(This is not strictly a Dickie Rooks memory but I thought I would share it.) In 1965 when I was 13, I had a football pen pal who lived in Sunderland (I live in Edinburgh.) He invited me down for the Easter weekend to see Sunderland play Wolverhampton Wanderers and then Birmingham City on consecutive days at the old Roker Park. That was in the days when footballers were not cosseted and were capable of playing 3 games in 4 days. After the Birmingham match my friend said we should hang around outside the players' entrance and get some autographs. There were plenty of other boys there with the same idea. When the players did come out they were immediately surrounded. I got a few signatures and moved on to join the next group. I thought I recognised Dickie Rooks, the Sunderland reserve centre-half, from his fair, receding hairline. I said “will you sign please Dickie” several times. A boy next to me said something I could not make out. I carried on pleading “will you sign please Dickie” before the boy next to me said slowly “it’s John Schofield, the Birmingham goalkeeper, not Dickie Rooks.”
Oops….”will you sign please John” which he did. Schofield also had a fair receding hairline so it was an easy mistake to make. We were invited on to the Birmingham coach to get the rest of the players autographs. It would never be allowed these days.
10-09-19 Gray, F
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