In December 1950 the FA withdrew its ban on floodlit football which allowed English clubs to install floodlights. However, competitive games under floodlights were still banned by the FA and clubs that had installed these had to organise friendly matches to use them. One such match was Derby’s friendly at Aldershot on Monday 18 October 1954. Derby were a team in decline and on their way towards relegation to Division 3 North only two seasons after being relegated from the First Division. It would appear that this was Derby’s only visit to the Recreation Ground having never faced Aldershot in the League. The only other meeting between the two clubs was at the Baseball Ground in the 1932/1933 FA Cup which Derby won 2-0 on their way to the semi-final.
Derby won the friendly 2-0, Tommy Powell heading Derby in front after 20 minutes and Stuart Imlach scoring the second in the 70th minute. The Derby team that evening was Hunter, Mozley, Barrowcliffe, Parry, Young, Upton, Clarke, Powell, Lee, Dunn and Imlach. The eight page programme consists of the usual club news, pen pictures of the Rams and team line-ups surrounded by adverts.
Each year as the latest rounds of the FA Cup are played, many games are postponed as FA Cup ties take precedence over league fixtures. These postponements often left teams with a free Saturday and it was common in the past for clubs to organise friendly matches to avoid not playing at a crucial stage of the season. Derby found themselves in this situation in 1959/1960 when their Second Division away game at Aston Villa was postponed as Villa were involved in an FA Cup 6th round tie at home to Preston North End. The Rams had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United in the third round and arranged a friendly away at Dundee United on Saturday 12 March 1960. United were in the Scottish Second Division but were pushing strongly for promotion and at the time were second in the league, one point behind leaders St Johnstone. The Derby team flew to the match leaving Burnaston airport at 9.30 on the morning of the game, apparently the first time that a Derby County team had flown to a match in Britain.
Eagerly awaiting the Rams’ arrival was Dundee United director Duncan Hutchinson who played for the Rams as an inside forward or winger in the early 1930s. He was particularly looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with the Rams trainer Ralph Hann. The pair of them had moved to the Baseball Ground from Newcastle United in March 1932 for a combined fee of £3,100. Hutchinson made 30 appearances for Derby before moving to Hull City in July 1934.
A crowd of 5,715 watched Derby take the lead through Thompson in the fifth minute but United went on to win 3-2, Newberry the other scorer for the Rams. Derby’s line up was: Adlington, Conwell, Martin, Parry, Smith, Davies, Hannigan, Thompson, Newberry, Swallow and Cargie. The Dundee United side were all part timers and at centre half was a young Ron Yeats who went on to great success with Liverpool in the 1960s. The match programme is consists of six pages which opens out into a single sheet. Apart from short club notes, the team line-ups and the half time score chart, the programme is mainly adverts.
Derby County’s first game after winning the Championship in 1975 was a friendly at Feijenoord on 30 July. Charlie George had signed for the Rams in the summer but could not play as he was suffering from a muscle strain. His first game in a Rams shirt was against Celtic on 2 August 1975. Feijenoord had finished one point behind Champions PSV Eindhoven and the prospect of seeing two strong sides attracted a crowd of 48,000. The game finished 0-0, with David Nish having the best chance to win the match for the Rams when he found himself clear but pulled his shot wide. Goalkeeper Reilsma saved from a Rioch free kick in the first half and both Davies and Lee came close to scoring. Derby’s only real scare came when World Cup full back de Jong went through but his shot came off the inside of the post and McFarland cleared. Derby’s starting XI was Boulton, Webster, Nish, Rioch, McFarland, Todd, Powell (sub: Bourne 45 mins), Gemmill, Davies, Hector and Lee. The programme has a stiff cover printed in red, green and black on white, and consists of 12 pages printed on flimsy paper.