Westley hopes for happy return
CHRIS LAKEY A former Diss Town manager who admits his heart is still in Suffolk will be plotting Norwich City's downfall at Carrow Road this afternoon. Derby County's caretaker boss Terry Westley spent two full seasons with the Tangerines in the late 1980s and helped establish the club in the old Jewson League before moving on to become football development officer at Ipswich, his home town club.
A former Diss Town manager who admits his heart is still in Suffolk will be plotting Norwich City's downfall at Carrow Road this afternoon.
Derby County's caretaker boss Terry Westley spent two full seasons with the Tangerines in the late 1980s and helped establish the club in the old Jewson League before moving on to become football development officer at Ipswich, his home town club.
Westley has done most of his work behind the scenes since then, with a brief spell in charge at Luton Town in 1995 his only high-profile appointment. But the Rams' Academy director has been thrust into the limelight since Phil Brown was ousted from the Pride Park hot-seat and will be taking charge of his fifth game today.
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The temporary boss hasn't tasted victory yet, but he has guided his side to three hard-fought draws in recent weeks and is hoping to mark his return to East Anglian with another positive result.
“It's fair to say the mobile's been ringing a bit this week,” said Westley. “Half of Suffolk have been ringing me up telling me they're honorary Rams fans this weekend.
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“As with Derby and Forest, the rivalry is fierce between Norwich and Ipswich. I was at the derby game a couple of weeks ago and the atmosphere was electric, although it was interesting to note that the Norwich fans got right on the backs of their side when things weren't going to plan - hopefully we can upset the apple cart a bit too.
“I'm very proud to be from that area and it will be great to go back there and see so many familiar faces.
“But, most importantly, is trying to get a result for Derby County as a club - one that will keep moving us up the table and away from the danger zone.
“Saturday is not all about Terry Westley's links with East Anglia and I certainly won't have that on my mind on the day. I just want to go there and win a game of football.”
Westley is a Suffolk man through and through, but he is also well known in Norfolk thanks to his spell at Diss. He joined the Tangerines in March 1988 as player/manager and was in charge for two full seasons after that. His first full campaign saw Diss move into the newly-formed Jewson Eastern Counties League Division One.
Westley played a key role in establishing the club at a higher level and laid much of the groundwork for the success that was to follow, with Bill Punton leading the club to an FA Vase triumph at Wembley four years later.
The new Derby boss is still remembered with a good deal of affection at Brewers Green Lane, with former secretary Dickie Upson among those who remains in regular contact to this day.
“Terry is a close family friend so I was delighted when Derby gave him a chance, even though you never like to see people getting the sack,” he said. “He has got high standards, works extremely hard, and is a very good coach so I should imagine he was the obvious choice to take over as caretaker.
“You don't get to be an Academy director without having all the necessary coaching badges so he is well qualified to take over - and I'm sure he'll do an excellent job for them.”
Upson and Westley go back a long way, with the pair first getting to know each other well in early 1988 when an advert was placed in the local papers inviting applications for the position of Diss Town boss.
Westley sent in his CV and it wasn't long before the youthful player boss was taking charge of the team, who were then playing their football in the Anglian Combination.
Upson quickly warmed to the new man - and has remained a big admirer ever since.
“I don't think Terry will argue when I say he was an average player,” said Upson. “But he was an excellent manager and an excellent coach too and he turned out to be a really good appointment for the club.
“He put together a good side and also did a lot of work with the youngsters. We were very sad to see him go, even though we could fully understand why he wanted to move on to Ipswich.”
Westley played a big part in the early development of Upson's son Matthew, who is now playing in the Premiership with Birmingham City and has seven England caps to his name.
“Terry was a big influence on Matthew's career,” said Upson senior. “He helped him a lot when he was a young lad and followed it through by giving him his chance at Luton. As a family we have got a lot to thank him for.
“It would have been nice to have met up with him at the weekend - but Diss Town are at home to Harwich and Parkeston on Saturday and that is the game I will be watching.”