Position : Forward
Played : 1986-7 to 1987-88
Appearances : 42
Goals : 10
Eddie Gray’s first signing was unsurprisingly an old team-mate from Leeds. Derek had a sackful of medals and 12 Scotland caps from his ten year stint with Rangers but came to England with Leeds United ( for £160,000 ) in 1980 after losing his regular place in the side. Unfortunately Leeds were in serious decline by that point and Derek struggled to make an impression scoring 10 in 50 appearances over three years before being loaned out to Bulova in Hong Kong to save money post-relegation. In 1983 Billy McNeill signed him for newly-relegated Manchester City (again for £160,000) where he and Jim Tolmie hit the ground running and scored a shedload in the first half of the season, Derek finishing top scorer with 16. Unfortunately they faded badly in the new year and City just missed out on promotion. Derek was replaced by Tony Cunningham and moved on to struggling Swansea scoring only 3 in 21 appearances. He spent 1985-6 with Racing Jet of Belgium but made only 2 appearances for them and was a free agent when we signed him.
I spoke to a Leeds fan just after we signed him who said he was a strange player who looked skilful one moment and clumsy the next which turned out to be a fair summary. At 33 and without much recent football Eddie Gray knew there was a fitness issue and largely saved Derek for home games though he did score an absolutely vital winner at Hereford which gave us a pathway to survival. Derek played his part with some more crucial goals plus assists for partner Lyndon Simmonds and scored the opener in the climactic 2-1 defeat of Stockport with a well-placed header.
Derek started the 1987-88 season playing in every game but age was starting to creep up on him and he was increasingly ineffective though he did score a good goal to put us 2-0 up against Bolton in November. I think that goal ended Moggy’s hooligan days as he was escorted out of Spotland for invading the pitch and the Observer in describing the incident referred to him as “a middle-aged man “ . His charity epiphany seems to have happened shortly afterwards. Soon after that game Tommy Cannon’s resignation as Chairman precipitated a financial crisis and the new Board made Derek, who was only on month-to-month terms, redundant. He signed for Airdrie but having settled in Lancashire continued to train with us. Despite a great return of 4 goals in 9 games Derek found the travelling too much and signed for Macclesfield the following season. He also played for Curzon Ashton before retiring. Since then he has worked as a salesman, first for Reebok and more recently as national sales manager for a firm selling jacuzzis.