1977/78 | Tommy Dixon and Mike Dagless watch final home game of the season

Feature written by Phil Castiaux and Graham Usher, Images courtesy of Phil Castiaux and Martin Hunter

On Tuesday evening we welcomed, as our guests, Tommy Dixon and Mike Dagless to Croft Park.


David Atkinson with Tommy Dixon

Tommy joined the Blyth in 1975 when manager Allan O’Neill signed him from Ashington. Tom had begun his career at Gateshead before being signed by then Colliers manager Jackie Marks in 1972.

Tommy said: “I think it was Jimmy Turney who did the work to sign me. I don’t know that Ashington got for me but they were short of money. Ashington Manager Billy Wright simply told me I was going to the Spartans and I should go and get myself a good deal!”

Tommy initially played as a defensive midfielder while long serving Ronnie Phillipson partnered Ronnie Scott at the centre of the defence, but when Phillipson left Tommy established himself alongside Scott in a formidable centre half pairing.

“I think I was actually signed to replace Ronnie Scott who was in to his 30s but in the end, we started a new central pairing era between us,” said Tommy.

He played in every single game of the 1977/78 cup run as part of a back four that played every game.

“To say I had a good time with Blyth would be an understatement. It was the highlight of my footballing career by far. The big Cup run squad was fantastic. It just happened; it came from nowhere and snowballed. But I was in lots of good teams here with other great players like Micky Lister and Gordon Smith.”

In 1984 Tommy had the honour of lifting the Northern League championship for a record fifth time, as Blyth become the first club to win it five seasons running. “I have seven Northern League Winner’s tankards and I still take pleasure from my success at Blyth,” he commented.

He had made more than 600 appearances for the Spartans before being released in 1984 by manager Peter Feenan. Tommy reflected:” I wanted to stay as did the Chairman too. It was a shock.”

Tommy was awarded a testimonial by Blyth in November 1984 in front of a 2,500 crowd.
He finished his playing career with Whitley Bay. He returned to Croft Park as manager in November 1988. “We were struggling when I took over but rallied and the next season did well. However, my job was taking me abroad a lot so it became untenable,” Tommy said


As a student in Newcastle, Mike Dagless signed for North Shields in 1969 and scored 42 goals from midfield in only 147 appearances.

Mike moved to Blyth in 1972. “I had a feeling I’d like to play for Blyth who were the established force in the area. It was nearer where I lived and the pitch was good,” he said.

In the 1973/74 season Mike was the club’s leading goal scorer with 33 goals.

Mike scored with a 20-yard free kick in Blyth’s 1974 FA Cup second round game at Croft Park against Preston in front of 8,500 fans.

He said: “It was a low shot in to the bottom corner. I’d been practicing free kicks on the Thursday night and managed to get it round the Preston wall. It wasn’t the best goal I scored but I remember it fondly due to the occasion.”

Mike scored at Consett in the 1977/78 Cup run but suffered an injury in December 1977 which kept him out for two months. He didn’t return to side till the following February – missing out on most of the run.

Mike commented: “It was devastating really. It couldn’t have happened at a worse possible time. I was probably fit again by the Wrexham replay but the team was settled and playing brilliantly so there was no chance I could back in. It was sickening to miss the chance to play in such a match.”

Talking of that squad Mike said: “Brian [Slane] brought in some real quality during summer before the run. He had a good eye for a player and Jackie Marks was the best possible motivator so it was a good combination.”

Mike chose to move on in 1980 – to become player/manager at Bedlington Terriers before performing a similar role at Whitley Bay. Mike commented: “I was not getting a regular game at Blyth and I always enjoyed coaching so it made sense.”

He returned to Croft Park as a player and assistant to boss John Connolly, winning the Northern League title before he took over the reins himself and winning the title again.

Mike left due to pressure from his teaching job and went on to have successful spells as manager at Alnwick and Morpeth.

In total Mike spent eight years at Croft Park scoring an amazing 93 goals from midfield.

Posted by BSAFC Media Team