Yeovil Town Football Club has announced the death of Victor 'Dickie' Dyke at the age of 84.
Dickie was taken into hospital in Bournemouth last Friday with kidney failure but passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon. He had lived in the area since 2000.
Dyke shot to his spell of national fame quite by chance. Working as a solicitor's clerk in Yeovil, he was on the books of Yeovil Town as the reserve goalkeeper. In that famous season of 1948-49 the Glovers had beaten Second Division Bury in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup, and then drew Sunderland. Between the Third and Fourth Rounds there were two league fixtures to play, and in the second of those, at home to Worcester City, First Team 'keeper Stan Hall was injured with torn shoulder muscles.
With only six days until the Sunderland tie it did not look hopeful he would recover in time, and 6' 3" Dickie recalled: "I had a hint during the week that they weren't going to get Stan fit for Sunderland, and on the Friday night I was told I was playing". In fact player-manager Alec Stock chose to go round from Huish to Dickie's place of work that evening to tell him face-to-face he was in the side. With Dyke having only played a single First Team game previously, a Christmas Day 1-1 draw away at Bath City, Stock didn't want to tell him over the phone. "As far as I remember Alec was very low key about it. He just wished me luck. I can't say I had any jitters. I just took it in my stride."
So at 24 years of age Dickie was set to play the biggest game of his life. Yeovil took the lead on 28 minutes through Stock himself, but after a fine string of saves from Dyke he made what would turn out to be his one mistake of the afternoon when he fumbled the ball and it fell to the feet of Jackie Robinson who tapped it in from close range. "Otherwise," related Dickie, " I didn't make a mistake. I wasn't overworked. We had a good team and really we matched Sunderland on the day."
Because of fuel shortages the F.A. Cup ties were to be settled by extra-time that season, not replays, and it was in extra-time that Eric Bryant shot Yeovil Town to national prominence with the winning goal.
Such are the swings and roundabouts of football that Dyke was out again after the very next match, as he picked up a knee injury against Hereford United and so missed the Fifth Round match at Maine Road versus Manchester United. However that proved to be Hall's penultimate game as his shoulder went again and he would only play one more match for the Glovers. Dyke found himself the number one choice for the rest of that season and the following two, but was released by Stock's successor as manager, George Paterson, in 1951.
Dyke moved away from the town in 1969, heading to London to work for a local authority. He retired to Bridgwater, before moving to his final home near Bournemouth.
So passes the last of the class of 1948-49. With the death of Victor 'Dickie' Dyke they have all now gone, but for as long as there's a Yeovil Town Football Club we shall remember them :
Dickie Dyke, Arthur Hickman, Ralph Davis, Bob Keeton, Les Blizzard, Nick Collins, Bobby Hamilton, Alec Stock, Eric Bryant, Ray Wright, Jack Hargreaves.
Our condolences to Dickie's family and friends.
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