“At Sheffield United, when he sold me to Portsmouth, I found him very clinical, it was a case of make a decision, move on. But fast forward 10 years to QPR and it was a very different Neil Warnock. At QPR he was very much closer to the boys, close in respecting them as people. He was always there for you, if you needed time away from the club, it was never an issue.”
On the pitch, while his tactics may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, Derry reckons he has honed the unbeatable knack of getting his players to buy into his approach. What they respond to, he suggested, is the clarity of Warnock’s instruction.
“In terms of ability to simplify a game, I’ve never met anyone like him. I never once went on the pitch not knowing what the job was,” he said. “When I’ve done management courses, the one thing they ask for is clarity. I think I’ve had a very good teacher.
“When we signed Danny Gabbidon at QPR, a lovely footballer, but not a typical kick-it-in-row-Z number five, I remember him saying after his first couple of sessions: ‘Cor he doesn’t half simplify the game’. That’s what his players love.”