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A Great Man

8 March 2013

Jim French recollects former boss.

Reflecting on Dick's life after his sad death earlier this week, he said: "I think the most appropriate thing at this stage is to say a few words to try to explain what made Dick a great man.
U's programme columnist Jim French believes that former boss Dick Graham was a 'great man'.

"I had the honour of knowing him as warm and perceptive human being over a period of 40 years as our paths kept crossing. 

"I have countless hours of recordings of Dick's recollections of his early football life, and what a fascinating tale it makes.

"His career was intertwined with that of former England manager Don Revie. They were young kids together at Leicester, and came up against each other at crucial points in Dick's career.

"Revie's Leeds beat Dick's Palace in a FA Cup 5th Round the 60's in pivotal game, so the Colchester versus Leeds tie was Dick's chance for revenge.

"On the day of the Leeds win, Dick was generous in victory. He knew that Don Revie might take considerable flak in the press the following day, so the onus of his after match press conference was to praise Leeds' excellence in the final minutes of the game. 

"That little fact gives a small insight into how Dick was in the fray, but also above the fray.

"Don Revie never forgot Dick's kindness, and when Dick retired from the game he was mysteriously added to the Leeds payroll until he got back on his feet.

"The warmth that the people of Colchester feel for Dick has never wavered. He must have heard the phrase 'I was there' hundreds of times a year.

"As Dick laughingly said, there must have been fifty thousand people at the Leeds game!

"I have failed miserably to put into words any of the things that made Dick so special. Hopefully, some of the tributes that we see in the next few days will fill that gap. 

"Dick will never be forgotten for as long as Colchester United exist. His legacy lives on thanks to special affection he had for Joe Dunne.

"Dick noticed the small things, and Joe's small kindnesses to him were often commented on when I took him to the ground for games.

"The legacy lives on.

"Goodbye old friend. Up the U's."

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