Sunday, 4 July 2010

76 Keith Hicks

Position : Centre half

Played : 1985-6 to 1986-7

Appearances : 32

Goals : 1

Into the 1985-6 season and Joe Cooke's partner at the back was neither Bill nor Phil but the 31 year old former England Youth international and yet another former team-mate of Halom's. They played together at Oldham for whom Keith made 242 appearances. After losing his place in the side Keith moved on to Hereford in 1980 and chalked up another 201 appearances before arriving at Spotland.

It's doubtful that big-chinned Keith was anybody's favourite player. He was purely a stopper with a laboured style but, as his record suggests, was a consistent performer and unlike others in the side his form didn't dip in the deeply disappointing second half of the season. His best game was at Old Trafford where he kept Mark Hughes quiet throughout the match. His one goal came away at Mansfield in a ludicrous game on 30.11.85 where half the pitch was lost in the fog and Dale nearly pulled it back from a 0-3 deficit, Keith stabbing the ball home from a corner to make it 2-3.

At the end of the season Keith was another of those contracted players we were trying to offload to a good home but he started the first game of 1986-7 at home to Crewe. Here fate intervened as he suffered a groin injury which meant an end to fulltime football. He went to Hyde and then to Mossley as player-manager for just under a year signing one or two ex-Dale players while he was there. Returning to Hyde as a player he became our Football in the Community Officer and has remained in that role ever since. Nevertheless he continued playing non-league football for as long as possible sometimes advertising his services in the M.E.N. and played for Mossley (again) , Radcliffe Borough and possibly others before retiring some time in the 9os.

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