Along with the rest of the Crawley Town football family I was shocked to hear of the sudden death of our former manager Dermot Drummy on Monday.
He was only 56 years old and the stark reality of his tragic early passing demonstrates that football only mimics life in general by sometimes being absolutely baffling.
We did not see the best of Dermot as he tried to make the difficult step up from managing at youth and reserve team level to managing the first team in the heat of the struggle for supremacy in the league. I am certain Harry Kewell would echo that thought as he is himself in a very similar situation.
Whether a different future might have seen Dermot establish himself as one of the nation’s leading managers must remain conjectural but I would certainly not have been surprised one iota if, indeed, he had built a fine reputation for himself.
He unfortunately irked some impatient supporters by showing apparent diffidence on the touchline. Some wanted him to rant and rave, perhaps in the fashion of Steve Evans, but managers can only do their job in a way that reflects their character.
Dermot was first of all a thinker where football was concerned. He studied it deeply and understood it well but only experience will allow that understanding to be successfully passed on to the players. There is far more to managing than being able to play the game to the highest level. Bobby Moore would perhaps be one of the finest illustrations of that.
You only had to talk to Dermot in a quieter moment away from the pitch to realise how considered and sensible was his approach to the game. I treasure my recollections of those times as I recognised that he was a man of honour with belief in his understanding and perception of the game we all love.
His record at Chelsea showed that he had it in him to turn good young players into great ones and perhaps we did not have enough players of sufficient capability for him to work that magic for Crawley Town – at least not in the short space of time he was allowed. Maybe he was a better coach than manager but it is a tremendous shame that he has not been allowed the time to fully prove himself in the toughest role.
We will all miss him and his understated prescience and, most of all, his love of football.