It was once said, probably by me, that if we had a team of 11 Keith Walwyns we would never lose a game. I could equally have said the same thing about Derek Hood. All commitment and more than a modicum of skill meant that he was a firm favourite with the Bootham Crescent crowd.
One day, selling New Frontiers Derek Hood walked by, "all for a good cause" goes the sales pitch, Derek Hood quipped something about he being a good cause himself. I smiled politely as he got out his 50 pence. I made a mental note, do a Derek Hood article. Finally I've got pen to paper, no make that fingers to keyboard.
Derek joined City in February 1980, initially on loan, the move being sealed with a nominal £2,000 transfer fee.
Born in County Durham, he had joined West Bromwich Albion as an apprentice. I'm sure that they harboured hopes that he would be another canny lad following in the footsteps of Bryan Robson. However, things didn't work out and he joined Hull in 1977. He made his Football League debut at Hull but made only 24 league appearances in over 2 years before joining City. He was signed just before Charlie Wright left the club.
At City, his powerful surging runs from deep soon made him a firm favourite in those depressing days of the early 1980s.
On joining City, he played right back, his attacking forays adding much to City's play as they went forward.
He was a shining light in the pre Denis Smith days. When Smith arrived, Derek was an integral part in the improvement. An ever present in 1981-2, likewise the following season when he beat both Keith Walwyn and John Byrne to be voted 'Clubman Of The Year'.
The championship season started on a gloomy note. He suffered a cartilage injury playing against Grimsby in The League Cup. He stunned many people by regaining his first team quickly, no mean achievement with the side playing so well, and was then able to play a full and vital role in winning the championship with his midfield displays which kept first Sean Haslegrave and then Malcolm Crosby out of the side.
While injured he underwent physio at the York District Hospital. A York Rugby Union playing friend of mine was on the same treatment course. The first day at physio, he recalled, “I was amazed when this fellow patient (Derek Hood) was lifting heavy weights strapped to his ankle with ease. I couldn't even lift my leg off the floor with my small weight attached. After the session ended, walking away, this superman offered to buy my colleague a cup of tea. It was only when I was supping my cuppa that I realised that "superman" was really Derek Hood”. (Sound like a good guy as well – Ed)
1984-5 saw Derek in and out of the side, He missed the famous win over Arsenal but replaced the injured hero, Keith Houchen for the game with Liverpool. His midfield prompting did much to earn City a 1-1 draw. Houchen recovered in time for the replay and took Derek's place in the side. Many felt that Hood's determination, not Houchen's artistry was needed at Anfield. Certainly, the midfield was overrun an Anfield as Liverpool played much impressive soccer to win 7-0. Some said that they would have beaten anyone 7--0 that night they played so well so I wonder would Derek Have made any difference? The next season he played in both games with Liverpool as City went so close to causing a major upset.
Over the 1985/6 and 1986/7 seasons he was in and out of the side, more in than out as he played at full back. Once again he proved his versatility as he switched from right back to left back, a position which was causing City problems as there was no recognised left back at the club.
In 1987, he was granted a free transfer by Denis Smith. He took it on himself to write to every club in Division 2 and 3 offering his services. Plymouth offered him a trial. Meanwhile, City were in turmoil, Denis Smith had left and most of the players were out of contract. Derek was offered a new contract after all. Plymouth or York, it was no choice. He was captain.
As City struggled, Derek was in and out of the side, increasingly injury prone. At the end of the season, he announced his retirement from professional soccer. His dodgy knee was no longer up to the rigours of full time professional soccer at the age of 29.
He played briefly with Harrogate Town and Goole before finally hanging up his boots.
However, he was to make one final appearance at Bootham Crescent. His testimonial in November 1988. He played his part as the successful 1984 Championship side came together for his benefit and earned a 3-3 draw with the current City side.
During his 8 years with City he made 300 league appearances scoring a very creditable 32 goals. his powerful shooting and accuracy from the penalty spot proved very useful to City. His adaptability was equally important. Signed as a right back, he also played left back, a variety of midfield roles and centre half. Although not the tallest of players, his enthusiasm and dedication meant he was not found wanting.
After his football career ended, he was based in Harrogate and worked as a BT engineer and is still occasionally spotted at City games.