Pym, Richard (Dick)

Birth Date

2nd February 1893

Birthplace

Topsham

Occupation

Goalkeeper

Biographical Text

Dick Pym initially followed the family profession as a youngster, namely becoming a fisherman, something he continued to do throughout his playing career and after.

Pym was signed by Exeter City from Topsham in December 1911, making his first team debut three months later in a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke. This was the start of a remarkable 186 consecutive appearances for Exeter in the League.
After the game against Queens Park Rangers on the 26th February 1921, he was presented wth a memento of this unbelievable record. And the report at the time said:

Handsome Present to Dick Pym Today.
"A very pleasing ceremony took place at St James's Park at the conclusion of the Exeter City v Queen's Park Rangers match this afternoon, Dick Pym, the popular City goalkeeper-captain, being presented by the Directors of the club with a costly 18-carat gold half-hunter watch, and a gold albert and medallion, in recognition of his splendid services.
The medallion was inscribed: " Exeter City F.C.-To R.Pym, 26th February 1921," and in the inner case of the watch there was an inscription as follows: "Presented by Exeter City F.C. to Mr R. Pym, to commemorate 186 consecutive League matches." The gift cost over £50, and came as a very pleasant surprise to the Topsham man.
The presentation was made in the dressing room by Mr Michael J. McGahey, the Chairman of Directors, who was accompanied by several members of the Board. Mr MvGahey remarked that there might be another goalkeeper with a similar unbroken record of service, he did not know of one, but he was certain that there was no player of any team who tried to serve his club better. The Directors felt they could not let the occasion pass without making him that gift.
Dick Pym, radiant from the bath, with his hair still wet, had paused in the act of adjusting certain garments, which shall be nameless, and obviously taken completely by surprise. He said as much when,in responding, he thanked Mr McGahey and the other Directors for their gift, which he said he should always prize very highly."

He toured South America in 1914 with the Grecians, but unfortunately he broke two ribs in the first game against Argentine North, which Exeter won 1-0. Ironically he suffered on the outward voyage to South America from sea sickness. He recalled many years later, that he brought a parrot back to England from Brazil, which happily settled in at St James' Park. When it died, it was buried under the goal, to be hurriedly dug up again, to break Exeter's losing streak that had commenced at the parrots internment. At the end of the 1920/21 season, in which Pym had been excellent the following was reported.

"Pym Going North.
Bolton Wanderers Seek City Captain's Transfer Has Pym played his last match for Exeter City? Representatives of three first-class professional clubs were present at St James's Park on the last day of the season watching the City and Bristol Rovers match. At the close officials of the Bolton Wanderers Club approached the Exeter City directors and sought Pym's transfer. Pym turns down Exeter Contract renewal. The City captain had been offered terms for next season by his club week earlier and refused them.

A Big Bid, but Pym signs for Exeter.
On Saturday the Wanderers's representatives made a big bid for Pym's services. The terms proposed were not acceptable to Exeter, and eventually, the Bolton deputation, having ascertained Exeter's condition's, left to place the matter before a meeting of their directors. Pym subsequently signed forms for Exeter City for next season. Mr M.J McGahey, Chairman of the Exeter City club, has confirmed that they will not part with Pym unless he definitely wishes to go.

Pym's Own Views.
It is known that whilst Pym is filled with regret at the thought of leaving Exeter and Devonshire, which is his home, and where he has made a multitude of friends and admirers, he feels it his duty to look at the matter from the business standpoint. His share in a transfer fee would probably be very much larger than any amount he could expect to receive by way of benefit, and in view that a footballer's career is uncertain, he wishes to make good financially now, whilst in his prime"

In 1921, Exeter City sold Pym to Bolton Wanders for what was then a huge transfer fee of £5,000. Pym made 301 league outings for Bolton as well as appearing in the famous ‘White Horse’ FA Cup Final of 1923. He played in two more winning cup finals in 1926 and 1929.
During his time with Bolton, Pym was capped for England three times. In 1930 he left Bolton to sign for Yeovil, but he retired from playing after twelve months.
Living in Topsham again, he was often seen in the middle of the River Exe on a fishing trip. He was made President of the local Topsham Town Football Club. He was appointed assistant trainer at Exeter City in the summer of 1937.

Pym died on 16th September 1988 and Exeter City held a minutes silence in his ‘honour’ at the first home game after his death.

Exeter City Council have named a close, off Grecian Way, Dick Pym Close.

Appearances

203

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