Dick Graham was a ‘leader of gladiators’
FORMER Colchester United manager, Dick Graham, has died at the age of 90 after a period of poor health.
Graham masterminded the U’s finest hour, by leading his then-Fourth Division side to a famous 3-2 win over Don Revie’s Leeds United on February 13, 1971.
A brace from ex-England and Ipswich Town striker, Ray Crawford, and one from ex-Aston Villa ace Dave Simmons put the U’s on their way to a memorable victory, despite two comeback goals by Norman Hunter and Johnny Giles.
Graham played more than 250 games for Crystal Palace, as a goalkeeper, before being forced to retire due to a back problem at the age of 29.
He returned to the game five years later, as a coach at West Brom, before establishing himself as a successful manager at his former club Palace, helping them to two promotions from the old Division Four to Division Two.
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He was appointed U’s boss on June 1, 1968, and was entered into the U’s hall of fame in 2007.
A family statement has been issued, following Graham’s death.
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It reads: ‘To us, he was certainly a gladiator in his own time, when he was a player, and a leader of gladiators when he was a manager. But away from the arena he was a kind, reflective man and one who believed that this life was a test and whatever life throws at us, we must not only try to do our best but always act with integrity. He was a hero to us, his family and a hero to many people in Colchester and beyond.’