Dickie Bird My Autobiography
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Cricket has been my favourite sport for as long as I can remember, and Dickie Bird was an umpire who brought an occasionally dull game to life. His antics on the pitch, plus his many personal mannerisms, all served to brighten many an overcast and chilly spring or autumn day. He changed the accepted face of cricket umpiring with his innovative techniques, and his white cap made him stand out wherever he might be.
Born in Barnsley, he played cricket locally and then for Yorkshire, and he finished his playing career at Leicestershire, before becoming an umpire. He is a proud Yorkshireman and never tires of praising his native county, unless he disagrees about the matter in hand. Occasionally, controversy has engulfed him, but he has always dealt with problems in a bold and forthright manner.
A devoutly religious man, his faith has seen him through many trials and tribulations, and has been the mainstay of his personal and professional life. Early on, it became clear to him that his dedication to the sport of cricket would not allow him to get married and have a family, a decision he has occasionally regretted in later years.
Dickie spent many winters coaching in South Africa, helping the youngsters improve their skills, but this had to stop when the Gleneagles Agreement came into force, and all sporting ties with South Africa were forbidden. In later years he was able to return and see the changes that had been brought about by the ending of apartheid.
Umpiring test matches and one-day finals were his forte, always one to shine on the big stage. The biggest stage of all was the first World Cup final in 1975, and Dickie was fortunate to officiate in that and the next two finals in 1979 and 1983. The chapter detailing these three games brought back wonderful memories for me as I was lucky enough to be a spectator at all three matches, and what wonderful games of cricket they were and some tricky decisions had to be made by the umpires at all of these games.
A book for cricket lovers but also for anyone who wants to read a story of one man's dedication to his sport and to his chosen profession.