Shaun Derry: I questioned Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock - and the next day was sold to Portsmouth
Derry had appeared 41 times that season as a midfield regular for the Division One Blades.
Yet the following day he was told a £300,000 move to Fratton Park had been fixed – and instructed to travel down to sign.
Derry told The News: ‘I was quite an outspoken young player, so to speak, and in the dressing room after a defeat at Port Vale I mentioned to Neil about a decision he’d made in the game.
‘I was due to go to Manchester City about two weeks earlier, but United turned down the offer, the manager wanted to keep me.
‘Then I was pretty vocal in something I said after a game and was sold on the Sunday morning the next day.
‘I had been pretty gobby and Neil showed his teeth. I was gone. He had done the deal.
‘It was funny because my team-mate Paul Devlin rang me on the Monday and, that morning, Neil said something to the squad along the lines of: “That will be the last time anyone confronts me after a game. I will fire you off as far down the country as possible. Look where Shaun Derry is!”.
‘Fast forward a few years, Neil signed me on loan from Leeds when he was Palace boss, before signing me permanently. Then recruited me for QPR.
‘Neil doesn’t hold a grudge, he’s not that kind of guy. He says it how it is and I am pretty much the same. You say it how it is and crack on.’
Derry would make 55 appearances and scored once during an impressive two-and-a-half stay at Fratton Park in which he was also awarded the captaincy.
He signed for Crystal Palace in August 2002 by Trevor Francis in a £400,000 deal.
Derry added: ‘I was delighted to move to Pompey.
‘At that point, it was the first opportunity I could live my own life. At Sheffield United, I was living in my own house in Nottingham and commuting, with my parents supporting me. I was going around for tea and my mum would drop the shopping off.
‘At Pompey, I lived in the Solent Hotel in Whiteley for the opening three months. It was me Justin Edinburgh, Ceri Hughes, Kevin Harper, a good four or five of us signed within a week of each other.
‘To be a young lad living in a hotel was brilliant. Then I moved to Port Solent.
‘You hear on the grapevine what fans Pompey had down there – and they definitely lived up to that.’
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