Fights, wrist shattering penalties and a penchant for breeding bulldogs. It’s fair to say club legend Julian Dicks never did anything by halves in his decade at West Ham.
Signed for the Hammers from Birmingham in 1988 for £300,000, he was quickly christened the terminator. While the nickname is often assumed to be based on his hard tackling and general approach to the game (which would have been fair enough), it actually stems from a devastating, early career, knee injury. The doctors diagnoses – that he was unlikely to ever play again! Dicks’ response - I’ll be back! And sure enough, he was.
A decade later and he had chalked up a total of 326 appearances and 65 goals for West Ham - no mean feat for a left back.
His 35 penalty goals, every last one hit with furious power, became a trademark. As did his no holds barred approach to tackling, or at the very least stopping the opposition player advancing.
Dick's receives one of many yellow cards.
"I think Julian Dicks might well have gone into the referees notebook here if Rush had chosen to make more of that incident."
– Martin Tyler after Dicks almost decapitated Sunderland's David Rush with a studs up flying kick to the chest.
He made an unforgettable cameo appearance in goal during a 1995 clash with Everton where he preceded to get man of the match.
And then there was his testimonial.
For some reason played against Athletic Bilbao, in a potential first for the normally good natured testimonial tradition it devolved into a 17 man brawl before the first half had even ended. Which, is fair to say is pretty on brand for both the hammers and Athletic Club, but it’s still hilarious.
It’s also worth noting Dicks wasn’t involved and not even on the pitch at the time, but still. It all felt very fitting.
"I just want players here who are passionate about the club... They don't have to go around kissing it every five minutes but go out there and give everything he can. The least any footballer can do is give 100% every single game."
– Julian Dicks
One of the hardest bastards to ever set foot on a pitch and a player that truly gave his all for the fans - we salute you.
Words by Andy Gallagher