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More Friendly Goals at Upton Park
But I've never played football in my life,
Protested Aircraftman Dixon and was promptly told:
Good Show. Now is your big chance to learn.
Tommy Dixon was one of Ted Fenton’s early signings when he joined the Hammers in July 1951 from Newcastle United. As a centre forward he stayed with the Hammers for four seasons making 44 first team appearances and scoring 25 goals. This included 39 in Division II (21 goals), three in the FA Cup (2 apps) and two in the Essex Professional Cup (2 apps).
Dixon's four year claret and blue career included the following highlights
Born: Newcastle-upon-Tyne June 8, 1929. Tommy died February 6, 2014 aged 84
Leading West Ham goal scorer in 1953-54 with 19 goals (17 league & 2 FA Cup)
The first player to score at Upton Park in a floodlit first team match
Scoring in 1954’s two FA Cup ties against Division I opposition.
Eastern Counties League debut
Newmarket Town 1 - 4 West Ham United
A week later Tommy made his Hammers debut for the “A” team on August 25th, 1951 in an Eastern Counties League match at Newmarket Town's Cricket Field enclosure.
Opening in startling fashion the Hammers went ahead when Fred Kearns netted after four seconds, and gained a convincing 4-0 lead when Kearns netted his second after 15 minutes and Harry Williams added two more, the first just before half-time and the second after the interval.
The home side reduced the arrears near the finish when a forward intercepted a pass-back, but there was never any doubt as to the destination of the points, despite Tommy Dixon sustaining a knee injury that handicapped our XI to some extent.
Cricket Field Ground
25th August 1951
Dixon made his league debut on April 4, 1953 in the 4-1 defeat away to Swansea Town. The disappointment of a losing debut would have been forgotten two days later when he scored his first claret & blue goals with a brace in a 3-2 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. The other goal that day was also a first for the club by Dave Sexton. Tommy ended the season with four goals in his six league appearances.
4th April 1953
Football League : Division II
Swansea Town 4 - 1 West Ham United
While he played his first league game in April, Tommy had played in an Essex Professional Cup tie the previous November. On November 13, 1952 he made his Hammers debut along with Noel Cantwell and Harry Gunning in the side which recorded a 3-2 win away at Colchester United.
Upton Park’s First Floodlit Goal
Just over a week after netting his first league goals, Tommy played in Upton Park’s inaugural floodlit game on Thursday April 16, 1953. In a friendly against the Division I side, Tottenham Hotspur, the Hammers won 2-1 with Tommy scoring the game’s first goal in the ninth minute.
Four days after the Tottenham Hotspur win the Hammers played their second floodlit game, this time the opposition was the Scottish side, St.Mirren. Again Tommy was on target in the 3-3 draw.
This was Dixon’s best season for the Hammers as he rattled in 19 goals in 32 games to head the club’s goal scorers table ahead of Dave Sexton on 14 goals and John Dick starting out on his West Ham career chipped-in with 13 goals.
Seventeen of Dixon's goals came in 29 league games with two more in the F.A. Cup. The West Ham strike force that season was impressive as they chalked up 42 league goals between them.
A personal highlight would have been Tommy’s hat-trick in September 14, 1953 win over Swansea Town. The score line from Dixon’s debut game in April, reversed.
FA Cup Ties versus Division I Opposition
That season's FA Cup 3rd round tie West Ham faced Huddersfield Town at Upton Park. Against the odds the Hammers recorded one of the club’s best ever results with a 4-0 victory over a team which would finish the season in 3rd place in Division I. In front of a 25,250 crowd Dixon scored one of the goals.
Their reward in the Fourth Round was another home tie against Division I opposition. This time it was Stanley Matthews’ 1953 FA Cup holders Blackpool. A 37,000 crowd crammed into Upton Park to watch the teams draw 1-1 with another Dixon strike. Unfortunately, luck ran out for the Hammers in the replay as Blackpool triumphed 3-1 at Bloomfield Road.
Dixon’s success in front of goal continued in a couple of Upton Park friendlies. His next strike was on October 5, 1953 against Division One side Sunderland as the Hammers ran out 2-0 winners.. Then five months later St.Mirren returned to Upton Park on March 22, 1954 but this time the Hammers improved to record a 3-1 win which included a Dixon double.
Dixon was one of seven players to wear the number nine shirt in the 1954-55 season. Injuries took their toll with the big centre-forward making just four more league appearances before he left the club in March 1955.
His last league game was on Christmas Day 1954 in the 1-0 home win over Derby County. By co-incidence, two days later in the reverse fixture, Alan Blackburn who also recently died, made his league debut in the number nine shirt.
Last Goals for the Hammers
On November 11, 1954 Dixon scored his last goals in a claret & blue shirt with a brace in the 3-2 Essex Professional Cup semi-final victory over Colchester United.
The Italian Experience
The December 14, 1954 visit of AC Milan to east London was memorable for the wrong reasons. A West Ham side including Tommy at centre forward were convincingly beaten 6-0 by the top Italians in front of a packed Upton Park.
Transfer to Biscuitmen in March 1955
In March 1955 the likeable marksman transferred to the Division III (South) club, Reading for £2,700. The goals reigned in as he hit the net with a respectable 76 goal in 143 league and cup appearances for the Biscuitmen. In each of his two seasons with the Berkshire club he headed their scoring tables.
This excellent strike rate bought him to the attention of Brighton & Hove Albion who he joined in October 1958 to link up with Ex-Hammer strike partner, Dave Sexton. In 35 league games on the South coast he netted 12 goals.
After another two years he transferred back to the North-East to join Workington Town (53 league games – 17 goals) and finally to Barrow (62 league games – 23 goals) in October 1961.
Including his spell with the Hammers, Tommy Dixon’s football league career took in 332 games and scoring an impressive 149 goals.
theyflysohigh would like to pass on our condolences to Tommy's family and friends at this sad time
Newspaper coverage courtesy of Richard Miller
Dixon's appearance totals courtesy of Stuart Allen
Football Combination debut
West Ham United 3 - 1 Ipswich Town
18th August 1951
Records indicate that Tommy made his initial Hammers debut for the Football Combination side on August 18th, 1951 in a reserve fixture against Ipswich Town at Upton Park.
The likely-looking visiting team took the lead after about 15 minutes, but we equalised and then went ahead before the interval. In the second-half we continued to dominate the play, and deservedly scored a third. John Gregory, Tommy Dixon and Don Wade were each credited with one goal in a good display of team work.
Attributed to Tommy during his time in the RAF serving National Service in 1951"
1954 Cup Final Appearance
Not the FA Cup but the London Challenge Cup (LCC)! Tommy played in the LCC final on December 6 against Arsenal at Highbury. A 1-1 draw took the final replay back to Upton Park, but by that time Tommy was in the process of leaving the Hammers. His centre forward replacement in the replay was Alan Blackburn.
Woodgate, Parker, Wright, Gregory, Kinsell, Dixon, Allison
Southren, Sexton, O'Farrell, Andrews, Hooper
June 8, 1929
3 FA Cup
2 Essex Professional Cup
2 FA Cup
2 Essex Professional Cup
Date of Birth: