The death of former Brentford Captain Gordon Riddick was reported over the weekend. Blogger and author Greville Waterman has written the following tribute to Gordon.
All Brentford supporters will be saddened to learn of the death of Gordon Riddick last Friday, 24 August, at the age of 74. He enjoyed a long and successful Football League career and played over 400 times between 1962-1977 for the likes of Luton Town, Gillingham, Charlton Athletic, Orient, Northampton Town and finally Brentford.
His most valuable quality at a time of small squads and limited resources was his versatility as he played in a variety of positions in defence, midfield and even up front. He was a regular goalscorer for Gillingham and Charlton paid a hefty £25,000 fee for him but by the time he joined Brentford in in October 1973 he was seen as a midfielder or centre half.
Gordon cost £4,000 – not an insignificant sum at the time for a cash-strapped Brentford, and his experience along with that of Jimmy Gabriel helped Mike Everitt’s team escape from the bottom of Division Four. The following season was his best as he formed an exceptional defensive partnership with the youthful Keith Lawrence that saw the Bees concede only 45 goals. Riddick used all his experience to save his aging legs and he read the game superbly, captaining the team to an unexpected ninth place finish.
The following season was less successful for Riddick as Nigel Smith replaced him in defence although I remember him scoring a memorable late winner against Stockport with a diving header. He was suffering from a chronic ankle injury and announced his retirement in September 1976 before reversing his decision and returning to help new manager Bill Dodgin on a non-contract basis before finally hanging up his boots in February 1977 at the age of 33. His last appearance was memorable for all the wrong reasons as taking responsibility after the referee ordered a retake after Steve Aylott fired his spot kick high over the bar his penalty kick against Huddersfield hit the post and the Bees lost by 3-1.
Riddick was also a talented cricketer, playing at Lord’s for his local club, Langleybury for whom he was voted Player of the Year four times.
Gordon Riddick was the ultimate professional who served the club well and contributed much at a difficult time for Brentford.