Derby County crash: Ian Holloway’s emotional message to Rams’ drink-drivers urging ‘take responsibility and re

Derby County crash: Ian Holloway’s emotional message to Rams’ drink-drivers urging ‘take responsibility and re

Ian Holloway has issued a heartfelt plea to the Derby players charged with drink-driving, urging them to ‘take responsibility and realise the privilege you’ve got’.

Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett were involved in a car crash last month after a club-sanctioned night out, with captain Richard Keogh – a passenger in one of the vehicles – suffering a serious injury that has sidelined him for 15 months.

The aforementioned pair were both charged with drink-driving, and reports suggested they were facing the sack from their club over the incident.

Despite this, manager Phillip Cocu selected Lawrence and Bennett for Wednesday’s Championship match against Barnsley, with the former winning a penalty in an eventual 2-2 draw.

The Dutchman insisted after the match that the pair are not ‘off the hook’, even though they are back playing for Derby.

“In the end the players have to have the possibility to give something back to the club and the fans on the pitch,” said the Rams boss.

“That’s the only podium they have to give a response and it still doesn’t change the fact of what we said as a club. That will definitely happen, so they are not off the hook.

“But also they are part of our team and the club and we have to give them the possibility to give a good response.

“They are affected by it very much.

“I spoke the last few days a lot with the players and they were eager to go and play.”

While discussing Lawrence and Bennett’s return to the Derby side the day after the game, former Blackpool, Crystal Palace and QPR manager Holloway could not contain his emotion.

He admitted being disappointed with the Rams pair and said the club’s supporters have every right to be ‘really, really angry’ with Lawrence and Bennett over their actions.

And Holloway wants all footballers – not just those Derby players involved in the car crash – to realise they are in a privileged position which means they must show responsibility and maturity.

Speaking on Thursday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Holloway said: “Obviously I don’t know the situation they were in, but it is just such a big let-down, when they are professional footballers.

“’Professional’ – that is the word they should remember, and it’s the word I used to bang on about all the time.

“The difference between you and everybody out there who loves playing [football] is that you are paid to play, so that should be your priority all day long.

“I think they’ve let every single Derby County fan, who pays their money week in, week out, down. They’ve let their manager down.

“They’ve [the club] have not been playing very well, they’ve not been achieving what they need to achieve, so that should be their focus.

“What is going on? Yet, they still get rewarded with their position.


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“I can’t tell you how disappointed I am.

“You’ve got to take responsibility and realise the privilege you’ve got, and they are not doing it.

“I’m not just on about Derby, I’m talking about footballers – they are not doing it.”

Holloway did not stop there, though, beginning a second speech when the topic was raised later in the show.

“I get so upset and so angry,” he continued. “They’ve abused the privilege of their job, of playing for Derby County, and all that means to the people before them, all the supporters before them and every single person who loves Derby County.

“For me they’ve just been stupid and selfish. What is it all about?

Pictures of the night were shared on social media, with Bennett captured drinking…

SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone

Pictures of the night were shared on social media, with Bennett captured drinking…

… and later throwing up in a urinal

SnapChat/ Tom Huddlestone

… and later throwing up in a urinal

“I really feel for their manager; I met him a couple of months ago and he absolutely blew me away with the determination he’s shown in his life, and his professionalism.

“It’s all right arranging club dos where you go out, but why didn’t they just go home?

“I feel for everybody who is a Derby supporter; they are there in their thousands, week in, week out, and if I was one of them I’d be thinking ‘what is going on?’.

“I’d be really, really angry.”

You can watch Ian Holloway discussing the Derby drink-driving incident, above…