OCT 00] SPA CENTRE REVIEW - DICKIE BIRD
Dickie Bowls Over Leamington
evening of chuckles was had by all as one of cricket’s great
characters entertained the Royal Spa Centre with his tales.
Bird is one of the icons of the modern game. At a time when the
England players were failing miserably, you could always rely on
the umpires to restore some sense of national identity.
our Harold, from Yorkshire, typified that for years. Nervous,
twitchy, constantly bothered by something he was loved by the
crowd and the players alike.
there was to be some disaster, it was always going to happen to
of some of his more hilarious misfortunes titillated the
Leamington audience at the weekend.
keen to remember where he was, he slipped references to
Edgbaston in whenever he could, but his stories cover the world
of them centre on his home county, and many contain anecdotes
about Geoff Boycott, the man everyone loves to mock.
basking in his retirement, is never bitter during his
story-telling. Confident and fluent, like a man used to spending
hours in the middle of a sporting cauldron, his patter goes down
stumbles slightly in the second half, when he takes questions
from the audience. One unexpected yorker leaves him stumped,
when he is asked the strangest dismissal he has ever given.
he does get riled when asked if he would like to do television
been asked. They only ask their mates. Experience counts for
nothing these days.”
the whole you cannot deny him his pomp. Umpires, even those as
famous as he, do not live a life of luxury, and his
autobiography – the best-selling tome ever by a sportsman, has
given him some comfort in his dotage.
ends by thanking the audience for their support, reveals he now
drives a Jaguar, and then walks off the stage, straight through
the auditorium and settles in the foyer to sign autographs.
gets the idea that he loves it.