Blyth Spartans are devastated to announce that club legend Tommy Dixon has passed away.
The following is an interview conducted during last season’s 1977/78 FA Cup 40th Anniversary series by Phil Castiaux.
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