Everyone at the club would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of former league winner Derek Stokes, who has sadly passed away at the age of 82.
After a fine career in England which saw him score 120 goals for Bradford City and Huddersfield Town and pick up four U23 caps for his country, Derek arrived at Oriel Park on a loan deal from Bradford City in the winter of 1966.
He marked his debut with a brace against Waterford in a crucial league game at Kilcohan Park and followed it up with a hat-trick against Drumcondra in a Leinster Senior Cup tie four days later.
Dundalk moved to secure him on a permanent deal for a fee of £1,500 and it proved to be money well spent. By the season’s end, Derek had league championship and Top Four Cup winners’ medals on his mantelpiece, contributing 17 goals to the club’s haul of 111 goals from 49 games, an average of 2.3 per game.
He contributed with 10 goals in 37 games the following season but in 1968-69, with Turlough O’Connor on board, and Paddy Turner on song, Dundalk hit 109 goals in 44 games, a rate of 2.5 goals per game!
Derek’s tally of 27 in 43 games included a goal in each leg of the European Fairs Cup win over DOS Utrecht and a brace in the Dublin City Cup final win over Shamrock Rovers on St Patrick’s Day.
An excellent and alert target man, he proved the perfect foil for O’Connor and Turner, and between the three of them they notched up 72 season goals. Derek’s 27 goals secured the supporters’ choice for the Player of the Year Award.
After a short stint with Drogheda United in 1970, he retired from football and returned to England, working as a golf club steward before taking on the New Vic pub in Bradford.
May he rest in peace.