Donoven Dickie Image 1 Southend United 1931

Donoven Dickie Image 1 Southend United 1931


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Bulwell, Nottinghamshire born inside forward Alfred “Dickie” Donoven began his football career with Bulwell Rangers in 1919 before joining Nottingham Forest in August 1920, making his Football League debut at Leicester City in February 1921. He made two further appearances for Forest in May 1921 before joining Midland League Mansfield Town in May 1922. He was The Stags’ leading goalscorer in 1923-24 and 1924-25, with a fantastic return of 36 and 37 strikes respectively as Mansfield won the Midland League Championship in both seasons. After 87 goals in 119 appearances for Mansfield he signed for Third Division (South) club Southend United for £500 in May 1925.

He made his Football League debut against Reading in September 1925 and scored an FA Cup hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Dulwich Hamlet in November 1926 in a season in which he scored a career best 17 goals for The Shrimpers. He was a regular, although not prolific goalscorer for Southend during the rest of the 1920’s, before converting to the left half berth in September 1930.

It was while at The Kursaal that he got to play at Wembley Stadium in unusual circumstances. Their away fixture at Clapton Orient’s Lea Bridge Road stadium was moved to Wembley Stadium as Orient’s ground had been closed following a bad injury to a Torquay United player resulting from the close proximity of the pitch barrier to the playing surface. While remedial work was carried out the East Londoners were forced to hire the Empire Stadium in order to stage two home games. The first resulted in an easy 3-0 win over Brentford in front of a healthy 8,000 plus crowd. However, the visit of Southend United attracted a crowd of only 1,916 (which must have looked very odd in vast stadium with a then capacity of 100,000) and Donoven played in a 3-1 defeat by Clapton Orient, albeit in a Third Division (South) fixture on 6th December 1930.

He became a stalwart performer, scoring 58 goals in 338 appearances for Southend through to his final appearance in March 1935. He retired from professional football in May 1936, subsequently playing for non league Gaslight of Rayleigh before his eventual playing retirement.


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