John Dickinson, universally known to everyone as ‘Todder’ signed for the Saints after captaining the successful Parr High School team. He also represented Lancashire Schoolboys. Before he was 18 Todder had played in virtually all the back divisions for the First Team, but stand-off was probably his best position. He served in the RAF during his National Service and a fair assessment of his all-round ability at such a young age could be found in the St.Helens Newspaper in September 1951, after he had impressed against Barrow and their star stand-off Willie Horne in particular: “Against a man who has captained England in Test Match football, Dickinson coolness, courage and resource, playing well to his centres, tackling well in defence and above all backing up at every opportunity for the odd chance.” Todder made a total of 160 appearances for his home-town team, scoring 42 tries. Reliable and rugged, Todder played for England against France in 1956, a year which he will never forget for the wrong reasons. A knee injury ruled him out of the Challenge Cup final at Wembley picked up seven days before at Thrum Hall, ironically against the future opponents, Halifax, in the Championship semi-final. Bill Finnan stepped in to the stand-off role at Wembley.
Todder moved on to Leigh, initially, before joining his former Saints coach Jim Sullivan at Rochdale Hornets. A tremendously popular character, Todder later became a successful coach with the Pilkington Recreation amateur team. He succeeded another former Saints stand-off, Peter Metcalfe, to the position and was instrumental in triggering off a boom era for the famous old club at City Road. A member of the Saints’ Past Players Association, he remains an affable and knowledgeable figure amongst both Saints and Recs fans!