'˜For me, he was more than a manager' - Dean Cox pays tribute to Drummy

'˜For me, he was more than a manager'. These were the words of Dean Cox, who this week paid tribute to Dermot Drummy following his tragic death last week.

Dean Cox in action for Crawley Town
Dean Cox in action for Crawley Town

Drummy signed Cox after the midfielder left Leyton Orient.

Cox said: “I was devastated when I heard. For me, he was more than a manager.

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“I was going through a particularly bad time in my private life and he was the one who gave me a bit of extra time off and allowed me to get my head together.”

And Cox appreciated how the former Chelsea and Arsenal youth coach allowed him to enjoy his football.

He said: “On the football side, he used to just let me do what I want, so to speak, just go and enjoy it.

“He wasn’t a manager who was regimented in certain ways and he let you express yourself.”

Cox was also shocked when Drummy left Crawley Town, believing he could have turned it around for the League Two club.

He said: “As a person he was one of the nicest managers I have ever had.

“He was a really, really nice man and he did a lot of good things at Crawley.

“He took the club forward and for me it was a shock when he left. I thought if he was given the time he may have been able to turn that around.

“As a person I can’t speak highly enough of him, just such a nice man.”

After Cox left Leyton Orient, a lot of clubs were after him. But the draw of being so close to his home town of Haywards Heath and working with Drummy meant he signed for the Reds.

He said: “I left Leyton Orient and have always lived in Haywards Heath, so when the call came I couldn’t believe my luck.

“As soon as I met him I knew I wanted to sign. It was just a case of getting the paperwork done.

“Meeting him and speaking about what he wanted to do and how he saw me fitting in was great. It was an hour meeting and I told I am here to play and I will sign. It was done very quickly.”

Cox admittedly knew nothing about Drummy before they met, but other players had prepared him for what to expect.

He said: “Jimmy knew him longer than I had, and other players like Billy [Clifford] and Kaby [Djalo], who had worked with him at Chelsea had told me how nice he was and from the moment I met him and saw how nice he was I could see where they were coming from. I knew I was going to enjoy myself, that’s for sure.”

One running theme in all the tributes paid to Drummy was that he treated everyone at the club the same. Cox said: “The stewards, the cleaners and everyone would be treated the same as a player who was performing well, that’s just the way he was. Dermot treated everyone with the utmost respect and that was why it was such a nice place to go and train.

“Along with Matt Gray, they were a really good double act. Matt Gray was good with the camaraderie with the lads and they just bounced off each other.

“The team spirit around the whole club was brilliant and we all used to mix together nicely.

“I am just devastated because he’s such a nice man. Condolences go to his family and friends.”

And Cox believes it won’t be easy for some of the players at Crawley to get over the news of his death.

He said: “It’s been down at the club, it’s hard for everyone to get to grips with, for everyone who had played for him especially it’s just pure shock and I think that will stay for a while.

“He was such a workaholic, he loved football. You can see by all the tweets from the likes of Loftus-Cheek and star players how highly they regard him as a coach and that speaks volumes throughout the whole of football, not just Crawley Town.”