Jimmy Dickinson

Kyle Bennett in action against Crawley. Pictures: Neil Marshall

GALLERY: Crawley 1 Pompey 2

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Arguably one of Pompey’s greatest-ever players and still the most famous name in the Fratton Park history books.

Dickinson had a 20-year career on the south coast from 1946-65, made 764 league appearances (828 in total) and earned 48 England senior appearances - the most by any home-grown Pompey player.

The left-half was also never spoken to or booked by a referee throughout his whole career.

Jimmy was born in Alton and was spotted playing football in the playground at school by his teacher Mr Eddie Lever on his first day. Eddie watched Jimmy’s talent flourish and, at the age of 14, Lever suggested him to Pompey manager Jack Tinn, who at first didn’t think the teenager was good enough. After hearing that Wolves would be interested in signing the player, however, Tinn took him on.

Dickinson made his first appearance for Pompey in May 1943 against Reading, although it was a friendly as league football hadn’t resumed because of the Second World War. Due to conscription still being in place in 1944, Jimmy joined the navy, spending much of his time overseas which interrupted his football career.

He was 21 years old when League football resumed in August 1946, making his first competitive début in a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, the season Pompey finished 12th in division one.

Jimmy was ever-present in the 1947-48 campaign and, despite the team being near the foot of the table at Christmas they ended up in eighth.

Dickinson’s playing style wasn’t to show off his skill but to be consistent, and always put in a decent, solid performance for the Blues. He had some great forwards in front of him so never had to worry about scoring goals, just making sure he fulfilled his role in midfield.

He featured in every match in the 1948-49 season which saw Pompey win the Championship. The club also retained the title the following term.

In 1949, Dickinson made his début for England in Oslo when the Three Lions beat Norway 4-1.
Pompey had success in division one throughout the 1950s but dropped into the tier below in the 1959-60 season, which also led to relegation to the third division in for the 1961-62 campaign.

Jimmy’s final appearance for the Blues came on 24 April 1965, which was also his 40th birthday, away to an already-promoted Northampton Town, Pompey needed a point to survive and, four minutes from time, Alex Wilson levelled things up for the visitors. Dickinson was applauded by everyone at the ground that day.

For Dickinson that wasn’t the end of his story with Pompey. He went on to have office jobs with the club and then manage the team between 1977-79. That time at Fratton Park was blighted by financial hardship and his task was not an easy one.

Following a 1-1 draw away to Barnsley, Jimmy had a massive heart-attack and had to resign from the club due to doctor’s orders. He went on to have two more heart attacks and died suddenly in his home in Alton before the end of the 82-83 season in which Pompey won the third division title.

Jimmy Dickinson was a proud Pompey man, much loved by the club and the fans and his face is still the image on the seats in the Fratton end.

Jimmy Dickinson
Born: Alton, April 25, 1925

Position: Left-half
Appearances: 828
Goals: 10