The Samaritans were collecting at Pride Park – mindful, perhaps, of poor Billy Davies and his sieve of a defence, which big teams like Arsenal (five goals) and Liverpool (six) have been so partial to this season. But by the time the Derby faithful drifted away, Davies was rattling a tin of his own. It was one which, by his own reckoning, will need all the loose change in the land – and more – if Derby are not to give up the ghost before January is out.
However, the board may have already decided that more drastic action is needed and if they are to inject some fresh money in a bid to keep Derby in the Premier League, Davies may not be around to spend it as it was reported last night that the former Preston manager could be leaving Pride Park for good today.
Still, he was worth listening to on Saturday night, though, as he revealed his view that Derby are doomed if they do not get £30m in the transfer window. "In my opinion we have spent just over £10m," he said. "In my opinion this club had to spend a minimum £40m to compete, over the two transfer windows. The team we've got at the moment aren't good enough to stay in the Premier League."
This is a strange way to motivate arguably the division's all-time weakest side, but Davies is driven by his unvarnished irritation with Adam Pearson, his new chairman, who has granted him just two mobile phone conversations and a single meeting at a team hotel since arriving here. "He's a busy man," Davies said, and you could almost hear the teeth grinding. " I've not been to a board meeting for such a long time. In an ideal world it would be nice to go to a board meeting," he added.
Yet who on earth might Pearson's money lure to this place? Davies says he has identified three of the six players he needs and cites Nicolas Anelka "who is saving Bolton on his own" as the calibre of player required by Derby. But the way things are shaping up – Liverpool, Manchester United and Blackburn lie ahead in a horrible December for Derby – all hope will have gone before the money gets here and anyone signing on will need his head examining.
If that is how it is destined to be, it is a shame, not least because football needs managers like Davies. The Scot demonstrated more pace in his dashes to the technical area than anything on offer from a languid Chelsea side, whose fluorescence on a murky night was limited to their strip. Chelsea's lack of flamboyance belonged to Mourinho's days and so did Avram Grant's reasoning as to why Michael Essien should not have been dismissed for a flagrant strike at Kenny Miller's face in the closing stages.
"When you have the uniform [kit] today there are no pockets. Nobody can put their hands in their pockets and sometimes you put your hand like this," he said, waving an arm about.
Chelsea's second goal seemed to flow from a retaliatory foul by Andrei Shevchenko which dispossessed Giles Barnes – but there was a league's difference between the sides. Frank Lampard, who bore the brunt of the anti-England chants, brushed the ball into Salomon Kalou's path for Chelsea's first and later rattled the post, Shaun Wright-Phillips netting the rebound.
The home crowd roused Derby into resistance, only to see Kenny Miller's effort unworthily ruled offside. Fleeting moments of hope: that's as good as it is going to get at Pride Park.
Goals: Kalou (17) 0-1; Wright-Phillips (73) 0-2.
Derby County (4-4-2): Bywater; Griffin, Davis, Moore, Leacock; McEveley, Fagan (Earnshaw, 86), Oakley (Feilhaber, 84), Jones; Miller, Barnes (Howard, 75). Substitutes not used: Price (gk), Mears.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Cudicini; Belletti, Terry, Ben-Haim, A Cole; Mikel, Lampard (Pizarro, 90), Sidwell (Essien, 75), Wright-Phillips; Shevchenko, Kalou. Substitutes not used: Hilario (gk), J Cole, Alex.
Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).
Booked: Chelsea A Cole.
Sent off: Essien (90).
Man of the match: Lampard.
Giles Barnes (Derby)
Hinted at potential in the second half but much will depend on where the 19-year-old might be plying his skills in the future.