Alan Dickens at Barking during the 2009–10 season
|Full name||Alan William Dickens|
|Date of birth||3 September 1964|
|Place of birth||Plaistow, England|
|1981–1982||West Ham United|
|1982–1989||West Ham United||192||(23)|
|1992||→ West Bromwich Albion (loan)||3||(1)|
|1993||→ Brentford (loan)||15||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Dickens was born in Plaistow, Essex, and played for West Ham United as a youth, winning the FA Youth Cup with his local club in 1981. For England, he gained four caps at Youth level and later played for the Under 21 team.
He signed for the Hammers as an apprentice on 14 July 1981 and as a pro on 2 August 1982. He scored on his debut, a 2–1 win at Notts County on 18 December 1982. Although a central midfielder, Dicko had to play most of the 1987–88 season partnering Tony Cottee as a striker following the departure of Frank McAvennie. He made a total of 231 league and cup appearances for the Hammers, scoring 29 goals, playing his last game for them on 23 May 1989 against Liverpool.
Dickens made the move to Chelsea for £635,000, a fee set by a Football League tribunal that included his former manager John Lyall. He made 22 league appearances for the West London club during the 1989–90 season under Bobby Campbell, with his debut coming in a 1–0 away win against Wimbledon on 19 August 1989, the opening day of the 1989–90 season. He was regularly substituted during the first half of the campaign. He scored his first league goal in a 4–2 defeat at QPR on 9 December 1989, but made just one appearance between January and the end of the season (as a late replacement for Peter Nicholas in the last game of the season away to Millwall).
During his second season at Chelsea, Dickens failed to make a league start until mid-February. He did, however, keep his place in the side for the remainder of that campaign. Campbell's replacement at the end of the 1990–91 season, Ian Porterfield, signed Vinnie Jones and Dickens added just three games to his 1991–92 tally after Jones arrived early in the season. He played his last first-team game in February 1992, a 1–1 draw at Nottingham Forest, after which he appeared only for the reserve team.
After periods on loan to West Bromwich Albion and Brentford during the 1992–93 season, Dickens moved to Colchester United where he made 32 league appearances. In 1994, barely 30 years old, his playing career at senior level was over.
After retirement from football, Dickens went on to live in Barking and work as a black cab (hackney carriage) driver. He was assistant manager at Barking from November 2008 until April 2012, when he was appointed manager. However, he left the job in October that year.
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