Eaglesham, Renfrewshire born centre half John Dick started his senior football career playing with Scottish League club Airdrieonians in 1897, and soon after Dick joined Arsenal as one of manager George Elcoat’s many Scottish signings in 1898. He made his Football League debut for Arsenal as a centre half that September on the first day of the 1898-99 season at Luton Town and went on to play all but four games in his first campaign at the Club. Although goal scoring was not his forte, John grabbed a brace in the Gunners’ 12-0 victory over Loughborough on March 12th, 1900, which remains Arsenal’s biggest home League win.
The various reports of his style say that he was strong and athletic (he was also a cross country runner of some note) and played in every game in the promotion winning 1903-04 season by which time he was the club captain although the arrival of Percy Sands meant that Dick was being utilised mainly as a right half by then. During the 1904-05 season, Dick became one of the first Arsenal players to reach 200 games for Arsenal, a considerable milestone in those days with the smaller number of games that were played.
In total he played 284 games, scoring 13 goals, in his 14 year spell with The Gunners. Although Dick finished his first team career in 1910, he continued to play in the reserves until the end of the 1911-12 season. He was reserve team manager for 1910-11 and 1911-12. In June 1912 he left Arsenal to coach Deutscher FC and became known for being one of the early pioneers of football in the Czech part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and he spent the duration of the First World War in Czechoslovakia, later coaching Sparta Prague between 1919 and 1923, Beerschot of Belgium between 1923 and 1929, and Sparta Prague once again from 1929 to 1933.