The football community is mourning the death of former Waterford FC player Dixie Hale, older brother of League of Ireland great Alfie, who died after illness in his adopted Swansea just under three weeks short of his 86th birthday.
Born in Dominick’s Place in Waterford City before moving to the family home at nearby Ard na Gréine, Dixie started his footballing career with his late friend Billy Galgey with Glenard FC, a club based in the Patrick’s Street area of the city.
After a year at Glenard, he joined his other three brothers, Alfie, George, and Harry, at St Joseph’s where he has a successful underage career, winning two cup finals on the same day at under-15 and senior level in 1950.
He had just turned 16 when he made the move to Kilcohan Park where he was signed by the then manager Jimmy Nealson, and a year later he became the first professional player signed by Shamrock Rovers.
His time in Dublin didn’t last long however as due to homesickness he moved back to play in Waterford, but it was a broken romance that saw him leave the Déise for life in Swansea City back in September 1959, where he played for two years.
After playing with some great players such as Len Allchurch, Harry Griffiths, and Mel Charles, he made the decision to move up North where he played with Barrow and Workington AFC.
His final hurrah came when he signed for Watford back in 1968 and they won the old third division that season, with Hale once recording that his greatest game came in the FA Cup when they played a Manchester United side including George Best, Bobby Charlton, and Denis Law in a 1-1 draw in front of 63,000 fans at Old Trafford.
After spending five years with Watford before retiring professionally at 35, Hale made the move back to Swansea in 1972 where he went into management in the Welsh League, and he was playing regularly until finally hanging up the boots at 54.
Waterford FC wishes to share its deepest sympathies with the Hale family on the passing of formers Blues midfielder Dixie Hale. Dixie left Waterford in 1959 to sign for Swansea City.— Waterford FC (@WaterfordFCie) May 12, 2021
May he Rest in Peace.#WaterfordFC #DixieHale #RIP pic.twitter.com/wkGaIfl3Ye
Although never capped at international level for the Republic of Ireland, Dixie played five times for the League of Ireland against Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England where he regarded former Scotland great Gerry Young as the greatest opponent he ever played against.
With squash and golf becoming his sporting loves in the later years of his life, Dixie was a regular visitor back to Waterford, and his many friends back home were visitors to his beloved Swansea.
He is survived by his son Neil, daughter Andrea, extended family, and friends to whom we offer our deepest sympathy.