Everton lost a true legend on Monday 8 July, when former forward Dave Hickson sadly passed away at the age of 83.
Tributes have poured in from fellow footballing greats and fans worldwide to a man much-loved by anyone who met him.
I a full-length interview with the Everton Former Players' Foundation , the Club's Millennium Giant reflected on a long and memorable career. Here we are delighted to bring you Dave Hickson in his own words.
I was born in Salford, but moved when I was young and I played at Ellesmere Port Town - that’s when I got picked up by Everton.
I came over for trials when I was 13-14-years old just before the end of the war. I’d come over on the bus and then the tram with my gas mask on my back.
You were on a 12-month contract back then and at the end of the season they’d put up a retained list - can you imagine that now?! You had to play well to be on it. It was a joy to see your name on that list for the next season; £20 a week was the highest I earned in my career and I started on £12.
I went on to sign amateur forms and from 1945 to 1948 I played for the A and B teams. We had four or five teams then. In ‘48 the army came up of course and I missed two years until 1950.
I played in the Army Cadets. ‘Dixie’ Dean trained them and he got me in the England Army Cadet team. It was a great honour to follow the great ‘Dixie’ Dean.
I played football in Egypt for the battalion. I enjoyed it but I wished I was playing at Everton. I’d signed before I left so they could hold my signature.
I travelled with the first-team to a game in my first season, 1950/51. I went to Charlton as 12th man and in those days, a 12th man was a 12th man. I used to push the skips, help the trainer and there was no chance of getting on the field because there were no substitutes.
I became really obsessed with Everton, which I am today. I play every week with the lads, I play the game.
We should have won the league in 1954 but all we were concerned about was getting Everton into the top division. My partner at that time was John Willie Parker, we scored 56 league goals between us and people always said that it was great and I’d always say, ‘But Dixie scored 60 on his own!’
Getting Everton into the first division was our great aim. We had to win to get promoted and win 6-0 to win the league. We won 4-0 which was great but we should’ve won 6-0. The supporters were fantastic.
Back then it was physical and you had to stick up for yourself. In those days they were tough lads, you had to take some stick and give it as well. You’re not allowed to tackle like you were in the ‘50s.
I would have adapted to today’s football. If you felt like you were a little bit hard done to then you’d give it back and let them know you were in the game.
People like Billy Wright used to saying they were going to get me and I’d be like, ‘Oh yeah?’. It never bothered me.
For my second spell, when Everton came back in for me, I couldn’t get back quick enough! I was delighted to be back. It was the happiest day of my life. It was a dream to play for Everton.
When Liverpool came in for me, Johnny Carey was saying that England were looking at me, that I could play for England.
I’d also read an article by Sir Matt Busby that said I was in the top three people who should play for England, so for him to say that was great.
After my playing days, I’d been working for Ellesmere Port council and then I retired at 65. Bill Kenwright asked me to come and work for the Club and do the tours and PR on a Saturday. I have enjoyed every minute of my time working with the Club.
The Everton Former Players’ Foundation has helped me and my wife Pat and a lot of other ex-players and I’m sure they’ll go on and do that. On behalf of the ex-players, I’d like to thank the foundation.