SWEET DICKSY! Harry would like bad boy to sign for good.
SWEET DICKSY!; Harry would like bad boy to sign for good.
Julian Dicks the Hammer from Hell, has gone straight - but boss Harry Redknapp still wants to make him a lifer.
Dicks has shaken off his wild man image in an amazing transformation which has prompted a clamour for an England call-up. He's been booked just four times this year and racked up an amazing run of 29 matches without a caution.
Redknapp's so impressed he wants to tie Dicks to Upton Park for the rest of his career. It's a dramatic change from the days when, he says, "Dicksy led us a dog's life."
Dicks had been sent off nine times and collected 61 bookings before the start of this season. He once took three early baths inside six months and missed 13 matches of a West Ham promotion campaign through suspension.
Dicks' antics stunned Redknapp when he returned to Upton Park as assistant to Billy Bonds in 1991. Redknapp revealed: "It was the first day of pre- season training but Dicksy was nowhere to be seen. He'd been on holiday so he didn't turn up and didn't see anything wrong in that. And he was supposed to be captain.
"At Coventry once, he elbowed someone in the kisser. He should have been sent off. Bill and me had a go and he just said 'f*** it', I'll come off then. In training, Bill would say it was a corner or a free-kick. Dicksy would argue, turn around, and walk off.
"It was difficult as Bill was a great trainer but Dicksy wasn't prepared to run a yard unless he had a ball at his feet.
"Now he's fitter and two stone lighter. His whole attitude has changed. He's got fantastic ability and gets on with the game.
"He doesn't need to argue with refs and he doesn't need to kick anybody up in the air because he's such a good footballer.
"The big thing that's held him back has been his temperament. He's obviously conquering that."
Hammers fans, who worshipped Dicks as a cult hero, were overjoyed when Redknapp signed him back after a move to Liverpool ended in failure.
But Redknapp's gamble surprised the game. "A lot of people thought I was crackers. But I just felt he was such a good player that we'd be in there if we could get him going again.
"We'd sold him for pounds 2m and got him back for, basically, nothing."
A skirmish with Chelsea's John Spencer got Dicks a three-match ban last year, but that was his last major spot of bother.
Redknapp said: "He's been as good as gold. I've made him captain, not to keep him happy, but because he's earned it.
"Maybe he's just maturing. You still have to read his moods. but he's the first one out there working each morning.
"I'd love him to finish his career here. I'll sit down with him over the next few months and try to get that sorted out."
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