The Julian Dicks Column: 13th September

It's with great pleasure that we welcome West Ham United FC legend Julian Dicks to Julian will be sharing his thoughts with us on a regular basis via his KUMB column, the latest of which begins with his reaction to yesterday's publication of the Hillsborough report...

As a former Liverpool player, I was delighted by the findings of the Hillsborough report this week. What happened there was an absolute disgrace and I hope that prosecutions follow for those responsible. Someone needs to be held accountable whether that be the police, the media or everyone who was involved.

I moved from West Ham to Liverpool just four years after the tragedy occured; I still remember watching it unfold live on TV. What they did to those families for 23 years - several of whom I met during my year at the club - was terrible. I just hope the people responsible are finally brought to justice themselves.

Going back to my (grass) roots

I didn't even watch the England games this week - I don't really watch too much international football - but you'd expect them to beat Moldova. And although a draw against Ukraine wasn't the worst result in the world, you would expect them to be beating teams like that.

Roy Hodgson is a good manager with lots of experience even though Harry Redknapp was the people's choice for the job. Roy's a safety-first manager as was shown by the European Championships but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

As far as watching live football is concerned, I tend not to watch too much Premier League football these days as I find it to be a bit of a circus. I prefer instead to watch more non-league football where it's a bit more real with not so much diving and falling over!

These days I often go to watch Braintree Town, who are managed by [former West Ham United and England winger] Alan Devonshire, whose assistant is my old team-mate Keith Rowland. I've also popped down to watch Chelmsford City and Southend from time to time.

Towards the end of my playing career I spent a brief spell in non-league football at Canvey Island, playing 15 games for them. We beat Wigan 1-0 in the FA Cup before losing to Burnley and I enjoyed my time there. Jeff King (the manager) put a lot of money into the club but it was unsustainable as they just didn't have the crowds, which was a shame.

Looking back: The truth about England

Back in 1996, Julian was a popular choice for England's left back spot in the European Championships. However he never made the 22-man squad - or a single full international appearance - after a disagreement with England's assistant manager John Gorman.

Glenn Hoddle's number two later denied that a conversation between the two ever took place - something that Julian is happy to set the record straight on...

At West Ham, Harry Redknapp used to take us on a break every summer and I met John Gorman during an end-of-season tour in Spain. We were all drinking in a bar and John and I bumped into each other. We were having a chat and he told me that I'd never play for England unless I grew my hair - and I told him to f*ck off.

It was ridiculous. I mean, Ian Wright had a shaved head! I won't name names but they were happy to pick alcoholics and wife-beaters - but not me, despite the public wanting me to play, because of my hair.

I never spoke to Glenn Hoddle at the time - I think he was still upset after the John Spencer incident [the year before] - but I'd never have played for him even if they had picked me afterwards; I was more interested in my dogs at that time anyway. I don't know why he [Gorman] denied that that conversation took place, but it definitely did.

I played for England under 21s five or six times, including a tournament in Toulon and also three times for England B whilst I was at West Ham. Don't get me wrong, of course I wanted to play for my country - everyone does, whether you're English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish or whatever. But it just wasn't to be.

Julian Dicks was talking to Graeme Howlett.

* Julian is currently available to coach both junior and senior football teams. For more details, follow him on Twitter at

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