Over the past week, the BBC have been releasing pieces of archive footage that represent all things Yorkshire. In today’s archive footage, first broadcast in February 1990, we watch as Dickie Bird recounts when the idea of umpiring first appeared to him.
In an interview, the cricketing legend reveals that it was actually when watching a match at none-other than Headingley Stadium that the idea was brought to his attention.
“I went to watch Yorkshire play cricket at Headingley,” states Bird, as he describes returning home to the county to attend his father’s funeral. “I was sat in the Yorkshire dressing room, and quite a few of the Yorkshire players, said to me, “Have you ever thought of becoming an umpire?””
“I said “Umpire?! You must be joking” and I just laughed at them.”
Bird, then, goes on to explain how, after leaving the stadium, he decided that becoming an umpire might not be a bad idea, and so wrote to Lords and was approved for the role for the 1970 cricket season.
This was not the last time that Bird’s umpiring career was influenced by the Yorkshire team, however. He carries on to explain that his very first match as umpire was held at the legendary Oval stadium, presiding over a match between Surrey and none-other-than the Yorkshire team.
“I arrived at the Oval at 6 in the morning,” explains Bird. “All the gates were locked so I thought “We’ll I’ll climb over the gates”. So, I threw my bag over the gates and started to climb over, and a London bobby shouts “What do you think you’re doing? Come down”. So, I came back down and I said “to tell you the truth officer, I am officiating in a county championship match here today!””
The footage is part of the BBC’s archive project which will show content produced in and around Yorkshire over the past decades. The short clips will contain footage demonstrating significant points in Yorkshire’s history.
You can check out the clip below and make sure to keep an eye out for more archive footage to follow.