Dickie Bird of Barnsley

Harold 'Dickie' Bird and Simon 'The Analyst' Hughes

Harold Dennis (Dickie) Bird, was born at Church Lane Barnsley 19 April 1933. (Simon Hughes in the photo wasn’t born in Barnsley) so no ball him
In the 2012 New Years Honours list Dickie was  awarded the OBE.
The award could so easily have been the OBU or Old Blind Umpire but well done Dickie. Other sporting awards for Yorkshire folk go to Jamie Peacock from Leeds Rhinos and Taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson from Doncaster.


Pre Umpiring

  • Dickie has a damaged knee and couldn’t play his first choice sport of football.
    He started cricket in the nets at Barnsley Cricket Club.
    Two team mates at that time were Michael Parkinson and Geoff Boycott.
    In his autobiography Dickie tells of the time when Boycott refused to open the batting with Dickie preferring to bat no3. Dickie and Eddie Legard then proceeded to score 182 to win the game before a frustrated Boycott  could get in to bat.
    Barnsley also fostered other great cricketers including Martyn Moxon, Darren Gough and Arnie Sidebottom.
    Dickie played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club 1958-64 in the same side as Fred Trueman, Bob Appleyard and Johnny Wardle.
    After retiring from county cricket he coached and played league cricket before becoming an umpire.

Umpiring Era

  • Dickies first county game was in 1970 and his first Test match was  England v New Zealand at Headingley in 1973.
    One negative memory of his umpiring days was Dickie’s reputation for stopping play for weather.
    After a pitch invasion when the West Indies won the world cup Dickie lost his white hat. A year later as passenger on a London bus he noticed the conductor was wearing a hat similar to the one he lost and asked the conductor where he obtained it from.
    “Man, haven’t you heard of Mr Dickie Bird,” he replied. “This is one of his hats. I took it off his head at the World Cup final… we all ran onto the field and I won the race.” Apocryphal or not it is one of Dickie’s favourite after dinner stories.
    Affectionately remembered for his sense of humour and on field idiosyncrasies Dickie retired from umpiring in 1996 at the age of 63.

Since Umpiring

  • Dickie wrote his humerous autobiography simply titled My Autobiography that has sold more than a million copies.(and many of these several times over via charity book shops)
    The Dickie Bird Foundation was set up with “The vision of the Foundation is to assist young people under 18 years of age to participate, to the best of their ability, in the sport of their choice irrespective of their social circumstances, culture or ethnicity and to ensure that, in doing so, they improve their chances both inside and outside sport”
    Dickie has more honorary degrees from Yorkshire Universities than he has A levels.
    Harold Dennis (Dickie) Bird MBE 1986. As a Barnsley lad he could have been nicknamed the Bird Bard of Barnsley

Umpiring Career 1970-1998 from Dickie’s own web site

1970 Stood in his first county game

1973 Stood in his first Test Match. England V New Zealand July 5-10 at Headingley

1973 Stood in his first ODI England V New Zealand July 20th Manchester

1995 Stood in his last ODI England V West Indies May 26th The Oval

1996 Stood in his last Test Match England V India May 26th Lords

1998 Stood in his last County Match Yorkshire V Warwichshire

2007 Dickie came out of retirement in January 2007 to umpire the XXXX Gold Beach Cricket Tri-Nations series involving cricket legends from England, the West Indies, and Australia, which took place at Scarborough beach in Perth, Australia .



The Best of Dickie Bird on audio CD from Amazon

Wisden on Yorkshire
Photo on creative commons license by Badger Swan on flickr
Fiery Fred Trueman Fantastic Raconteur

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