When West Ham hard man Julian Dicks tried to save a dying blackbird

Agent Rachel Anderson tells one off field story which shows the West Ham's cult hero's caring side

Julian Dicks, West Ham,

Julian Dicks, West Ham United first-team coaching assistant. Picture by Daniel Hambury PA Archive/PA Images

A couple of years ago on Newstalk's Team 33, we chatted to former West Ham hard man Julian Dicks about his career in the game.

The left back, who also briefly played for Liverpool in the 1990s, played in an era when a lot of clubs had a hard man figure in the team who was tough as nails and would make life difficult for opponents.

Dicks gained that reputation during his playing career but off the field, a few anecdotes show his caring side.

On this week's Team 33, football agent Rachel Anderson joined us on the show to talk about the sexist incidents she had to endure during her career, as well as what life as a player representative entails.

Full interview with Rachel right here:

Julian Dicks was the first player she represented as a football agent and they met in unexpected and amusing circumstances as she discusses on the podcast.

But when she was barred from the Professional Footballers' Awards dinner in 1997 on the grounds of her gender, the following year it was Dicks who was supportive of Anderson and wrote a letter to the PFA on her behalf and also invited her to the 1998 awards - although his efforts unfortunately were in vain - with a court case ultimately proving necessary.

That was a kind act. But his caring side also comes out in another story that Anderson shares in which the now West Ham first team coach tried to save a dying blackbird, while running late for an important meeting.

"He does love animals and I thought it was just dogs. I knew he loved dogs but he does love animals and we were on a country road and this [blackbird] had been injured," said Anderson.

"He stopped his car. How he saw it I don't know because he had a fast car. But anyway he stopped it. He hadn't hit [the bird] but he just saw it. Then we took it back. It did die actually but it died happy because he gave it a little bit of brandy and it was unfortunate that we couldn't save it .

"He was late for a meeting but that was him. He is a hard man as far as [being] a tenacious player, but certainly a bit of a softy. He'll hate me for saying that but he is."