Shaun Derry - Fans memories of a combative midfielder

"Derry's gonna get ya!" was the chant from the Elland Road faithful.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 11:30 am
Shaun Derry celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Coca-Cola Championship clash against West Ham United at Elland Road in February 2005. PIC: Getty
Shaun Derry celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Coca-Cola Championship clash against West Ham United at Elland Road in February 2005. PIC: Getty

Shaun Derry brought bite, energy and menace to Leeds United's midfield during his three years with the club.

And he enjoyed immediate cult status among Whites watchers after marking his home bow with the winning goal against West Ham United in February 2005.

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The day Shaun Derry became an instant Leeds United hero

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Shaun Derry celebrates equalising against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Roadf in April 2004. The game finidshed 1-1. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Derry was the first to admit goal scoring - at the time averaging just one per season in his career - was not his forte, but it could have all changed after he stumbled upon a new pre-match superstition ahead of the Hammers clash.

"Every footballer has their own pre-match routine and I always have pasta, chicken, beans and scrambled egg for my meal. I am staying in a hotel at the moment with my girlfriend and I rang down to reception, but they wouldn't do my pre-match meal, " he told the YEP at the time.

"So we had to walk into town and we ended up in a greasy spoon cafe near the market. I was sitting there and said to my girlfriend 'You do realise that if I score today, we will have to come here every Saturday?' I had beans on toast and about seven Lambert & Butlers due to it being so smoky in there. I had to shower when I got back to the hotel, but it did the trick."

He would go on to score three goals for the Whites from 71 league appearances which included helping the club reach the Championship play-off final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in May 2006.

A dejected Shaun Derry sits on the pitch after conceding a penalty during the Championship play-off final against Watford at the Millennium Stadium in May 2006. PIC: Getty

He was one of the few players who emerged from a 3-0 loss against Watford with credit, though his clumsy concession of a second-half penalty summed up the afternoon.

“No other game made me feel like that,” admitted Derry in an interview with former YEP football writer Phil Hay in 2015. “It was disastrous, my biggest disappointment by a mile."

He returned to former club Crystal Palace on loan in November 2007, a move which was ultimately made permanent.

"Leeds were a club I could have stayed with forever," said Derry. "Those were the quickest three years of my life.”

Your YEP asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a tough tackling player who always wore his heart on his sleeve.

Responses included:

David J Díaz - "His goal v West Ham. He was a good leader and a good fit for us, in my opinion."

Richard Lang - "Great player for Leeds, was the mainstay of the team that just missed out on promotion under Blackwell."

Chris Pilmoor - "Always loved Derry as a player. No-nonsense and never say die spirit."

Andy Scott -"Derry's Gonna Get Ya."

Dougie Walsh - "Hard player."

Dave Williams - " Only three goals in midfield from 71 games is not great. Strong dedicated player though."

Liam Chapman - "Had his football boots in a Morrisons plastic bag when we went to a training session."

DG (@welshcentrehalf) - "Had a chat with him at Craven Cottage on Tuesday - very nice bloke. And loved watching him playing for us - no nonsense, and top commitment!"


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