He was a striker who was superb in the air, had an excellent first touch, and possessed a lethal shot. He was tall, agile, had great pace and was technically adroit. He was only at the Club for less than two seasons, but his impact was enormous.
Derek was signed by Leicester City manager Matt Gillies for £25,000 in May 1965 from Third Division side Peterborough United. He was happy to move to Filbert Street and join a well established First Division side, even though it meant taking a pay cut.
Before signing for Peterborough in 1963, he had played for Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa. He had also played, as a 19-year-old, for Northern Ireland in the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden. At Blackburn, he had controversially handed in a transfer request on the day of their FA Cup Final against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1960. At Villa, he shaved his head, was involved in a car crash and lost form.
The Leicester City player forever associated with ‘the Doog’ was Jackie Sinclair, a right winger from Dunfermline Athletic who also moved to Filbert Street in the summer of 1965.
The two of them formed a lethal goalscoring partnership. In their first season at Leicester, Derek scored 20 goals, and Jackie netted 24 as they helped to propel City to seventh place in the old First Division. Dougan regained his place in the Northern Ireland side and Sinclair was capped by Scotland.
The next season (1966/67) started even more impressively. Dougan scored two goals against Liverpool at Anfield on the opening day of the season. He added 13 goals in his first 10 matches and went on to net 20 goals before Christmas in only 22 games.
Bizarrely, it then changed. He only scored once in his next 13 games and then, in April, to everyone’s surprise, he was transferred.
This followed an incident when the Club was on a training break in Brighton. He was sent home and, two days later, he was sold to Second Division outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers. The fans were nonplussed. They couldn’t believe it.
Derek went on to play for Wolves with great distinction until 1975, but those of us privileged enough to have seen him play while at Leicester will never forget his superb performances which secured for him forever the status of a Filbert Street cult hero.
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