Writer: Peverell Green
Date:Monday July 1 2013
The Where Are They Now series goes back to the late 1960's to take a look at the career of Derek Rickard.
DEREK RICKARD - Born 1st October 1947, Plymouth.
Derek joined Argyle as a fifteen year old but after only a handful of reserve games was released.
He started an apprenticeship in Devonport Dockyard as a joiner and continued to play football, first with Torpoint and then St.Austell where he became a regular goalscorer.
As a result Argyle manager Billy Bingham acting on the advice of former Argyle manager and now chief scout Ellis Stuttard brought Derek back to Home Park at the start of the 1969-70 season.
He made an immediate impact in the reserve team scoring throughout the first half of the season.
He was given his chance in the first team in the middle of December, making his debut on the 13th in a 2-0 defeat at Halifax.
He scored his first goal a month later when Argyle went to table toppers Luton and won 2-0 with Derek scoring the first goal and Mike Bickle the second.
It was a game I remember well, the match was being shown on BBC in the evening, but the coaches got back too late to see the game, and as it was pre video recorders I never saw it.
Further goals followed in his debut season, he scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Barnsley and the following week scored the second in a 2-2 draw at home to Gillingham after Mike Bickle had got the first. In March the same two goalscorers ensured Argyle got a point in a 2-2 draw at home to Bury.
In the next home game on March 21st Shrewsbury were easily beaten 4-2 with Derek scoring a hat trick with fellow striker Mike Bickle also getting on the scoresheet. He finished his goalscoring season off when he scored in a 1-0 win at Stockport, the second of four successive away games at the end of the season.
The fans were so impressed with his debut season, well half season really, that he was awarded the Player of the Year trophy.
Derek continued to be a thorn in the side of opposition defenders as the new season started; he got the goal in a 1-1 draw at home to Brighton and then scored twice as Argyle saw off Rotherham 4-1 at Home Park with John Hore and Dave Burnside also scoring.
In the next home game against Bury he scored the second and third goals after Mike Bickle had got the first but unfortunately Argyle lost the game 4-3.
He scored the goal in two 1-1 draws, the first at home to Doncaster and the second away to Rochdale, four days after his goal at Rochdale he scored the first in a 2-1 home win over Gillingham, Dave Burnside scoring the other goal.
Derek's ninth and final goal of the season came on Boxing Day in a 2-1 defeat at Torquay.
Injury would rule him out for the rest of the season.
1971-72 proved to be a copy of the previous season, Derek scored his first goal of the season on October 2nd in a 1-1 draw at home to Bournemouth and in the next home game scored Argyle's third goal in a 3-2 win over eventual champions Aston Villa with Don Hutchins scoring the other two.
He went through a purple patch when he scored nine goals in seven games, the first coming on December 18th in a 3-2 win at Mansfield, with Hughie Reed scoring twice.
On 27th December 20,096 crowded into Home Park to see goals from Derek, John Hore and Hughie Reed send our Devon neighbours back to Plainmoor smarting from a 3-1 defeat. New Year's Day saw Argyle beaten 3-2 at Tranmere Hughie Reed and Derek scoring for Argyle.
The following Saturday saw an in form Derek Rickard score his second hat trick for the club when they easily beat York 4-0, Hughie Reed again scoring the other goal.
In the next home game Derek scored twice in a 4-1 home win over Rochdale with Jimmy Hinch and Don Hutchins also on the scoresheet. The following Saturday again saw Derek scoring in a 2-1 defeat at Bolton.
It would be his last goal for over three months as once again an injury disrupted his season when he fractured his cheekbone. He returned for the final game of the season and showed the fans what they had been missing by scoring the second goal in a comfortable 4-1 win at home to Swansea with Dave Provan, Colin Sullivan and Jimmy Hinch also scoring.
From only eighteen appearances he still managed to score an impressive fourteen goals, finishing as the club's leading goalscorer.
The following season was for once relatively injury free for Derek and he continued to score goals for the club, his first, and Argyle's first of the season came in the opening home match in a 2-0 win over Southend with John Hore making the game safe. He scored again against Swansea in a 3-1 home win with Jimmy Hinch and Alan Welsh also scoring.
In the next home game he got the second goal in a 2-1 win over Halifax after Jimmy Hinch had scored the first.
In February a Steve Davey double saw off Scunthorpe at Home Park with Derek scoring the final goal in a 3-0 win. The last game in February and the first in March saw Argyle score eleven goals without conceding any.
On February 24th they thrashed Rochdale 6-0 away with Derek (2), Alan Welsh (2) Dave Provan and Les Latcham sending any fans who made the journey home happy.
The following Saturday they almost repeated the score when they beat Charlton 5-0, Derek again scored twice and Les Latcham, John Hore and Alan Welsh completed the scoring.
He scored his one and only cup goal against Division one giants Leeds United in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Elland Road in front of 38,374 fans with a large contingent up from the Westcountry. England striker Allan Clarke had put Leeds ahead, with a powerful header from Derek levelling the scores, Argyle made them look ordinary as they poured forward looking for a second goal, unfortunately the pressure came to nothing with Bates, I think he was called Mick, scored a winner for the Yorkshire side.
Derek's next goal would be one he will probably remember above all others. On March 14th 1973 the mighty Santos came to Home Park, in the team were Pele, Edu, Carlos Alberto and Clodoaldo who had all played in Brazil's 1970 World Cup win.
Santos expected about 10,000 to turn up and agreed a match fee of £2,500.
They obviously underestimated the Plymouth fans who wanted to see them play, long queues built up from every turnstile.
By the time the match was due to start almost 38,000 were shoehorned into the ground.
Unbeknown to the large crowd the Santos management realising Argyle were going to make a packet out of them demanded an extra £2,500 or they wouldn't play the match. Argyle Chairman Robert Daniel begrudgingly had to agree but told them he would be reporting them to the FA.
The match kicked off and after only three minutes Argyle midfielder Mike Dowling won a tackle and carried the ball forward, as the Brazilian defenders backed off he shot from thirty yards out and the ball flew past the Santos goalie Claudio.
The ground erupted into a wall of noise as the fans celebrated. Before we knew it full back Colin Sullivan was racing down the wing and delivered a perfect cross for Derek to dive forward and head the ball in the net, he looked miles offside but who cared, we were 2-0 up, and there was more to come, a Jimmy Hinch shot was fumbled by Claudio and the ball rolled over the line.
None of the huge crowd expected to see Argyle 3-0 up at half time against probably the best club side in the world. Santos rallied in the second half, a penalty from Pele and a goal from Edu made the score respectable but Argyle held on for a famous win.
1973-74 was to be Derek's last at the club and he rarely made the first team. He made his last appearance on 16th April 1974 in a 1-0 win at home to Charlton with Neil Hague scoring the Argyle goal. Out of favour with manager Tony Waiters he was sold to Bournemouth in a joint transfer, with Neil Hague also going to Dean Court for a combined fee of £15,000.
While at Argyle Derek made a total of 121 appearances and scored 42 goals.
He only spent one season at Bournemouth making 32 appearances and scoring six goals, at the end of the season Bournemouth were relegated and Derek decided to retire from league football.
He returned to his old job as a joiner in the Dockyard but continued playing football, first with Falmouth and then Saltash.
He also bought a newsagents and later worked as a delivery driver for the Evening Herald.
Still a frequent visitor to Home Park, he and nine others from the team that played, and beat Santos were on the pitch the day Argyle beat Fleetwood 2-1 on March 16th to celebrate fourty years after their famous victory over the Brazilians.
Date:Monday July 1 2013
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