Born 6 March 1935 Died 4 January 2013.
Derek spent the majority of his club career playing as a centre-forward for West Bromwich Albion, where he earned the nickname “The Tank”. In 1961–62 he was joint leading scorer in Division One – alongside Ray Crawford of Ipswich Town – with 33 goals. He also won 14 caps for the England national football team, scoring a total of eight goals, including two in the 1958 FIFA World Cup Finals.
Derek was born in Ripon and started his career in his native Yorkshire with Bradford Park Avenue. Derek was the first signing made by the former Tottenham Hotspur full-back Vic Buckingham after he had taken over from Jesse Carver as manager of West Bromwich Albion in February 1953. Signed for £2,000, Derek completed his National Service in the Army before establishing himself full-time at The Hawthorns.
Coached by the former Baggies’ former striker W.G. Richardson, Derek had to wait until August 1955 to make his West Bromwich Albion League debut, a 2–0 home win over Everton in which he scored twice after being selected in place of the injured Ronnie Allen. He became a regular in the first team during the 1956–57 season, and his committed and powerful style of play earned him the nickname “The Tank” from the Albion supporters.
Derek scored 20 goals in the 1956–57 season, which included a run to the FA Cup semi-finals where Albion lost to Aston Villa. He scored 80 goals over the next three seasons – 23 in 1957–58, 28 in 1958–59 and 29 in 1959–60, including five in a 6–2 home League win over Everton. He added 18 in 1960–61 and then claimed 33 League goals the following season, when he finished joint top scorer in the First Division with Ipswich Town’s Ray Crawford. This remains the highest post-war League total by a West Bromwich Albion player.
Derek scored eight goals in 14 appearances for England. He scored on his debut against Scotland at Wembley in a 2–1 win in April 1957, and netted twice in the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden, against the Soviet Union and Austria. His last England appearance came against Mexico in 1961. He also gained under-23 honours and netted a hat-trick for the Football League against the Scottish League in 1958.
In March 1963, after scoring 16 goals in 28 appearances that season, including four against Bolton Wanderers, Derek was transferred to Chelsea for £50,000. In a decade at Albion, he had scored 173 goals in 291 games. His spell at Stamford Bridge under Tommy Docherty was short and unsuccessful, and in the close season of the same year he moved to Second Division Manchester City for £35,000.
Derek made his Manchester City debut on the opening day of the 1963–64 season against Portsmouth, and scored his first goal for the club four days later, at Cardiff.
Following the arrival of Jimmy Murray from Wolves in November, he and Derek formed a productive strike partnership. From late November to the end of December, Derek scored in eight consecutive matches. This included a run of six league games in which Murray and Derek scored 21 goals between them. Derek’s goals also helped Manchester City to the semi-finals of the League Cup, a run in which Derek scored in every round. Derek finished the season as the club’s leading goal scorer with 36 goals, 30 of them in the league.
Derek continued to score regularly in the 1964–65 season. His goals included a first half hat-trick at Preston North End. However, his season was curtailed when he suffered a knee injury in a match at Derby County on 30 January. This proved to be his last match for the club, and on 29 July 1965 he moved to Crystal Palace. In total Derek scored 56 goals in all competitions in 76 appearances for the Maine Road club.
Derek spent less than a season at Crystal Palace (1965/66) where he made 21 appearances scoring 5 goals.
Gordon Clark signed Derek for the Posh from Crystal Palace in March 1966 (in the same deal that brought Tony Millington to the Posh). Derek scored within 4 minutes on his debut in Posh’s 5-2 win at Exeter in March 1966. Derek added just 1 more goal for the Posh before moving onto Luton Town. In total Derek made 16 appearances for the Posh.
In March 1967 Derek joined Stockport County, in an exchange deal involving Keith Allen. At Stockport Derek gained the first medal of his career, the Fourth Division title in 1967. After winding down his career in non-League football, he was the landlord of the Moss Rose pub, adjacent to Macclesfield Town’s ground of the same name. He also worked as a delivery driver before returning to The Hawthorns in 1983 to work as a lottery agent as well as playing for the Albion All Stars charity team, which he later managed.
In 2002 Derek was based in Birmingham and was working as a drier for a sign company.
Derek died on 4 January 2013 aged 77. In tribute to Kevan, West Bromwich Albion players wore black armbands for their FA Cup match the day after his death.
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