelsea trio Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Ethan Ampadu on loan this summer.

Former Netherlands international Cocu is the club’s first ever foreign manager and has signed a four-year contract to succeed Frank Lampard.

Phillip Cocu has taken over at Derby

Derby acted quickly to find a replacement for Lampard, who left after one season at Pride Park to take over at his former club Chelsea.

Much of the success Derby had under Lampard, in which they narrowly missed out on reaching the Premier League, came from the impact of on-loan stars Mount and Tomori, who was named Derby’s player of the year.

“It will be difficult I think. I don’t say impossible,” Cocu replied when asked about the chances of bringing them back to Derby.

And is Ampadu, who has been linked with a loan move to Germany, a possibility?

“There are a lot of possibilities still, but I don’t want to name any names yet,” Cocu said.

“For our own players – they know our team is not 100% – we’re trying to get some replacements in. That’s logical with the players that have left, with the budget and possibilities we have.”

Mount was brilliant for Derby last season – scored 11 goals and providing six assists for the Rams

Mount recently signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea, while Lampard is keen for Ampadu to get more first team football and he has reportedly undergone a medical ahead of a proposed loan to Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

Frank Lampard replaced by Phillip Cocu as Derby County manager

5 Jul

Phillip Cocu will replace Frank Lampard as Derby manager, the club have confirmed.

Former Netherlands international Cocu is the club’s first ever foreign manager, has signed a four-year contract and will be joined by assistant manager Chris Van Der Weerden and specialist first-team coach Twan Scheepers.

Dutchman Cocu has replaced Frank Lampard at Pride Park

In addition, Derby say head goalkeeping coach, Shay Given, will remain as part of the new-look coaching team.

“I am pleased and honoured to confirm that Derby County will be my new club and can’t wait to meet with the team and the fans to start this adventure together,” Cocu, who has joined the team in Florida, told the official club website.

Derby begin their season against Huddersfield Town on 5 August.

Mel Morris EXCLUSIVE: Derby owner wishes new Chelsea boss Frank Lampard well and confirms Phillip Cocu has flown to Florida

4 Jul

Phillip Cocu will link up with Derby at their pre-season training camp in Florida today, with Mel Morris saying the Netherlands legend will be appointed new Rams manager by this evening.

Morris, the Derby owner, joined talkSPORT on Thursday morning in the wake of Frank Lampard completing his move to Chelsea, to bid farewell to his departing head coach and provide an update on the search for their new boss.

And while the appointment of Cocu has been delayed due to Chelsea’s prolonged talks with Lampard, the deal bringing the former PSV and Barcelona midfielder to Pride Park should be confirmed before the end of Thursday.

Phillip Cocu is expected to be appointed Derby’s new manager by the end of the day

In fact, Cocu is flying over to Florida to join Derby’s pre-season training camp, and Morris confirmed the appointment should be announced once the 48-year-old has landed in the United States.

“We’re hoping we can get it over the line today,” Morris told Jim White on talkSPORT.

“It’s been a bit unfortunate from our side that we couldn’t actually do anything until Chelsea had finally signed Frank, otherwise we had the risk of ending up with TWO managers – and that would have been very embarrassing I’m sure.

“But we are hoping today we can get it done.

“The only complication is that Phillip and a number of his staff will be flying out to Florida today to join the team over there, so the actual signing may be later in the day rather than this morning, but that’s the way things work out.

“We were hoping to get it done last night, but it’s more likely it will be this evening when they arrive in Florida.”

Discussing what Cocu, who won three Eredivise titles while in charge of PSV, will bring to the Rams, Morris added: “The style of football is extremely similar to how Frank has been setting Derby up.

“His ability to embrace youth is something Phillip’s got a tremendous track record with. Plus, he’s got a phenomenal record of achieving success in the Eredivisie.

“From a supporter’s point of view it’s all about what happens on the field, and we are looking forward to some exciting football continuing the philosophy and style of play we put in place across the last season.”

Cocu won four major honours, including three league titles, during his time in charge of PSV
Getty Images - Getty

On the decision to appoint Cocu, Morris continued: “We’ve said right the way along that with a replacement for Frank we would have to be very careful and make sure we are looking for the qualities that we want to continue with the club, which is the style of football, the philosophical match with the club, and shared values.

“We want someone to come on board who can also inspire the players, and we also want someone who the players can look up to for their playing career as well as in management.”

Lampard leaves Pride Park to become Chelsea’s new manager after just a single season, having guided the Rams to the Championship play-off final, where they lost to Aston Villa.

While there are doubts over the former Chelsea midfielder’s suitability for such a huge job at this early stage of his career, Morris has no doubts he will do ‘exceptionally well’ in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

He finished: “It’s been quite a long process, but Chelsea have finally announced Frank this morning, which I think is fantastic for them. It allows us to move on also.

“We’ve known for a while it was likely to happen, and I sincerely wish Frank and Chelsea all the very best, and I’m sure he’ll do exceptionally well for them.”

Frank Lampard to Chelsea: Derby ‘close’ to appointing Phillip Cocu as manager’s successor

3 Jul

Phillip Cocu is ‘close’ to replacing Frank Lampard in the Derby hotseat, according to reports.

Chelsea legend Lampard is expected to make a stunning return to Stamford Bridge as the club’s new manager this week.

Phillip Cocu endured a difficult spell with Fenerbahce

The former England midfielder impressed in his debut managerial season, guiding Derby to the Championship play-off final in May.

The Blues view Lampard as the ideal replacement for Maurizio Sarri, who left west London after just one season to join Juventus.

Press Association say Cocu is poised to sign a four-year deal when Lampard’s switch to Chelsea is made official.

Frank Lampard is in talks with Chelsea

The Dutchman is likely to join his new squad for their pre-season trip to America later this week.

Cocu won three Eredivisie titles during a five-year spell as PSV manager before moving to Fenerbahce last summer.

However, he was in charge for just 15 games and left in October after winning just three times in one of the worst starts in the club’s history.

As a player, he won 101 caps for the Netherlands, four Dutch titles with PSV as well as LaLiga with Barcelona where he spent six years.

Earlier this week, Derby chairman Mel Morris told talkSPORT the club had started looking for Lampard’s successor.

He said: “We have and we will now accelerate those efforts.

“Obviously there’s a lot of activity expected to go on during the course of this week.

“We’re still very keen to get something sorted out in terms of the forthcoming tour to Florida.”