Derby County 2007 play-off final winners: Where are they now?

(L-R) Derby County's Steve Howard, Matthew Oakley and Seth Johnson celebrate promotion at the end of the match

It has been ten years since Derby County beat West Bromwich Albion at Wembley take them back to the Premier League.

(L-R) Derby County's Steve Howard, Matthew Oakley and Seth Johnson celebrate promotion at the end of the matchDerby County beat a much fancied West Brom team to secure promotion back to the Premier League

Derby County edged out West Bromwich Albion in a 1-0 victory in the Championship play-off final in 2007. It has been a roller coaster ride for Rams fans since, with the club experiencing more lows than highs.

Their return to the England's top division lasted just one season and the club famously hold the dubious honour of achieving the lowest points scored in a single campaign. The Rams have not returned to the Premier League since and their supporters will be hoping that their current side can emulate the success of the 2006-07 squad.

We take a look back at the side that were victorious at Wembley and find out where they are now.

Derby County's Stephen Bywater lifts the cup as team mates celebrate promotionDerby County's Stephen Bywater lifts the cup as team mates celebrate promotion

Stephen Bywater

Bywater helped Derby to promotion in his debut season with the club. He was initially signed on an emergency loan before making his loan from West Ham United permanent.

He went on to play a starring role in the team's run to the play-offs, making 43 appearances and establishing himself as the number one goalkeeper at the club.

He would stay at Derby until 2011 and made 148 appearances, but was sent out on loan three times in his five-year spell at Pride Park. Bywater is now 35-years-old and is currently first choice shot stopper at Championship side Burton Albion.

Tyrone Mears

The right-back quickly established himself in the first team after joining the club on loan from West Ham United in the January transfer window. His attacking style of play made him an instant hit amongst supporters.

He signed for the club permanently following the club's promotion. His career at Derby quickly declined after controversially flying to France to go on trial with Olympique de Marseille without the club's permission.

After an unsuccessful loan spell in Ligue 1, Mears was eventually sold to Burnley. The 34-year-old is now playing for MLS new boys Atlanta United after helping Seattle Sounders win the MLS cup last season.

Darren Moore

Moore joined Derby from West Brom the previous season after he spent five years at the Hawthorns.

He helped guide the Rams to Championship safety and he would achieve cult hero status by leading the Rams to promotion. This would be the fourth time that the towering centre half was involved in a promotion winning side.

Moore was entering the final stages of his career when he was sold to Barnsley, he made 83 appearances for the club. He is now retired and is currently holds a coaching role at West Brom.

Derby County's Darren Moore consoles West Bromwich Albion's Neil Clement at the end of the matchDerby County's Darren Moore consoles West Bromwich Albion's Neil Clement

Dean Leacock

Leacock joined the club from Fulham in the summer transfer window and was one of Billy Davies' first signings.

He would make an immediate impact and play a starring role in the centre of defence as he played 38 games in the promotion winning campaign. He would go on to make 117 appearances in a six-year spell at Pride Park.

Since then, Leacock's career has been spent in the lower leagues of the English Football pyramid. After spells with Crawley Town, Notts County and Crawley Town in the English Football League, the 32-year-old is now a free agent after being released by non-league side Whitehawk in 2016. 

Jay McEveley

McEveley was another signing made to strengthen the side in the January transfer window, arriving from Blackburn Rovers after coming through the academy at Ewood Park.

He would be a regular fixture in the left-back spot for the Rams and his no nonsense style of defending and ability to put in a cross made him a popular player during his three years at the club.

The 32-year-old is now with Scottish Premiership side Ross County after playing a number of seasons in League One.

Craig Fagan

Fagan was signed by Derby after an impressive spell with fellow Championship side Hull City, where he led the assists charts before making the move to Pride Park.

He was employed in a wide area role rather than his preferred striker position. During his 39 appearances, he was unable to replicate his form and scored just one goal for the Rams.

He would return back to Hull whilst Derby endured their disastrous Championship campaign as he fell victim to mass clear out from new boss Paul Jewell. Fagan was last seen playing in Singapore for top-flight side Brunei DPMM FC in 2015 before being released due to a long-term injury.

Matt Oakley

After spending 12 years with Southampton, Oakley signed for Derby on a free-transfer and was instantly installed as the club's captain by Billy Davies.

This signing would prove to be a masterstroke as he played a pivotal role in the team's success. He made 42 appearances and scored six goals from central midfield. 

Despite his injury troubles with Southampton, he would have a injury free spell at Pride Park and was surprisingly sold to East Midlands rivals Leicester City in January 2008. The 39-year-old plays for League Two side Exeter City but will retire at the end of this season, as he bids to end his career on high by helping guide them to promotion.

Derby County's Matthew Oakley celebrates promotionDerby County's Matthew Oakley celebrates promotion

Seth Johnson

Johnson was in his second spell with the club after previously leaving in a big money move to Leeds United in 2001.

He was always a popular figure at Pride Park and his return to the club in 2005 was welcomed by Rams fans. In his two spells with the club he made 136 appearances and despite his persistent knee troubles, he managed to play in 30 Championship games that season. 

Derby's win at Wembley proved to the last game in Johnson's injury ravaged career. He retired at the age of just 28-years-old following his release from the club.

Stephen Pearson

Pearson proved to be Derby's hero that day as his goal was what sealed promotion back to the Premier League.

The Scottish midfielder arrived from Celtic in the January transfer window but was unable to make an immediate impact as he struggled for form on the left side of midfield, this coincided with Derby's late season dip in form that saw them drop from the top of the division to the play-off places.

Despite the initial disappointment of failing to secure automatic promotion, Pearson played a key role in the club's play-off triumph. 34-year-old Pearson is now playing with Motherwell in Scotland, where he began his playing career.

Paul Peschisolido

The Canadian striker was a surprise starter in the play-off final, as he spent much of the season starting on the substitutes bench.

He joined the Rams from Sheffield United in 2004 and quickly gained a reputation for scoring goals in vital matches. He scored a respectable 20 goals in 91 appearances for the Rams but was released following the club's success.

He would join Luton Town before being forced to retire due to injury. Peschisolido is now the manager of the Canadian national side after previously managing Burton Albion, where he was replaced by now Rams manager Gary Rowett.

Steve Howard

Howard was Derby's big money signing from Luton Town in the summer and was the spearhead of the Derby attack.

An old-fashioned centre-forward, his industrious style of play and ability to score goals with both his feet and head quickly established himself as a fan favourite. Howard finished the season as the club's top goalscorer with 19 goals in all competition and won the club's Player of the Season award.

After struggling to make the same impact in the Premier League, he was sold to Leicester City after scoring just one goal in 20 appearances in the top flight. The 41-year-old retired in 2013 after finishing his career at his first professional club, Hartlepool United.

Giles Barnes

Barnes started the game on the bench at Wembley. The attacking midfield starlet picked up an injury towards the end of the season and was limited to two substitute appearances in the play-offs.

After playing a key part in getting the Rams to the cusp of the Premier League, Barnes would fittingly provide the assist for Pearson after coming on for Peschisolido in the early stages of the second half.

Barnes would suffer with more injuries and this ultimately led to his career not panning out as many expected. Following his release from Derby, Barnes was able to resurrect his career in the MLS. After a successful four-year spell with Houston Dynamo, the 28-year-old Jamaican international is now at Orlando City SC, alongside Kaka.

Derby County celebrate promotionDerby County celebrate promotion

 

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