JONNY’S A TRUE TELLY AD­DICT...

Dixon gave up football for life be­hind the lens

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Matt Bad­cock

Cre­ative

COMED ine with Me, Jodie Marshon Mail Or­der Brides and Sun, Sex and Sus­pi­cious Par­ents might sound like an evening in watch­ing trash TV, but for for­mer Wy­combe Wan­der­ers and Brighton & Hove Al­bion striker Jonny Dixon it’s been all work.

Chair­boys and Seag­ulls fans will no doubt re­mem­ber the fleet-footed at­tacker with his strag­gly black hair.

But, aged 25, he sur­pris­ingly walked away from football to pur­sue another ca­reer. And over the course of an hour the 31-year-old tells The Football League Pa­per all about his sec­ond ca­reer in tele­vi­sion.

An as­sis­tant pro­ducer, pro­ducer, di­rec­tor and edit pro­ducer, Dixon has worked on a long list of cult TV shows in­clud­ing Don’t Tell the Bride and The Val­leys as well as the ones men­tioned above.

“I’ve still got a close group of football mates from my days at Wy­combe,” Dixon says. “They al­ways say I wasn’t a typ­i­cal foot­baller.

“I’d go home from train­ing and write scripts, draw, I used to cut my clothes and sell them down the mar­ket at Green­wich, I started up a mu­sic man­age­ment com­pany.

“The other boys would go home, watch Sky Sports News, play Play Sta­tion, watch a match, go to bed, wake up for train­ing. Football, football, football. I was al­ways look­ing for other cre­ative out­lets on top of football.

“I sort of fell out of love with football, fell in love again and back out again. It was the whole ‘you play the same game and one per­son will say you played well, another will say you didn’t’.

“Ev­ery­thing can change on the toss of a coin some­times. I felt at 25 I was go­ing to start get­ting to the stage where I was chas­ing my ca­reer rather than be in full con­trol of it. Year con­tracts here and there. So I just took a mas­sive risk to do some­thing else.”

Dixon looks back on his play­ing days with great fond­ness and he ad­mits he does miss the rush of scor­ing a goal. But af­ter not watch­ing a game for a year post-re­tire­ment, he’s of­ten at games again to see his for­mer team-mates in ac­tion.

“Watch­ing Matty Bloom­field cap­tain Wy­combe at Wem­b­ley, even though they lost, was mov­ing. I re­mem­ber his first day at the club,” Dixon says.

“I was watch­ing Rus­sell Martin (Nor­wich) on telly the other night play­ing for Scot­land. You think, ‘Flip­ping heck, we were sat on the bench at Wy­combe Wan­der­ers’. Ikechi Anya (Wat­ford) as well. I’ve got photos of the three of us sat on the bench at Wy­combe and now they’re in­ter­na­tion­als.”

And all are still part of Wy­combe’s Wolf Pack, along with New­cas­tle United’s Mike Wil­liamson, Ser­gio Tor­res, Tom Cad­more, Steve Gre­gory – now all play­ing Non-League – and Jamie Young, who is in Aus­tralia.

“Rus­sell says it’s quite rare and a lot of his team­mates don’t have that bond with an old group of play­ers,” Dixon says. “We’ve put ef­fort in to main­tain that be­cause we had some good times when we were younger.

Bond

“Dur­ing our Wy­combe days we went through some tough times. One of our good friends Mark Philo passed away in a car crash. He came through the youth ranks with me. It was the day be­fore my 22nd birth­day. That re­ally bonded us all to­gether.”

Dixon is clearly happy with his big life choice. Last year he mar­ried Beki in Aus­tralia, he’s grow­ing his own pro­duc­tion com­pany, The Duck Train Col­lec­tive, and work­ing on se­cur­ing in­vest­ment for a fea­ture film next year.

So what do his football mates think of his day job now? “They love it,” he says. “They al­ways said, ‘Dicko, you are dif­fer­ent’. I think they al­ways knew I would do some­thing slightly dif­fer­ent.

“Football ca­reers are funny things. You have ex­pec­ta­tions of how things should be and how they should pan out. But there’s no right or wrong an­swer. Some play­ers have gone from Non-League to in­ter­na­tional football and some the other way around.

“For me it felt right do­ing what I did at the time. I had a great time for the years I did play and I came out at a time I was able to do some­thing else. And still in love with the game.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

OLD DAYS: Jonny Dixon in ac­tion for Wy­combe and, insets, work­ing in tele­vi­sion now

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