The £60,000 transfer of Archie Gemmill was undoubtedly Brian Clough's
most audacious signing for Derby County. When he heard in September 1970
that the Preston North End midfielder was close to signing for Everton,
Clough drove directly to Lancashire. When young Archie initially
refused to sign, the Derby boss, in typical fashion, invited himself to
stay overnight at the Gemmill household! His persistance was rewarded
when the following morning he persuaded the 23 year old Scot that his
future lay at the Baseball Ground rather than on Merseyside. Gemmill's
role for County was to provide the link between defence and attack,
utilising his remarkable stamina to make lung-bursting runs between the
two penalty areas.
He scored three times in the "Rams" 1970/71 league
campaign, his strikes against Nottingham Forest, Manchester United and
Wolves capping fine individual displays. Derby remained unbeaten for
twelve games at the start of the 1971/72 season, and eventually won the
First Division Championship having kept twenty-three clean sheets.
Archie was at his best on the notoriously heavy Baseball Ground surface.
As soon as he got possession of the ball he would often carry it,
seemingly unhindered by the mud, deep into the opposition half, leaving
would be tacklers slipping and sliding in his wake.
As champions Derby
took their place in the 1972/73 European Cup, eventually going out 3-1
on aggregate at the semi-final stage to Juventus. Gemmill played well in
the "Rams" early games in the competition, scoring against Zeljenicar
Sarajevo in the first round. Significantly, however, suspension kept him
out of the vital second leg fixture against the Italians, a game that
finished scoreless at the Baseball Ground. After their European exit,
County won their last three league matches to finish in seventh place in
Division One. Archie ended the season with a series of fine
performances, scoring his third goal of the campaign, a penalty, in a
3-1 victory against Everton. (Mike Cockayne)