Training Ground Guru | Remembering Dermot Drummy: ‘An excellent coach and mentor’


Dermot Drummy with the 2010 FA Youth Cup: Chelsea’s first in 49 years

Written by Simon Austin — November 27, 2022

DERMOT DRUMMY had been again teaching at Chelsea’s Academy within the week earlier than he died.This was the place he’d loved lots of his greatest days as a coach, together with main their Under-18s to a primary FA Youth Cup in 49 years in 2010. Now Head of Youth Neil Bath had introduced him again in to do some classes and preserve him concerned within the sport.According to those that have been there that week, Drummy was in fantastic type, as humorous and ebullient as ever.

“He had us rolling about laughing, making an attempt on garments he’d simply purchased on eBay,” remembers one of many Blues coaches.However, just some days later, on the morning of Monday November twenty seventh, the 56-year-old’s physique was present in woodland close to the A414 in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, the place he lived. A short time later he was pronounced lifeless.The inquest was held 5 months later and a verdict of suicide was recorded by Edward Solomons, the Assistant Coroner for Hertfordshire. The courtroom heard from Drummy’s GP, who revealed that he had been seeing a counsellor “for low temper after dropping his soccer job”.

Chelsea’s Academy coaches had by no means seen this coming; neither had his closest pals in soccer. A phrase that stored developing once more and once more was, “I had no thought.”Yes, Drummy had been feeling low following his sacking as Head Coach of Crawley Town simply six months earlier, however he had clearly been placing a courageous face on.“I’d seen Dermot shortly earlier than and there was no approach I may ever have dreamt that he would do this,” says Neil Banfield, QPR’s assistant supervisor and a buddy of Drummy’s for the reason that Nineteen Seventies, after they performed district soccer collectively.They had labored collectively as London cabbies and then at Arsenal’s Academy for eight years. They had all the time stayed in contact, however Banfield had no inkling that his pal was contemplating taking his personal life.“Dermot was all the time serving to different individuals and he was all the time making individuals chuckle,” says Banfield, who went on to change into Arsenal first-team coach underneath Arsene Wenger.”Dermot had an impact on individuals’s lives, he actually did, and you don’t neglect somebody like that. He needs to be remembered.”And that is the explanation for this piece.

A ‘GREAT DEVELOPER’ AT ARSENAL

Dermot Drummy was born on January sixteenth 1961 in Islington, North London. He joined his beloved Arsenal in 1976, discovering himself alongside Paul Davis, Paul Vaessen and Brian McDermott within the youth and reserve sides, though he by no means broke by means of into the senior set-up.Instead, the midfielder went on to ply his commerce within the decrease leagues, with Hendon, Wealdstone and Enfield. In 1988, he and Iain Dowie scored the objectives in a 2-0 win for Hendon in opposition to Wembley FC within the ultimate of the Middlesex Charity Cup at Wembley Stadium.As his enjoying profession wound down, Drummy turned his hand to teaching, incomes his badges whereas working as a black cab driver. His previous buddy Banfield did precisely the identical. “We have been in that period the place we completed enjoying, didn’t have the careers we’d hoped for, and being London cabbies gave us the liberty to do our soccer as effectively,” he tells TGG.

Neil Banfield is now first-team coach at QPR

Being a cabbie truly helped the duo with their teaching. “It gave you a perspective, working with the general public,” Drummy later mentioned. “I didn’t make it as a participant at Arsenal and received up at 4am within the morning to work and then went teaching.“My journey has been completely different, however it means I can discuss to those lads.”In soccer, the coach grew to become famend for his wit and one-liners, little doubt honed throughout these years as a London taxi driver.One line he appreciated was: “Know why I gave up my job as a cabbie? Too many individuals speaking behind my again.”

Yet underlying this humour was a fierce ardour for teaching. An opportunity encounter with Liam Brady, by now the Head of Youth for Arsenal, took him again to the North London membership he beloved.Drummy began off by teaching the Under-12s and labored his approach up by means of the age teams. Over the years he helped to develop many children who went on to have first-team careers at each Arsenal and past.Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Emmanuel Frimpong, Jay Thomas, Francis Coquelin and Alex Iwobi have been just some.“Technically and tactically Dermot was superb and he was extraordinarily effectively considered in his teaching skill,” Banfield says, “however there was extra to it than that and it was what made him a terrific coach – the younger lads had a sense he was serving to them, not solely in soccer however in life. “He had a very good persona and introduced humour into it. The lads may relate to him. We all the time felt we had to assist these gamers grow to be younger males and they felt they may come to any of us.“There are two sorts of coaches – a crew coach and a developer. Dermot was the latter, a very good developer.”There was a detailed hyperlink between the Academy and first crew at Colney and Wenger later remembered Drummy as being “very very a lot appreciated right here.”

The Frenchman added: “He did an excellent job, He had an excellent file as a youth coach right here and after.”There was an amazing camaraderie between Drummy, Banfield and Steve Bould, who was coming by means of the teaching ranks after a well-known enjoying profession on the membership.“We have been shut, me, Dermot and Steve,” says Banfield. “When I used to be doing the 18s, Dermot was doing the 16s and many occasions after coaching we’d go over to The Colney Fox, have a Guinness and discuss soccer. “They have been nice occasions. Dermot had a depraved sense of humour, he was a particularly humorous fella. We have been all the time laughing and I miss him quite a bit.”

MAKING HISTORY AT CHELSEA

In 2007, Drummy left the Gunners to change into U16s coach at their London rivals Chelsea. The Blues have been investing closely of their youth programme and recognised Drummy’s pedigree as a participant developer.Two years later he took cost of the U18s and led them to their first FA Youth Cup in 49 years in his first season in cost. The 3-2 mixture win over Aston Villa was massive information for Chelsea, as a result of it introduced their arrival as an actual Academy energy.A interval of dominance adopted, in each home and European youth soccer.Next, Drummy took over the U21s, and in 2014 he led them to the Premier League title. The squad included Nathan Ake, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Lewis Baker, who’ve all gone on to forge spectacular senior careers. “Dermot was on the forefront of what occurred at Chelsea,” Banfield says. “The proof is within the pudding, whenever you have a look at the gamers who got here by means of underneath him.”However, he was pissed off by the shortage of first-team alternatives for his proficient crop of gamers. In October 2016, Drummy, by now at Crawley, mentioned: “Chelsea have produced loads of gamers as much as concerning the U20 stage, however then what occurs? They exit on mortgage. It’s messy. There is not any actual hyperlink to the primary crew.“I do not suppose Chelsea’s managers know sufficient about these younger gamers. Antonio Conte or any supervisor that is available in has to hit the bottom operating quick. You lose a sport and it’s alarm bells. Their remit is to maintain their jobs, to achieve success with the primary crew.”These phrases proved prescient, as a result of Drummy ended up getting the first-team alternative he had craved, however the homeowners did not present a lot endurance.

FIRST-TEAM MANAGEMENT (AND DISAPPOINTMENT)

Drummy was appointed boss of League Two Crawley Town in April 2016. Word has it that he confirmed Turkish proprietor Ziya Eren a clip from Only Fools and Horses when he was laying out his imaginative and prescient for the membership. It was meant as a humorous approach of serving to to clarify his background and persona.Despite having one of many smallest budgets within the division, Crawley stayed up. However, a run of 1 win in 13 led to Drummy being axed, only one yr into his two-year contract. “I feel he all the time wished to be a first-team coach, however in case you’re chasing it, typically it disappoints,” says Banfield. Drummy was a growth coach, which was appreciated throughout the squad, however maybe not by the proprietor.“I discovered from him as a person,” Crawley midfielder Josh Payne later defined. “He was sensible, probably the greatest man-managers I’ve come throughout. He received everybody collectively.“For me personally, the affect he made was unbelievable and you possibly can solely recognize him.”Publicly, Drummy was defiant. “I genuinely felt that staying within the league with our funds was successful,” he mentioned. “I’ve to evaluation myself and see what I feel went improper. I’ll study from that.”But privately he was hit arduous, particularly when he discovered himself out of labor for the primary time in years. This was why Bath invited him into Chelsea to assist with some classes.“His life was on the pitch and actually he was very sad to not be on it any extra,” Wenger later mentioned.

TRAGEDY

At 9.57am on Monday November twenty seventh, Drummy’s spouse phoned the police as a result of her husband had gone lacking. This was “out of character.”A search started and his physique was found in woodland close by. At 12.29pm, the 56-year-old was pronounced lifeless. Later, police discovered a observe he had written to his household, signed off, “I hope you forgive me”.Banfield discovered the horrible information from John Yems, a mutual buddy.“I couldn’t consider what I used to be listening to,” Banfield says. “I’d by no means have identified Dermot was considering of doing that.”Later that day, Drummy’s son, Joe, tweeted: “Ok, so that is the hardest day. Unfortunately, my Dad handed away this morning. I bloody beloved that man and couldn’t have been extra happy with his achievements in all facets of life. Best Dad I may have requested for. Too me a fucking legend and superior position mannequin.”Tributes got here from gamers and coaches Drummy had labored with too. Jack Wilshere tweeted, “Great man and nice coach. RIP mate,” and Michael Beale mentioned, “Terrible information. An excellent coach and mentor of younger gamers. Always obsessed with younger gamers and had a improbable sense of humour. Sleep effectively mate.”At his inquest, on April fifth 2018, it emerged that Drummy had been seeing a counsellor “for low temper after dropping his soccer job.”No-one in soccer appeared to have identified. Not the coaches he had seen at Chelsea the week earlier than; not his fellow college students on the LMA Diploma in Football Management.One of these, Chris Hargreaves, mentioned: “Like most of us, I’d by no means have identified that he had suffered from current bouts of despair – this after being sacked from Crawley and not feeling he had been given a correct second likelihood wherever.“I really feel very unhappy that Dermot couldn’t open up correctly to any of his fellow friends about his disappointment, or his frustrations, however I understand how proud individuals might be and how tough it may be to open up as a person. Certainly on the earth of soccer, anyway.”Even Banfield, a buddy of 40 years, hadn’t know.“I nonetheless discover it arduous to grasp,” he says. “I don’t suppose it’s ever come out why. Maybe life received on prime of him. When we had our conversations it received fairly deep at occasions, and we’d speak about life, however there was by no means a second after I thought, ‘He’s getting a bit blue right here.’“With psychological well being you simply by no means know what’s occurring inside, what may lead him to take his personal life. It’s such a tragic factor for the individuals you allow behind. “Mental well being is extraordinarily intricate and typically you possibly can’t management your emotions. You’ve received to strive and discuss and focus on your issues and it is so unhappy that Dermot wasn’t in a position to do this.”

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