When Dickie Bird tried to get his first match with Barnsley Cricket Club, he was just 15 years old. But when the batsman in the nets took one look at the skinny teenager and sent him on his way, Dickie Bird was nearly lost to cricket forever. Fortunately, a kindly man met the weeping youngster on his way back to the bus stop and took pity–and spent the rest of the evening bowling to him in the nets.

He did play for Barnsley and later–though intermittently–for his beloved Yorkshire. Fated to be the twelfth man, however, he left for Leicestershire from where, though he played regularly, he chose instead to go into umpiring. The rest, as they say, is history; but it is an interesting history of a miner’s son who became a worldwide celebrity and chose, after retiring from cricket, to tell his millions of adoring fan the whole tale.

Growing up in Barnsley, becoming a professional cricketer, then training as an umpire–all the steps along the way are lovingly recorded in My Autobiography. The first umpire to become a celebrity and all-round “character”, Dickie Bird never once forgot his fans. Signing autographs for children after gruelling days on the Test circuit, always having a word for waiting interviewers, forever friendly with the press–Dickie Bird always eschewed the trappings of fame. And fortune–twice he turned down lucrative offers to leave England and become a celebrity umpire abroad.

66 Test matches, three World Cup finals and 92 one-day Internationals after that fateful day at Barnsley Cricket Club, Dickie Bird retired from his sport with more than a few tears. He had spent more than 50 years controlling the enthusiasm of the world’s greatest players while “married to cricket”, and if there is one thing he puts across in his book, it is his passion for the game.

With an introduction by fellow Barnsley-man and cricketer Michael Parkinson, this book–now the bestselling British sports autobiography of all time–is written with Bird’s trademark bluntness. The enthralling story he tells will appeal not only to cricket lovers but to anyone interested in human nature in general.

Dickie Bird: My Autobiography




  1. Sj Collins says:

    A very good read.A book to read again and again.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Dickie Bird was without doubt one of the worlds greatest umpires. From his humble beginnings growing up in the South Yorkshire Town of Barnsley right through to his last test match at Lords, Dickie Bird remained dignified throughout, never letting his celebrity status affect his quiet home life, his work and his religion. A humble man of many qaulities, who at the age of fifteen was turned away at Barnsley Cricket Club only to go on and achieve his childhood dream of playing county cricket for Yorkshire. Dickie always put his love for the game of cricket before money, turning down several lucrative offers to become a celebrity umpire abroad. Dickie was without doubt a great umpire not afraid to stand up to the best players in the world who gave him upmost respect.

    Throughout this book Dickie recalls the best moments from a career that spanned over 40 years, a career that included 66 test matches, 3 world cup finals and 92 one day internationals. This book will without doubt appeal to everyone, not just cricket fans. It humorously takes a look at the career of a man loved throughout the world, capturing his life and his achievements in great detail. Dickie always had time for anyone, including his adoring mass of fans who will fondly remember his love of the game.Introduced by his close friend Michael Parkison, My Life is cleverly written with the same wit and humour that has become the Bird trademark with the great man not afraid to speak his mind or show his emotions.

    Review by Philip Price
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. Anonymous says:

    Like most Englishmen, I admire Dickie for his modest but firm attachment to the game of cricket. However, I feel it is unfair to describe this book as an AUTOBIOGRAPHY – it is more a series of anecdotes, stastics and sketches of his friends and colleagues. I don’t regret buying it and reading it, but I HAD hoped to find out more about the inner man rather than about his friends Trueman, Boycott, Parkinson and Keith Lodge. Apart from that, if you enjoy cricket, you’ll enjoy (most of) this book.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  4. Anonymous says:

    I assumed this book would be a lively story of an eccentric cricket umpire. Sadly it is not. Whilst some of the anecdotes are amusing, they all seem to be repeated several times later in the book. I think to really enjoy this book you have to be at least 55 years old, and obviously a huge cricket fan. For anyone else it’s rather disappointing. The fact that it came to be Britain’s best-selling sports book only shows how poor the rest of them must be. Every single anecdote seemed to be of the ‘The entire nation of India stood up and applauded as I entered the cricket ground, and all agreed I was the greatest umpire ever.’ variety.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  5. Anonymous says:

    You find out how Dickie Bord goes from player to umpire and how it becomes his life. But you also find out information about the past and current cricket grates. It dose not go into his life history as much as others have done but you found out a lot about his views of cricket and what some of the problems are with the modern game. You find out about the success that the game of cricket has given him and how it has, and still is his life.
    Rating: 4 / 5

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