Derek Dooley (1929-2008)

Derek Dooley, MBE was a football player, manager and chairman, and was a legend in Sheffield, respected equally by Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United supporters.

He was born in Pitsmoor, Sheffield on 13 December 1929.

He started his football league career with Lincoln City in 1946, but made only two appearances for them before joining Sheffield Wednesday the following year. In his time at Hillsborough he was a prolific goalscorer for Wednesday. Between 1950 and 1953 he scored 62 goals in 61 league games for the Owls, along with one goal from his two FA Cup appearances. It seemed only a matter of time before he would win full England honours.

That all changed on 14 February 1953, when he collided with the Preston goalkeeper George Thompson at Deepdale and broke his leg. After complications with gangrene set in, he lost his leg by amputation.

Dooley later returned to Sheffield Wednesday as manager between 1971 and 1973. Following his sacking on Christmas Eve 1973, he swapped his allegiance and moved to neighbours and rivals, Sheffield United.

Initially taken on as Commercial Manager, he went on to have a variety of roles including the role of managing director before taking on the job of chairman of United's Football Club board.

In 2003 he was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List. Later the same year he received an honorary doctorate degree from Sheffield Hallam University. He was also made a freeman of the City of Sheffield.

He had been an instrumental figure in the resurgence of the club which has seen the Blades return to the Premiership after an absence of 12 years. In April 2006, however, with the club still celebrating promotion, Dooley announced his resignation of the chairmanship to take up the role of Vice-President.

Dooley died at his home in Sheffield on 5 March 2008. His funeral took place on 14 March 2008 at Sheffield Cathedral, which was surrounded by thousands of fans from Sheffield's two major clubs who listened to the service on loudspeakers.

External Links

Obituary in The Times
Wikipedia article on Derek Dooley

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