FORMER Hammers favourite and Heybridge Swifts boss Julian Dicks is on the prowl to find an Essex club to manage close to home following the arrival of a new baby, writes JON LONGMAN.

Dicks is looking for the chance to get his football management career back on track and a few Essex non-league managers will be looking over their shoulders once the lockdown is over.

Dicks, nicknamed ‘The Terminator’ in his West Ham days, has declined a possible move to China after he and manager Slaven Bilic were shown the exit door at West Bromwich after just 18 months, having got the Baggies back into the Premier League.

Dicks told a Sunday newspaper: “The sacking took us by total surprise but you don’t get a second to breathe in the top flight these days.”

Bilic was snapped up immediately by Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan but a new baby daughter in the Dicks household means the 52-year-old is putting family first and not jetting off too.

But Dicks is seeking a new non-league club to manage in Essex after enjoying his time in charge at the Swifts.

Swifts chairman Gary White had a great rapport with Dicks and told him:

“You will be most welcome to visit the Swifts any time.”

Now Dicks is seeking out another chairman akin to White: “I want to make some more non-league memories at a club that wants to go places and has an ambitious chairman.”

Dicks will live long in the memories of Swifts fans and their enthusiasm gave the Bristolian many happy memories too.

Dicks adds: “Heybridge is a great club with a brilliant set up. I absolutely loved my time there.”

His achievements at Scraley Road are legendary as his coaching methods prevented the club dropping into the Essex Senior League and then took them to the brink of promotion to the Isthmian Premier in May 2019.

Dicks said: “I think my record for the 2018/19 season speaks for itself. We never lost two games on the spin and were on the up the whole time.”

The team Dicks brought together won the North Division play-off final at Maldon & Tiptree on a sensational Sunday afternoon but were denied promotion by the crazy points-per-game rule dreamed up by the FA boffins as a solution to too many play-off winners for too few restructured leagues.

Dicks summed up the situation in one word: “Ridiculous!”

The Jammers were taken by surprise but Dicks’ down to earth approach resonated with the Swifts players.

Dicks was blunt at the first team meeting at Heybridge: “I want you to live and die by your mistakes. I will back you all the way if you give me everything.

“If you don’t give me your all then we have a big problem.”

Dicks could be repeating that mantra at a stadium near you very soon.