Football mourns death of popular Dickie

Bexhill United full-back Craig Ottley (left) with the family of the late Richard Dickie Anderson at The Polegrove. Picture courtesy Mark Killy
Bexhill United full-back Craig Ottley (left) with the family of the late Richard Dickie Anderson at The Polegrove. Picture courtesy Mark Killy
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The Bexhill footballing community has been plunged into sadness by the sudden death of a well-known and much-liked player.

Richard ‘Dickie’ Anderson died while on holiday in Spain. He was 43.

On the field, Dickie was a more than useful left-back, who could also play on the left of midfield and possessed what’s often referred to in the game as a sweet left foot.

Away from the pitch, he was a popular character who always had a smile on his face - a feature of his personality mentioned by seemingly whoever you speak to.

Dickie spent several seasons playing Sussex County League football for Bexhill United, who held a minute’s applause for him prior to their match at home to AFC Varndeanians last weekend.

The players were joined on the pitch for the applause by several members of Dickie’s family.

The club has also retired its number three shirt - which Dickie used to wear - for the season in his honour and it is due to go on display in the clubhouse.

Other ideas being considered include holding a memorial game involving people who knew and played with Dickie - of whom there are many - and raising funds for a commemorative bench and plaque at The Polegrove.

Bexhill’s clubhouse manager and assistant secretary Tracy Aston said: “Dickie was always smiling. He never stopped laughing, you never saw him miserable. He was an incredibly positive person and he was a really great guy.

“He was the perfect gentleman; he would do anything for you. He loved his football and he did lots for the club. He was a big supporter of Bexhill United FC and he was just loved by everyone down there.”

After his days as a first team player at The Polegrove came to an end, Dickie later had a stint as reserve team manager six or so years ago and helped do the footings for the floodlights when they were installed.

Earlier in his career, Dickie also played senior football for Sidley United, whose present manager Adam Day knew him well.

He said: “He played for Sidley for quite a few years and then he went to Bexhill. He was there when Cyril Jeans was managing.

“I remember watching him play for Sidley’s front side and I did play alongside him a couple of times in different teams.

“He worked his socks off and he was very honest. You would have him in your side; cracking energy and a good character in the dressing room as well.

“He was a very popular guy, always laughing, always smiling. One of the good guys. He was well-known by everyone in the football fraternity and he will be sorely missed.”

Dickie, who once went on trial at Premier League club Watford, also had a spell at Little Common FC and was a familiar face on the Sunday league football pitches, notably for Bexhill AAC.

Dickie, who worked as a road worker for Clancy Docwra, spent a lot of time at Bexhill AAC’s clubhouse on Little Common Road and the flag there has been flying at half mast.

Many people have expressed their sadness at the news and admiration for Dickie on social media, and a lot of his friends held a pub gathering to share memories.

See our comprehensive sports coverage in the Observer every Friday.

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