It's been another busy week up north for me, with a couple of engagements at cricket dinners thrown in, so there was no opportunity to comment at the time on the news that Chief Executive Simon Storey is leaving the club, after six and a half years, to take up a similar role at Kent.
It is always difficult to comment on the departure of a key off-field figure, because the reality is that none of us are really sure what they do. Will Taylor, club secretary for 51 years in a similar role to that held by Storey, was respected for his loyalty to the club, liked for his at times quirky personality and humour, yet disliked for his parsimony and at times brusque manner.
In positions of authority it is always so and I recall being asked at interview for a senior role a few years back whether I would sooner be liked or feared as a manager.
Neither, was my reply. I would sooner be respected. In any role you cannot have everyone like you, because the nature of your decisions will always impact on some individuals to their detriment. But if they can see the rationale behind a decision and it is handled the right way, they can at least accept it a little better.
So it is that social media this week has seen comments of support for our departing chief executive, but others of a disparaging nature that suggest that he hadn't enjoyed the backing of the club's followers.
I have come to know him over the past six years and found him respectful of what I do, usually, though not always, supportive. From many sources, in and around the club, I hear of a man of considerable business acumen, as one might expect with his background, and one who undeniably has made the club more professional in its off field dealings than before. The amount of money generated by events in the marquee, by high profile concerts, the Women's World Cup and by the likes of recent Diwali and fireworks celebrations are testament to a man who has, with the support of a good staff, increased the club's revenue streams beyond the imagination of Will Taylor all those years ago.
Then, a banner on the County Ground advertising the local cinema was ground-breaking, even if it was the idea of Walter Goodyear. The legendary groundsman even introduced partnership working to the club, by means of a complimentary pass to the ground for the manager of the local cinema, in return for free cinema access for Walter and his family...
But I digress. Compare the ground at Derby with that six years ago and you get a true reflection of the worth of Simon Storey. It looks like a cricket ground now and the marquee, revamped pavilion, media centre and general improvements are there for some time to come in recognition of his hard work.
Conversely, and I have mentioned this before, the off-field spend has increased and, in comparative terms, that on cricket has decreased. That is my major gripe about his tenure, one he could, of course defend and has done to me. Not to the point where I was convinced, because the major spend on a sports club MUST be on the sport. When it drops, pro rata, as it has done, there must be questions asked.
I feel that whoever takes over the role has to look at an off-field structure that has become management-heavy and, for me and I know others, is taking too much money from the side of the business that is their raison d'etre. While commercial activity is essential for the club's future, so too is sufficient money to build on the playing foundations of last season.
While I have confidence that Dave Houghton and his team will do a good job, they can only do so if there is the financial support to bring in players better than those we have. Only Simon Storey and his interim successor, Ryan Duckett, will know if that is the case, but the club board needs to look closely at the role and the off-field management structure and decide if both are fit for purpose.
Rumours of senior off field salaries and bonuses have gone around the ground twice in the season just past and the board has to ensure that, while we are paying a fair rate to attract a candidate of suitable talents, we are not paying more than a club of our limited resources can afford, or justify.
The role is a key one and for me, ideally needs to be filled by someone of a sporting background. Wasim Khan is a fine example at Leicestershire, Rob Andrew at Sussex doing a similar job. It's not essential though, and Duckett, an approachable and pleasant man, could be a strong candidate. Yet there is now an opportunity to look at the role and underlying structures, save some money and plough it into the side of the club that most needs it.
This is not an assertion made from naivety. I was once part of a management team of five, which became three, which became two over the course of time. It was not a reflection on poor work by predecessors, rather an acceptance that things must change, be rationalised and be even more productive as a consequence.
I wish Simon Storey well. His true legacy will doubtless become apparent in the months and seasons ahead.
The work starts now to find the right way forward for the club.
It is crucial that we get the role, the appointment, the salary and the underlying structure correct.