When “Dicko” made his debut against Woking on 14 August 1999 little did we know what a legend he was to become at Haig Avenue and how he was to redefine records along the way. With over 350 appearances for Southport since the 4-1 triumph on his debut, he sits seventh in the all team appearances chart and in 2002 accumulated an incredible 126 back-to-back starts – a record spanning three campaigns and ended only by suspension. His stature as one of the most distinctive servants to have represented Southport stretches far beyond the constraints of the record books. An integral part and the outstanding performer in everything the Sandgrounders have done since 1999, the Haig Avenue number one was a terrace hero, sweeping the board in both 2001/02 and 2005/06 for a familiar collection of annual awards.
Synonymous with great saves and superhuman consistency, his ability to bail out those in front of him became more of an expectation than a rare moment of match-saving magic, and also provided the catalyst behind the success that brought the need for full-time football.
Serving Southport from the top of the Football Conference to the depths of the Northern Premier League, Dickinson was a consummate team player, an unassuming hero, whose place in Haig Avenue hearts stemmed from regular shows of superb agility, dependability and, of equal importance, a commendable loyalty.
Having defied modern trends by remaining with Southport on relegation to regional football in 2003, the success of the player with just thirteen absences to his name also provides a splendid reminder of what can be achieved with commitment and integrity: attributes that serve to underline his popularity.
On his arrival from Guiseley, Dickinson had big gloves to fill and when he immediately overthrew the inimitable Billy Stewart, not many could have envisaged the measure of the achievements which have since materialised.
Before joining Southport Dicko played for Bradford City and Guiseley who he re-joined upon leaving the club.
A plasterer by trade he was unable to go full time because of work commtments and left at the start of the 2006/07 season to the disappointment of his army of fans. Dicko was held in such high esteem by all the supporters that his departure caused a furor never seen before and some say his leaving was in part the catalyst to the anti-Paul Cook feeling at the club. Famously he was later brought back to the club by Liam Watson in 2010 when he stood in for the suspended Tony McMillan as Southport were shown live on ITV in their FA Cup tie with Sheffield Wednesday.
According to the stats, he played under six managers and alongside well over 100 different team-mates at Haig Avenue. Many of those players have contributed significantly and memorably during the journey towards full-time football – but while stars arrive and fade, legends last forever.
A supreme team player, the former Bradford City apprentice endeared himself closely to the Southport faithful by continually producing saves of the highest order.
Steve Dickinson will be inducted into the Southport FC Hall of Fame on 13th November 2021.