It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of one of our heroes from the Reds’ Third Division team, Dixie Hale. He was 85.
Born in Waterford on the 29th May, 1935, Richard was on one of four brothers who made their mark in football – following in the footsteps of their father, Alfred, and three uncles.
They all played for hometown club, Waterford, and Dixie also had a brief spell with Shamrock Rovers before crossing the water to play for Swansea Town. After making his Football League debut and playing over thirty times for the ‘Swans’, Dixie signed for Barrow where he became an opponent for three seasons during the early sixties.
Ken Furphy offered him the opportunity of a move up the coast and he signed for Reds in July 1964 in readiness for our first season in the Third Division. After playing in our pre-season games against Queen of the South, Morecambe, Penrith and Netherfield, Dixie made his competitive Workington debut in our inaugural Third Division fixture against Port Vale and, wearing the number 4 shirt, helped us to an impressive 4-1victory.
His first Workington goal came against former club, Barrow, in that memorable 9-1 League Cup thumping we inflicted upon the Holker Street men. Dixie played in the two ties against Blackburn Rovers, the win over Norwich City and in both matches against Chelsea as Reds made their mark in the League Cup competition that season.
He was an ever present throughout the ’64-65 campaign as Reds attained their highest ever (5th) Football League finish and netted six goals in the process. One of his league goals was scored in our best ever Football League win, the 7-0 destruction of another of his previous clubs, Swansea Town. He also scored against Swansea the following season in another high-scoring affair – Reds coming out on top 6-3!
After three outstanding seasons at Borough Park, Dixie left the club in a near £4,000 transfer that saw him link up with Ken Furphy once more at Watford. He had played 152 games for Reds scoring eleven times.
Dixie spent three seasons at Vicarage Road, then played non-league football before returning to Swansea which became the family home. He played and managed several teams in Welsh football before finally hanging up his boots.
The number four shirt became his own personal property during his time at Borough Park and he was a great favourite with all Reds supporters throughout our time in the third tier of the Football League. Our condolences go to his son and daughter and the wider Hale family.