Shaun Derry on leading Notts County to League One safety

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

SHAUN Derry never took many pris­on­ers as a player. And as the dust set­tled on Notts County’s amaz­ing es­cape from rel­e­ga­tion, he wasn’t about to start pulling any punches as a man­ager.

Bot­tom and adrift when he took charge in Novem­ber, the 36-year-old has kicked the Mag­pies into shape, with six wins from their fi­nal eight games mean­ing a fi­nal-day draw at Old­ham was enough to se­cure an­other sea­son in League One.

A boy­hood County fan who came through the ranks at Meadow Lane, Derry shed tears of joy on the pitch, hail­ing his play­ers for sav­ing “not just a club but a com­mu­nity”.

But in the cold, hung-over light of the morn­ing af­ter, Derry’s ela­tion had been re­placed by a sim­mer­ing anger at the state of his beloved club.

“The sup­port­ers of this club have been let down,” said Derry, who aban­doned a play­ing con­tract at Mill­wall to be­come County’s ninth man­ager in five chaotic years.


“And that’s not me point­ing the fin­ger at past man­agers by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. Ev­ery­body has to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what has hap­pened to Notts County, the board in­cluded.

“It’s been an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of mis­man­age­ment through­out and that boils down to the play­ers as well.

“I’ve been in and around plenty of dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions – ad­min­is­tra­tions, rel­e­ga­tions, ev­ery­thing that goes with it. And I’ve been in­volved with too many man­agers to even list.

“But no mat­ter what hap­pens, you’ve just got to stick in there and keep your own qual­i­ties, your own fo­cus. As a player, you set your own stan­dards.

“Play­ers are very quick to push the ex­cuse but­ton aren’t they? And as much as we should quite rightly hail stay­ing up as a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment, these play­ers have to take a very close look at them­selves in the mir­ror this sum­mer.

“They have to say ‘Hang on, have I done ev­ery­thing – ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing – to war­rant be­ing called a suc­cess?’ And if they’ve got high stan­dards, they’d have to say ‘Prob­a­bly not’.”

Derry knows a thing or two about poor stan­dards. Dur­ing his time at QPR, Hoops’ chair­man Tony Fer­nan­des was taken for a ride by agents and ad­vi­sors, leading to the ar­rival of dis­in­ter­ested mer­ce­nar­ies on as­tro­nom­i­cal wages.

The sub­se­quent rifts and di­vi­sions – with the likes of Jose Bos­ingwa and Chris Samba paid ten times more than Derry or Clint Hill for barely lift­ing a leg – re­sulted in what Harry Red­knapp called “the worst dress­ing room I’ve ever seen” and rel­e­ga­tion from the Pre­mier League.

“That QPR dress­ing room was like the wild west,” said Derry. “Punchups, ar­gu­ments, people not speak­ing to each other – ev­ery­thing was wrong.

“And on a smaller scale, this place was the same. It’s just that the In­di­ans weren’t as big as the ones at QPR.

“QPR was on a grander scale in terms of fi­nances, and in terms of the char­ac­ters and rep­u­ta­tions. But even then I al­ways had my own way, my own ideas on how I would com­bat that sit­u­a­tion. That’s why Notts County didn’t frighten me.”


And why he im­me­di­ately took a scythe to the squad, ship­ping out some 11 play­ers on loan by the end of Jan­uary, in­clud­ing the likes of Enoch Showunmi, David Bell and Danny Haynes.

“Me an as­sis­tant) ap­proach the first g that we fo our char hon­est p that’s wha wanted g

“I supp char­ac­ter tough de be part o

“And I

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