Readers have been sharing their memories of a member of the Watford squad that made history by reaching the second tier of the English game for the first time following his death at the age of 85.

Richard ‘Dixie’ Hale was part of Ken Furphy’s side that won the Division Three title in 1969 to achieve promotion to previously unscaled heights following the club's foundation in 1881.

Described in the late Trefor Jones’ The Watford Football Club Illustrated Who’s Who as “an exceptionally busy little Irish midfield player”, Hale had moved to Vicarage Road for a fee of £3,500 from Workington in July 1967.

Born in Waterford, in May 1935, Hale scored on his debut in a 2-1 defeat at home to Walsall. He went on to find the net a total of eight times in his first season, making a total of 48 appearances in all competitions.

Dixie Hale moved to Vicarage Road in 1967

Dixie Hale moved to Vicarage Road in 1967

He had once played in the League of Ireland for his home-town club alongside his three brothers, one of whom Alfie went on to play at international level.

Hale was limited to two goals in the next campaign, but remained a vital cog in the team as Furphy’s side won 27 league matches to pip Swindon Town to the Division Three crown.

The midfielder’s opportunities were limited in the 1969/70 season as Furphy’s side found it tough going at the higher level, and he retired from full-time football in 1970 after making a total of 113 league and cup appearances, scoring 10 goals.

Paying tribute on social media, Watford FC tweeted: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Watford player Dixie Hale

“The Irish midfielder played 113 times for the Hornets and was part of Ken Furphy's 1968/69 history-making promotion winners."

What are your memories of Dixie Hale? Leave your tributes via the link.

Share your memories of Dixie Hale

"The midfielder was a key part of Ken Furphy's side that won promotion to Division Two for the first time in Watford's history. Share your memories of him as a person and a player."

We asked for your responses - this is what you sent.

Gerald hicks

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
The reason he was liked he would always go into the club after a game and have a drink with the supporters. A smashing bloke! R.I.P. Dixie Gerald Hicks Pembroke Boro

Viv Gurney

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
Dixie was the first WFC player that I got an autograph from and he was really nice to this little kid. Thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP Dixie 🐝 🙏

Robert Harradence

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
Very sad to hear this news. Dixie was a great guy. He use to train our Sunday team West Watford Wanderers at Westfield school on a Thursday night with Johnny Williams sometimes.

Alan G Mitchell

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
Dixie was my trainer in my amateur football days. On a close season tour to Ireland, a game was arranged against Waterford. The game was given a big build up by the Irish press. Dixie donned my number 4 shirt and I settled for number 6. In the Waterford side was Dixie's brother Alfie. We got well beaten but it was an experience I'll never forget. We remained in contact after his retirement to Swansea. Very sadly missed

Geoffrey Cullen

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
Remember having a pint with Dixie on Sunday mornings in the Beaver. In the afternoon he would come down to Callow land and watch us play football. A great bloke and this is sad news for me and anyone who knew him

Janice Brown

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
A lovely man. He once told me that it didn't matter what your injury was, a man with a bucket of cold water and a sponge ran on the pitch and stuck the sponge down your shorts. He said if you'd broken your leg, you got up and walked away when you saw that bucket and sponge coming!

Community contributor

What are your memories of Dixie Hale
I won't be the only one to say this but he was 'here, there, every ****ing where'. And now he's joined Duncan Welbourne, Johnny Williams and Rodney Green, our scoring machine. To be coached up there by Ken Furphy, our second greatest manager. What a great times they were... A minute's joyful applause for him please, when we get back to the Vic.