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My Club: Alan Dicks

City’s second-longest serving manager, Alan Dicks, was in charge for 13 years at Ashton Gate (October 1967 - September 1980), during which time he famously led the Robins back into the top flight. Here he recalls those glory years...

"I was working with Jimmy Hill at Coventry City but when he was leaving in 1967, the club decided they didn’t want to promote me to manager, so I made a few calls and the chance to join City came about.

"I definitely didn’t see myself being here for so long, you just want to get through each season. Fortunately, the club was backed by local businessmen and like-minded people.

"Then we had Paul Cheesley and Tom Ritchie. We used to train on the Friday and do sprints and Cheesley would sprint against everyone. He would eventually get a cigarette out as he looked back on everyone behind him!

"He was the quickest, had a lot of power and energy and had it all. But just days into our first season up in the First Division he got injured, which was so sad.

"I was lucky that I was able to work with good players – the likes of John Galley, Ken Wimshurst and Bobby Kellard. Galley’s goal record kept us up and we were always able to get players who could enhance the group."

"When it came to the 1976 promotion side, it really picked itself, we were winning games and it made it easy. We had Ray Cashley who was a full-back when he first started.

"He was away with the reserves when the goalkeeper got sick and Ray said: ‘I’ll go in goal’. The message I got back was: ‘We’ve got your next goalkeeper. He’s got hands like glue’.

"So gradually he came through the reserves into the first team and played with the likes of Gerry Sweeney, Gary Collier, Geoff Merrick, Gerry Gow and Brian Drysdale. They were outstanding.

"We have gone close to promotion to the top flight on a couple of times since then, but sadly it hasn’t happened. I have been to Wembley and seen City unlucky, but getting promoted isn’t easy. When you look at the teams pushing hard this season, for example – the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Leeds and Fulham – there are so many good teams competing for a place.

"The club really has come along thanks to Steve Lansdown’s involvement. I’m a City supporter and I’m here at every home game unless I’m in America where I spent 10 years living and coaching – that was very much a learning experience, but I enjoyed it.

"I’m a Chelsea, City, and Coventry fan, wherever I have had a relationship before. But if I had to pick one, it would be Bristol City of course; you don’t spend 13 years anywhere and not have a reason for them being number one."

The commemorative 125th anniversary brochure, which tells the complete story of Bristol City, is available to buy in the Bristol Sport store at Ashton Gate. It includes a host of interviews with former players, managers as well as the club’s history retold with photos from the archives…

My Club: 125 years of Bristol City

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