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Richard D. Graham (6 May 1922 – 7 March 2013) was an English footballer and football manager who played and coached in the Football League. He played as a goalkeeper for Crystal Palace, making over 150 league appearances.

Dick Graham
Personal information
Full name Richard D. Graham[1][2]
Date of birth (1922-05-06)6 May 1922[2][3]
Place of birth Corby, England[1]
Date of death 7 March 2013(2013-03-07) (aged 90)[4]
Place of death Colchester, England[4]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Northampton Town
Leicester City
Southport (guest)
Crewe Alexandra (guest)
Crystal Palace (guest)
1944–1946 Leicester City
1946–1951 Crystal Palace 155 (0)
Total 155 (0)
Teams managed
1963–1966 Crystal Palace
1966–1968 Leyton Orient
1968 Walsall
1968–1972 Colchester United
1973–1974 Wimbledon
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He went on to manage his former club, Crystal Palace, between 1963 and 1966. He would go on to manage Leyton Orient and Walsall. His greatest success came with Colchester United, most notably by defeating Don Revie's Leeds United 3–2 in an FA Cup fifth-round tie in February 1971, which was one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in the history of the competition. He also won the Watney Cup with Colchester, before resigning in 1972. He later managed Wimbledon between 1973 and 1974.


Playing careerEdit

Born in Corby, Graham played at the age of 14 for Corby Town[5] and as an amateur for Northampton Town prior to joining Crystal Palace from Leicester City. He joined Palace following appearances as a guest-player during the war years. He was serving in the RAF during these initial appearances, before signing permanently in 1946. He made 155 league appearances for the club, before announcing his retirement through injury.[6][7]

Managerial careerEdit

Following his retirement from playing, Graham had roles as coach at West Bromwich Albion and assistant to Bob Stokoe at Charlton Athletic prior to joining Crystal Palace as assistant manager.[8] He was named permanent manager in November 1962, succeeding Arthur Rowe. Graham led the club to 11th position in the Third Division in his first season, and the following season achieved promotion to the Second Division. He departed Selhurst Park in January 1966.[6]

In the summer of 1966, Graham was appointed manager of Leyton Orient. His time with Orient was not a success, with the club hovering over the relegation zone. He resigned in February 1968 following the club's refusal to invest in new players.[8] He then joined Walsall in March of the same year, replacing Ray Shaw, but could not guide the Saddlers to promotion, leaving the club two months later at the end of the season.[5]

On 1 June 1968, Graham became manager of Fourth Division club Colchester United.[9] As manager of the U's, he took charge of 216 games for the club, winning 92 and drawing 52.[3]

Graham is best remembered at Colchester for an FA Cup run in 1970–71, in which his team saw off Ringmer, Cambridge United, Barnet and Rochdale to reach the fifth-round.[3] Colchester were drawn against First Division club Leeds United, managed by Don Revie on 13 February 1971. The U's side, nicknamed 'Grandad's Army' or 'Graham's Grandad's',[3] stormed to a 3–0 lead with two goals from Ray Crawford and one from Dave Simmons.[10] Leeds fought back, with goals from Norman Hunter and Johnny Giles, but Colchester held on to win 3–2.[3][9][10][11] The win for Colchester was one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in the competition's history, earning the club a place in the quarter-finals.[10] The U's faced Everton in the sixth round, but lost 5–0 at Goodison Park.[12]

In the summer of 1971, the U's took part in the Watney Cup, a short-lived pre-season knock-out tournament for the highest goalscoring teams not promoted.[3] Knocking out Luton Town and Carlisle United, United faced West Bromwich Albion in the final at The Hawthorns. Colchester held West Brom 4–4, with the tie going to a penalty shoot-out, the first penalty shoot-out to be shown on television. The U's won with Phil Bloss slotting home the winning penalty.

Graham resigned from Colchester United following a disagreement with a shareholder in September 1972, ending nine years of Football League management. His Football League managerial record consisted of 365 games, 170 wins, 117 draws and 131 defeats.[3]

In 1973, Graham took charge of Wimbledon. While the club ran as a part-time outfit, he worked in the supermarket business before quitting when Wimbledon went full-time. The club reverted to part-time just three weeks later, to the displeasure of Graham. He resigned from the club in March 1974 after just one season, claiming interference from the directors.[5][13]

Managerial statisticsEdit

Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Crystal Palace 1 March 1963 1 January 1966 144 65 40 39 045.1
Leyton Orient 1 June 1966 1 February 1968 70 20 25 25 028.6
Walsall 1 March 1968 1 May 1968 13 5 4 4 038.5
Colchester United 1 July 1968 8 September 1972 191 80 48 63 041.9
Total 418 170 117 131 040.7
All statistics referenced by:[14]

Personal lifeEdit

After being to forced to retire from playing through injury, Graham took over a pub in Croydon, becoming a brewer's representative and part-time reporter alongside coaching with the Surrey FA. His brother played as a centre-forward for Clapton Orient, Nottingham Forest and York City.[5]

Graham was inducted into the Colchester United 'Hall of Fame' in 2007 in recognition of the famous FA Cup victory over Leeds,[9][10] becoming the first manager to be elected without having ever played for the club.[3]


Graham fractured his hip in December 2012, from which he slowly recovered in hospital, but an underlying heart condition worsened following his return home. This led to him being confined to bed for the last three weeks of his life.[10] He died aged 90 on 7 March 2013.[4]


Colchester United
All honours referenced by:[3]


  1. ^ a b "Dick Graham – Crystal Palace FC Supporters' Website – The Holmesdale Online". The Holmesdale Online. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b Purkiss, Mike; Sands, Nigel. Crystal Palace: A Complete Record 1905–1989. The Breedon Books Publishing Company. p. 326. ISBN 0907969542.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dick's Managerial Career". Colchester United FC. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Dick Graham: 1922–2013". Colchester United FC. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "PAST MANAGERS". Walsall FC. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Dick Graham". Crystal Palace FC. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  7. ^ "DICK GRAHAM". Post War English & Scottish Football League A – Z Player's Database. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  8. ^ a b "A HISTORY OF LEYTON ORIENT FC 1965–1974". Keith Emmerson. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "Dick Graham was a 'leader of gladiators' – Colchester United – Green Un". Green 'Un 24. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e "BBC Sport – Dick Graham: Colchester United FA Cup giant-killing boss dies". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Tributes after legendary Colchester United boss, Dick Graham, died aged 90 (From Gazette)". Colchester Gazette. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Everton football club: record v Colchester United". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  13. ^ "1970 to 1979". Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Dick Graham – Soccer Base". Soccerbase. Retrieved 10 March 2013.

External linksEdit