Derek was born in West Ham, London and started his career with Queens Park Rangers, becoming an apprentice in September 1963.
He was then loaned to Southern League Bedford Town for two seasons from 1964 to 1966, playing a total of 73 appearances for them.
In July 1966 he was signed by Gillingham, making 43 first team appearances for them before Charlton paid £5,000 for him in October 1970.
He had also played on loan at Southend. He made 16 senior appearances for Charlton and had a another loan spell at Fulham before being transferred in December 1971, rejoining Southend on a permanent basis.
From there Derek moved to Swansea in May 1974) before linking up with Maidstone for the 1975/76 season. In January 1978 he joined Margate on loan, and returned to Maidstone in March 1978.
He later played for St.Blazey and then joined Torquay for the 1980/81 season but didn't feature in the first team there.
After leaving Torquay Derek went on to have spells with Falmouth (1982), Bideford (1983), Saltash (1984/85) as well as Newquay.
During 1988/89 he was player-assistant manager of South Western League club Torrington and in April 1989, he played for the Grecians “A” team He was 42 at the time.
Derek's son Ross, also a goalkeeper, made two Football League appearance for the Grecians. Whilst playing for Ilfracombe, Ross was injured and Derek took his place, just a few weeks before his 51st birthday.
By 2014 Derek had been the owner of Kingfisher Print & Design for well over 25 years and the company had a multi-million pound turnover. It was based in Totnes, Devon and Derek's son Ross was Managing Director.