Topsham, Devon born goalkeeper Dick Pym played for hometown club Topsham, initially as a centre-forward before moving to Exeter City in December 1911. There he played his first game in the reserves in December and on 23rd March 1912 he debuted in the first team, replacing the regular goalkeeper in a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke. He subsequently appeared in 186 consecutive matches in the Southern League for Exeter City. In 1914 he toured with Exeter under manager Arthur Chadwick Argentina and Brazil, playing in Rio de Janeiro the Brazilian national football team in its historic first official match but unfortunately he broke two ribs in the first game against Argentine North, which Exeter won 1-0.
During the First World War Pym joined in 1916 the Devonshire Regiment where he served as Physical Training Instructor. When Exeter City joined the Football League in 1920 Pym played in their inaugural Football League fixture against Brentford in August 1920, playing 40 matches in their first League campaign before he was sold to Bolton Wanderers at end of the 1920-21 season for the then enormous sum of £5,000 to enable the club to purchase its home ground, St James Park. He made his Bolton debut in August against Preston North End but lost his place a month later and had to wait until February to displace Freddy Hinton, whereafter he became the undisputed first choice.
He was the Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper at the first ever FA Cup Final to be played at Wembley Stadium in 1923 when they beat West Ham United 2-0, the so called “White Horse” Cup Final because of the presence of a mounted white police horse at the helm of the crowd control,. He won further FA Cup winners medals with Bolton in their wins over Manchester City in 1926 and and Portsmouth in 1929 and earned three caps for England. Pym made his England debut a 2-1 win over Wales at The Vetch Field, Swansea on 28th February 1925. The following month he played in a 2-0 defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park. On 1st March 1926, again playing Wales, he won his third and final cap in a 3-1 defeat at Selhurst Park.
Pym played his last game for Bolton in September 1930 in a heavy defeat at Liverpool and left Bolton after 336 appearances for the club to play for another year with non-league Yeovil & Petters United in May 1931, playing for them until 1932. In January 1933 he became Topsham’s coach, occasionally turning out for them. He later had a spell as Exeter City’s assistant trainer from August 1937 and after the Second World War scouted for Bolton Wanderers.
He became the last-surviving member of the historic 1923 Bolton Wanderers team and lived until he was 95, earning him the record for the longest-lived England footballer, and was only the third Devon born footballer to play for England. Exeter Town Council named a street Dick Pym Close in Birchy Barton in 1988 in his honour.
NB in the photograph Pym fields the ball in a match against Chelsea in a match in April 1923.