Legends - Ian Dickson

Ian William Dickson was born in Maxwelltown (a separate burgh from Dumfries until 1928) in September 1902. As well as playing in the first ever game in Queen of the South history, Dickson went on to play for two clubs in England’s top division. Top scoring at Aston Villa, Dickson also played for Middlesbrough.  

Queen of the South


As Scotland tried to recover and step away from the nightmares of World War 1, Ian Dickson and Dave Halliday both played in the trial games that were arranged when the recently formed Queen of the South F.C. were looking for players in the Summer of 1919.


After the four trial matches the first ever Queen of the South game took place on 16th August 1919. To help add credibility to the idea of a genuine landmark event taking place, invites were sent to the likes of leading politicians and legal dignitaries from both Dumfries and Maxwelltown. Pre match entertainment was provided by Dumfries Town Band belting out their finest songs at their best. The game against Sanquhar side Nithsdale Wanderers saw Queens twice come from behind to earn a 2 – 2 draw. Among the players of Queens’ first ever game was Ian Dickson a couple of weeks before his 17th birthday.


Dave Halliday joined Dickson at Queens in January 1920. The two forwards and the rest of the first season’s squad rounded off the season well; they lifted the club’s first ever trophy - the Dumfries Charity Cup.


Queens second season, 1920-21, continued in a similar vein to the first season with a combination of challenge games and minor cup ties. The Potts Cup, the Southern Counties Challenge Cup and the Charity Cup all ended up at Palmerston Park. The Scottish Qualifying Cup saw Queens make the semis.


In the Qualifying Cup first round Creetown Volunteers were thumped 9-0. Whithorn were them similarly destroyed on the end of a 12-1 defeat (Dickson hit four). Six were then rifled past Mid-Annandale by Queens and then five against Solway Star, both without reply. A 0-0 draw against Johnstone came before a 1-0 Queens replay victory. Queens cup run then ended with semi final defeat to East Fife.


In the Challenge Cup final at Showfield Park in Thornhill, the sleety conditions must have had attendees convinced Snowfield Park would be more apt. Dickson’s 23rd minute strike opened the scoring. Gray of Queens knocked the Nithsdale Wanderers goalie off his feet in the second half. Half a dozen or so unruly fans of the Sanquhar club invaded the pitch shamelessly brandishing flags and sticks. A shout of ’come on’ to other fans was mercifully disregarded. Police intervened to remove the fans from the pitch. Unsporting tactics from Wanderers and a disputed penalty followed. Then the un-diplomatic Gray once more knocked the goalkeeper over sparking further crowd disruption. Despite Wanderers pressure Dickson’s goal proved to be the winner.


In the Potts Cup, Queens seen off Stranraer 3-0 before a 2-1 replay victory in the final against Nithsdale Wanderers (the initial game was 2-2).


After the Charity Cup final Nithsdale Wanderers must by now have been sick of the sight of the Queens side. A 3-1 Doonhamers victory brought the season to an end.


In a veritable vortex of transfer activity Ian Dickson was transferred from Queens in January 1921 to Aston Villa. He was 18 at the time. All three of Jimmy McKinnell from Dalbeattie, Willie McCall and Tom Wylie were sold to Blackburn Rovers around the same time. This combined with Dickson’s move to Villa helped fund Queens’ purchase of Palmerston Park in 1921 for £1,500.


The departure of a player of Ian Dickson’s undoubted calibre from such a fledgling outfit could be looked back upon as a player who would take a lot of replacing. However Dickson’s name on the Queens team sheet was replaced by that of a certain Hughie Gallacher. These two and Halliday were the three strikers to play in Queens very first two seasons before moving on to successful careers in England’s top division.


Aston Villa

(Dickson is third left in the middle row of this 1922/23 Aston Villa team photo)


For this article Aston Villa’s club historian John Lerwill provided the following with regard to Ian Dickson: “A robust centre-forward who used his weight to good effect. Ian was marvellously adept at stealing in unnoticed behind a defence. He did score a few.”


Indeed he did.


In that first season at Aston Villa, Dickson scored two goals from his eight appearances as the club finished 10th in the league. It was however the 1921/22 season that Villa Park seen the best of Ian Dickson - he hit 28 goals from his 42 appearances. This made Dickson Villa’s top scorer that season one goal ahead of Villa's all time top scorer, Billy Walker. This earned Dickson selection for the Scotland international trials in 1922. However he was not chosen to play in the home internationals by the selectors. They stuck with the incumbent Andy Wilson at centre forward who scored 13 goals from his 12 caps for Scotland. The Birmingham side finished fifth in England’s top division that season. In the FA Cup they knocked out Derby (6-1), Luton (1-0) and Stoke (4-0 in a replay after 0-0 in the first game). Then after drawing 2-2 away to Notts County in the fourth round Villa lost the replay 4-3.


(Notts County 4, Villa 3, 8th March 1922. Villa’s goals were an Ian Dickson double and one by Billy Walker)


The season after Villa finished one place lower in a still creditable sixth. Dickson played in 31 games in all competitions scoring seven goals. Champions in both of these two seasons were Liverpool.

(Ian Dickson is again third left in the middle row. To his left is Len Capewell. Walker is right of the two seated players at the front)


Ian Dickson’s 31 goals from 76 league games and 8 goals from 7 cup matches give him a total return of 83 Aston Villa games scoring 39 goals. In his last season at Villa Park (1923/24) he played only two first team games scoring once. He left half way through that season in pursuit of first team football.




In November 1923 Scotland internationalist Andy Wilson transferred from Middlesbrough to join David Calderhead's Scots contingent at Chelsea. The world record transfer fee up until this point was the £5,500 Sunderland paid in 1922 for Warney Cresswell from South Shields. Thus the £6,500 Wilson transfer from Boro to Chelsea appears to have been a world record fee at the time. £3,000 received from Wilson's transfer funded Ian Dickson leaving Aston Villa; a significant sum of money at the time especially for a relative youngster of 21. He joined Middlesbrough on 19 December 1923 with Boro at the time increasingly in a relegation battle. This shattered the previous record fee paid by Boro for Love Jones 15 years previously.


Dickson debuted alongside William Wainscoat in a 2-1 home defeat to Preston on 22 December. They played Burnley home and away on December 25 & 26. The first game was 0-0 in Burnley. In the return fixture at home Dickson scored his all of side's three goals with none reciprocated by Burnley to make Dickson's signature look like good business. Yet that game versus Burnley was to be the highlight for Dickson on Teesside. The win v Burnley was Boro's first win in seven games and was not the beginning of a revival. Dickson only added two further goals for a final tally in his first half season at Ayresome Park of five strikes. Dickson was second top scorer behind Wilson who ended the season as top scorer at both Boro and Chelsea. Ironically both these clubs were relegated that same season from England's top flight.


George Elliott started the following season as the preferred Villa centre forward with Dickson left out of the side. Dickson was recalled for the second part of that 1924/25 season finishing joint club top scorer along with left winger, Owen Williams. Both scored seven goals. Boro were sufficiently impressed with Jimmy McClelland's 16 goals in 23 games for Southend United that season to sign him in March 1925. This was to be Dickson's last season of first team football at Boro. In 1925/26 Dickson played no higher than the reserves, troubled for the season by a leg injury. McClelland took his chance in the first team well to top score with with 38 goals.


An opportunity appeared on the fifth game of the 1926/27 season when McClelland was injured. Dickson was no longer at the club to stake a claim as he had been released on a free on 1 May (1926). The chance in the first team was given to George Camsell. Camsell took his opportunity in astonishing style scoring a barely believable 59 league goals that season. Despite this being overshadowed by Bill 'Dixie' Dean's record 60 goal haul that same season for Everton, Camsell top scored for Boro 10 seasons in a row.


Much of the info listed in this section re Boro has been either provided or reviewed by Middlesbrough FC's club historian, Shaun Wilson. To finish this section with a couple of quotes from Shaun:


"Unfortunately I have no more information where he [Dickson] went afterwards. However in the book ‘Football League Players Records 1888-1939’ by Michael Joyce it mentions a side called Wesbrough after us, but no dates. I can’t find a side or place spelt like that but there is a Westborough in Lincolnshire. Sorry I can’t be of more help."


"As for Andy Wilson it is confirmed in the Boro ledgers of the time that he did indeed sign for Chelsea in 1923 for £6,500. What seems to have gone under the radar is that it does indeed look to be a world record transfer, but again this was news to me."


So it seems after his lengthy injury issues at Boro, Dickson dropped out of senior football at the age of only 23. A waste of talent that showed so much potential as a 19 year old, scoring 28 goals in a season in which his side finished fifth best in England. Dickson remains though a connection to the very first ever Queen of the South FC in game 1919. He performed well in his year and a half or so at newly hatched Queens, the club finding its feet and looking to get a foot on the ladder to play national football. That a player from that very first game should shine so brightly even if briefly in England's top division is a credit to himself and to QoS.

Ian Dickson died in 1976. 


The Ian Dickson of today


Since the above article was first published we have identified that Ian Dickson’s grandson, also called Ian Dickson, is today massively successful in the entertainment industry. The following is extracted from an article that was first published on a previous version of qosfc.com in 2008.



Ian Dickson is a massively successful music industry mogul who has worked with performers such as Def Jam, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Ozzy Osbourne, Living Colour, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Rage Against The Machine, Pearl Jam, Jamiroquai, Des’ree, Reef, Manic Street Preachers, Natalie Imbruglia, Five, Westlife, The Eurythmics, M People, Avril Lavigne, Pink, Alicia Keys, The Foo Fighters and many others.


After emigrating in 2001 to Australia he has become a TV and radio personality in his own right after being invited to be one of the judges on Australian Idol, the Aussie franchise of Pop Idol. From being the ‘pantomime villain’ judge on Australian Idol, he has since been a judge in the states on ‘The Next Great American band’. In Aus, Dickson is now on countless mainstream TV and radio programs.


However his grandfather, also called Ian Dickson, is a Queens Legend. Hailing from Dumfries, after starting off playing with Queen of the South at the very beginning of the club’s history he headed South to score goals in England’s top division with Aston Villa.


Dickson the music mogul is known to all as Dicko. His real name is Ian Ross Perigrove but as he said himself when interviewed for the media in Australia:-


“I was named after my grandfather who was called Ian Dickson who is a Scotsman who played football for Aston Villa, A team in Birmingham where I came from. I’m a Birmingham [City] fan so... (spit)”


“I was named after him and it’s mainly because I had high ideals of becoming maybe a writer or something special and I didn’t want to use my Dad’s name cause I was pretty down on him at that point. Dickson’s my mother’s maiden name. Pretty black on him so I took my Mum’s name and then that got shortened to Dicko when I started working with a band from Liverpool called the Farm. Liverpudlians are a bit like Aussies, they shorten everything. So they call me, ‘Dicko, alright lad,’ so yeah I’ve been Dicko for 17 years now.”


Dicko is the son of two factory workers from the motor industry. "Imagine Detroit with heavy metal instead of Motown and you’ve got Birmingham,” explained Dicko for Australian Idol.


Dicko the TV presenter is crazy about soccer (as the Aussies call it), but he still insists on calling it ’football’. He plays for Kissing Point over 35s team in the amateur league on Sydney’s North Shore. Dickson’s views on Ted McMinn in his spell at Birmingham City do not appear to be documented.


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