John Dick

John Dick

John Dick was born in Govan, Scotland on 19th March 1930. He played local football in Glasgow before doing his National Service in Colchester. While in England he played for Crittall Athletic as an amateur. Ted Fenton, the West Ham United manager, signed him in June 1953. Dick later recalled: "Arthur Rowe and Bill Nicholson drove to my mother's house in Glasgow to offer me a professional contract, but I had already agreed to join the Hammers... The Spurs people were not too happy about that after such a long journey... but I didn't fancy Spurs. Ted Fenton had got in first, so I became a West Ham player - something I never had any cause to regret."

Dick made his league debut against Lincoln City on 19th August 1953. His first goal came in his 13th game against Derby County. By the end of the season he had scored 13 goals in 39 league games. This included a hat-trick in a 5-0 victory over Bury. The West Ham manager, Ted Fenton, later remembered: "He often set off from inside his own half with the ball apparently glued to his left boot and, as he put the ball in the net, there behind him was a trail of defenders sitting on their backsides."

In the 1954-55 season Dick was the club's leading scorer with 26 goals in 39 league appearances. However, he was playing in a struggling side and Dick was not so successful in the 1955-56 season.

In October 1957, Ted Fenton bought Vic Keeble from Newcastle United for £10,000. When he joined West Ham United the club were in mid-table. Keeble formed a great partnership with inside-left, Dick. West Ham's full-back, John Bond, later pointed out: "We got something like nine points in 11 games in 1957-58, and then Ted Fenton bought Vic Keeble from Newcastle because he thought he could be good in the air, which he was. But what he didn't recognise was what a good target man Vic was. We could play balls from defence into Vic Keeble and he would hold them in to himself or knock them off. He brought Jackie Dick into the play a lot more... and made more use of the wingers in terms of crosses. And from there we lost three of the next 31 games."

By the end of the season Vic Keeble had scored 23 goals in 32 league and cup games. Keeble's brilliant play was one of the main factors in West Ham winning the Second Division title that year. They had been promoted to the First Division after a period of 26 years in the second tier. Malcolm Pyke, a West Ham teammate, commented: "Jack Dick was a great goalscorer, but when Vic Keeble came he turned us around - it was his goals that got us up." That year Dick scored 23 goals in 44 league and cup games.

Dick was rewarded with his first international cap for Scotland against England on 11th April 1959. England won the game 1-0 and Dick was never selected again.

West Ham United finished in 6th place in their first season in the top league. Dick was top scorer with 27 goals in 41 games. Vic Keeble injured his back in a game against Fulham on 31st October 1959. He only played one more game on 16th January 1960 before deciding that he would have to retire from professional football. Dick missed his partner and could only score 11 goals in 24 games in the 1959-60 season. Top scorer was winger Malcolm Musgrove who scored 15 goals in 41 appearances.

Dick returned to form in the 1960-61 season scoring 16 goals in 34 league games. Dick was transferred to Brentford in September 1962 for a fee of £17,500. He had scored 166 goals in 351 cup and league games for West Ham United. After scoring 45 goals in 72 games for Brentford he retired from professional football.

John Dick died in 2000.