By Jon Couch
NON-LEAGUE clubs have led the tributes for former player, manager and coach Dermot Drummy, who has died at the age of 56.
The Academy guru forged a successful career in Non-League football before going onto coach both Arsenal and Chelsea where he nurtured stars such as Ashley Cole, Jack Wilshere and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
He then went on to manager League Two Crawley Town in April 2016 and spent 13 months with the Red Devils being leaving in May this year.
Drummy’s death on Monday morning was confirmed by his son Joe but cause of death is as yet unknown.
An Arsenal apprentice, Drummy learned his trade in Non-League where he turned out for the likes of Hendon, Wealdstone, Enfield, Ware and St Albans City.
He took his first steps into management when he was appointed player/manager at Ware in 1996 but left the club halfway through his first season to take up a role at Arsenal’s academy.
While there, Drummy worked with some of Arsenal’s brightest young talents before joining London rivals Chelsea as academy boss in January 2009.
The following season he guided Chelsea to their first FA Youth Cup success in 49 years before replacing Steve Holland as the club’s reserve-team boss in 2011.
He won the U21 Premier League title with Chelsea in 2014 but left the club two years later to take over his first head coach position in league football with Crawley, leaving by mutual consent a year later.
Drummy’s former clubs have rallied round and expressed their sadness of his passing, including Bostik League Hendon, who tweeted: “Shocked to hear of the passing of @dermotdrummy7 yesterday. A genuinely class act on the field and a gentleman off it. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time. #RIPDermot.
National League South Wealdstone FC added: “Just learnt of the very sad passing of our former player Dermot Drummy. Our sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues of Dermot.”
And Crawley Town tweeted: “Everyone at the club is devastated by the news that our former manager Dermot Drummy passed away earlier today. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
“Dermot was a real people person. He had time for everyone at the club and he loved to make us laugh! He brought many of the current squad to Crawley and they are as stunned as we all are at this terrible news.”