Distinguishing features Always well tanned, accompanied by (considerably younger) blonde wife. Looks for all the world like a veteran Hollywood actor – Paul Newman, maybe, or Clint Eastwood – when dealing with bolshie agents or managers.
Habitat Built up plumbing and heating business and kitchen and bathroom centre, sold it, then, with a nifty piece of footwork, bought it back again for less than he received for it. Then, a couple of years later, sold it again for more than he paid! (Easy, eh?)
What use is he? Has overseen redevelopment of Meadow Lane from state of the art 1920s ground into modern concrete stadium with plastic seats. Still, the toilets work, as befits his background, although we don’t think he actually did the plumbing himself. Has also enabled us to see at first hand a wide diversity of football managers at work (Barnwell, Warnock, Walker, Slade, Kendall, Murphy, Thompson, Allardyce). Five Wembley appearances during his reign (five more than before) and constant promotions and relegations have earned undying gratitude of the groundhopping fraternity among Notts fans. Between 1989 and 1998, County played every other League club.
Who remembers his birthday? General feeling is that things could have been worse if he hadn’t come on the scene in 1986. Some cannot forgive his previous connections with that mob across the river, and hey, compared to what they’ve had, he’s wonderful. Emphasis on containing costs and running a tight ship has not endeared him to some who accuse him of lack of ambition.
Quote unquote “You lot are a bloody disgrace” – to several thousand disrespectful Leicester fans who refused to remain silent during his half-time speech at the official opening of the new stands, August 1992.
“I might just have done it this time” – appointment of Howard Kendall as manager, January 1995 (sacked ten weeks later).
“If I don’t get it right this time they’ll run me out of town” – appointment of Colin Murphy as manager, July 1995 (sacked December 1996).
Other offences to be taken into consideration The main stand at Meadow Lane is named after him, while Tommy Lawton, the greatest player in the club’s history, has to make do with a bar at the back of the stand. Previously involved with Forest, where he had a major falling-out with Brian Clough.
The club wasn’t big enough for both of them, so Derek had to go, though they have since made up. Also managed to upset Birmingham’s Karren Brady by maintaining strict “men only” chairman’s room.
From WSC 152 October 1999. What was happening this month