Jimmy Dickinson holds a unique place in Pompey history.
Many famous names in soccer have served their clubs with distinction and dedication but surely the most distinguished and loyal of all was ‘Gentleman Jim’.
Having settled quickly into the side, he established the number six shirt as his own and helped steer Pompey to successive league championships with his other resplendent colleagues. His sound, consistent and unobtrusive performances earned him England recognition too - a total of 48 appearances for his country made him Pompey’s most capped player of all time. More significantly he played 764 league games for Pompey - a record for one player at a single club which was not broken until Swindon’s John Trollope went six better in 1980.
In addition to his remarkable playing career, Dickinson was a gentleman both on and off the pitch. He was never booked or sent off in 800 Pompey and England matches. His industrious and sure footed style at either wing-half or left-half is still happily remembered today by those who watched him in probably the best half-back line this country ever had alongside Jack Froggatt and Jimmy Scoular.
Dickinson was a Pompey stalwart for almost 20 years. Awarded the MBE in 1964, he played his last match for the Blues a year later, helping Pompey to a 1-1 end-of-season draw at Northampton that secured safety from relegation. And when he retired from playing, his loyalty did not cease. He served Pompey as public relations officer and then secretary before reluctantly accepting the job he never wanted - that of Pompey manager - in May 1977. Relegation from the third division was avoided, but the next year Pompey dropped into soccer’s basement.
The worry of managing the famous old club in the fourth division affected his health and sadly, after three heart attacks Jimmy died aged 57 in 1982. The famous Pompey Chimes rang hauntingly around St Mary’s Church in Fratton at a packed memorial service for the much-loved legend. Portsmouth is a city of many famous names and one with which it is synonymous is that of Jimmy Dickinson. Gentleman Jim will be remembered in Pompey forever.
Pompey League Record:
764 appearances. 9 goals.