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Fans stunned as Heybridge Swifts appoint West Ham legend as manager

Fans have been stunned as Heybridge Swifts appoint a West Ham legend as their new manager, with the news going viral online.

The Isthmian League North Division club say are delighted to announce the return, as first team manager, of Julian Dicks, who will be taking over from the 1st of July.

Julian will resume his partnership with former Colchester United legend Karl Duguid as they prepare for what they hope to be a promotion winning season for 2021/22.

Dicks and Duguid saw the Swifts win the Isthmian North playoff final at Maldon and Tiptree in 2019, however promotion was denied due to the FA non-league reshuffle.

Dicks said that he is still fuming about the inept call that he still brands as “a ridiculous decision”.

Dicks confirmed: “I have unfinished business with the club.

“I relish the opportunity to put that right in the 2021/22 season that starts on August 14 after the club has had two abortive campaigns to right that wrong as a result of the Covid crisis.”

He spent a successful time as West Brom coach alongside manager Slaven Bilic that saw them gain automatic promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Dicks admits that Albion have found life tougher for the 2019/20 campaign but adds: “I was surprised that the Baggies board pushed the panic button despite our excellent away results at Liverpool and Manchester City.”

Heybridge Swifts chairman Gary White said that bringing the West Ham legend back to the club was “an easy decision to make” and confirmed that he hoped he would be able to keep the existing coaching team together.

White stressed the importance of a strong structure and continuity, given the great ability already existing within the coaching team.

White said: “Successful clubs, just like businesses, build structure over time and constant changes and labour turnover does not help the playing side.

“I see so many EFL and Premier League clubs chop and change managers and backroom staff and that causes huge over runs in costs in terms of players wages as inevitably they move on too when a manager changes.

“The average tenure of managers in the pro game is just over 12 months and some clubs change two or three times per season, as seen at Salford City.

“In my opinion a manager needs at least 18 months to get his squad right and to get their playing style properly defined and established.

“When we had Jody Brown, it was only from his third season with the club that we really started to fly and the legacy he created we are still benefiting from to this day.

“At Swifts, our key objective longer term is to create our own players and develop talent from within with players progressing from under-19 to 23 and to first team.

“We saw the first signs of this starting to work in the aborted 2020-21 season and in fact the last league goal scored by Swifts, a courageous towering header from young Joe Debell, proved to be the final one of the season.

“Joe was just starting to challenge hard for a first team place and we have high hopes for him of course.

“Working under Julian, it is hoped he will soon develop further as will other young players.

“Just look at the example with 18-year-old defender Jayden Randall who broke into the first team with five games to go in 2019 and starred in the successful play-off team to see what can be achieved by Julian and Karl in terms of developing young talent.

“Jayden now plays in the National South, two levels higher than Swifts.”


1985–1988 – Birmingham City – 89 games (1 goal)
1988–1993 – West Ham United – 159 games (29 goals)
1993–1994 – Liverpool – 24 games (3 goals)
1994–1999 – West Ham United – 103 games (21 goals)
2001–2002 – Canvey Island – 4 games (1 goal)
Total – 379 games (55 goals)


2009 – Wivenhoe Town
2009–2011 – Grays Athletic
2013 – Sealand
2014–2015 – West Ham United Ladies
2018–2019 – Heybridge Swifts

Fans were left stunned as Heybridge Swifts appoint the West Ham legend as manager…

@Lee_Mackman: Fantastic appointment for your club, knowing Julian he’ll give 💯 and nothing less.

@RoadSpringfield: Welcome back Mr Julian Dicks. Legend of the game

@JPoulton20: Great news for the club. Hopefully we can kick on again and get that promotion we deserve! #COYS

@HockeydazDarren: My all time fave Hamner!! Fingers crossed he will come watch some of @RoadSpringfield games!!!

@DanMatthews__: Great news, will give everyone a real lift! All the best with it gents

@whu38180756: My 2nd team once more!

@TheBAWAswifts: Welcome back gaffer

@CF23FC: Hell of an appointment at @officialswifts – was only coaching in the premiership earlier this season as well. An absolute legend of a player back in the day & shows that he has never forgotten his non league roots post pro career.

@barwell_richie: Boom 2 top coaches. Footballs coming home to swifts. COYS

@nonleague91: I remember playing against you when he was last in charge of you. Called the ref a c*** in front of the lino and a load of players and got away with it 😂😂

@WHUoli: terminator ⚒️

@AlexEgelton: Class re-appointment 👏🏻

@myclubgroup: ‘Legend’ is, in this instance, the correct use of the English language. Good luck to Julian Dicks and the Swifts!

@AranNicol1994: I LOVE Dicksy but his appointments since leaving us are scary. All very low, non-league teams. He was Slav’s right hand man a few seasons back in the Premier League, chasing a CL spot. Madness.

@GjermundHolt: When you love football! Julian is back at management!

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