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Dean's Derby Development


11:38 15th February 2013

Boss recalls fond memories

There may be happy memories of Wolves’ most recent trip to Pride Park – the 3-2 win which took the club to the brink of promotion in 2009 – while boss Dean Saunders is also full of fond recollections of Derby County.


And that’s because the manager spent three years as a Ram from 1988-91, registering a goal tally of 42 from 106 games in a time in his career which saw him turn into a “proper striker.”


It was also the chance to form a working relationship with Derby boss Arthur Cox which has continued to this day with Dean still speaking regularly to his former mentor and asking his managerial advice.


“Meeting Arthur Cox was something – he was like a sergeant major,” says the Wolves boss.


“I used to just run, play and score – I didn’t really used to think about it very much.


“But he and Derby formed me into a proper striker.


“He made me start to think about things such as who I was playing against, which was an opponent’s stronger and weaker foot and which was the goalkeeper’s least favourite side to get down for shots.


“So he made me think about what advantages I could gain to get in on goal - he gave me a plan of what to do.


“No one ever hammers me at any of the clubs where I was at and that was because I tried.


“If you keep trying, they’ll forgive you the chances you miss and all the things you can’t do.

“I scored a few goals for Oxford in the old top flight but Derby was probably where I made my name.


“Arthur Cox sort of hypnotised me into believing I could run defenders into the ground and that when they were tired, I’d score.


“And considering the number of goals I scored late on in games, I actually believed everything he told me.


“I believed him, because if someone tells you that if you keep running two centre backs into the ground you’ll get a chance to score and then it happens in a couple of games, you believe it, so I kept doing it.”


The boss has also taken many of the lessons learned under Cox into his own managerial career.


“He still rings me now and again; he said to me ‘sign players who have done well for someone else because you can’t change their character’,” adds Dean.


“You might think you can, but you can’t change their characters.


“He said you can improve them a little bit by them taking on bits of advice.


“He said ‘you can coach players and you understand football, so if they’ve done well for someone else, they will do well for you’, unless something goes wrong somewhere.


“So I’ve tried to do that as I’ve gone along – I tried to do it at Doncaster, when I tried to bring players in who have been in winning teams, and Kaspars Gorkss has been in a winning side.

“There are exceptions to the rule – you might sign a player who hasn’t scored for a while and you think ‘I can rejuvenate him’, but that mentality and desire to do well comes before the talent.”

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