Born in Cwmbran, South Wales, Andy started his football career as a left back at school but switched to goalkeeping after a nightmare performance in a cup final. His father Alan was also a goalkeeper. On leaving school he joined his nearest `big' club, Cardiff City, as a trainee. He got an unexpected début on his 17th birthday; he was doing the normal apprentice's chores of cleaning boots, sweeping floors etc. when at 2:00pm he was told that he was in the team as former Manchester City 'keeper Ron Healey had dropped out. Cardiff were relegated from Division 2 that season but Andy won promotion with them the following season, his first as a professional. He also played for the Welsh youth team and has gone on to represent his country at every level.
He joined 1st Division Luton at the start of 84/85 season, a month or two after turning down a move to Watford, who then signed Tony Coton instead. He played from start of season through to November when he sustained a knee injury in a game against Manchester United which ruled him out for four months. Andy was back in the team at the start of the following season but had played only 6 games when he tore a hamstring. He ended season with a 3-month loan at Sunderland. The next season was even worse; Andy ruptured medial ligaments and was out for six and a half months before going on loan to Huddersfield and then needing an operation on his elbow! Andy remained fit in his 4th season at Luton but was second choice to Les Sealey until April when Sealey injured his shoulder. Andy's first game was an F.A. Cup semi-final at White Hart Lane, which Luton lost to Wimbledon. He made up for this by going on to win the Littlewoods (League) Cup, saving a penalty at a crucial time in the 3-2 victory over Arsenal. Luton wanted to keep him but he let his contract run out, feeling that a move would benefit his career.
A couple of First Division clubs were interested (one of which was West Ham) but he chose to join Second Division Manchester City after being impressed with the City set-up. Luton wanted £750,000 for him but a tribunal set the fee at £240,000 - a snip for City. Andy had a nightmare start to his City League career, misjudging a cross at Hull that led to Keith Edwards scoring the only goal of a game that City dominated, then at home against Oldham where City crashed to a 4-1 defeat, though he couldn't be blamed for any of the goals. Andy soon won the City fans over with a series of outstanding displays, looking to be the answer to City's goalkeeping problems. In the spring, he suffered a groin strain after half an hour of the game at Walsall, with City 2-0 down. Nigel Gleghorn went in goal, City went 3-2 up, missed a penalty and it finished 3-3. Andy has never kicked well since. The Blues got Paul Cooper in as cover, and he played the next 6 games. Cooper was a penalty-saving expert and their work together in training probably helped Dibble to become an excellent stopper of spot-kicks. Dibble came back but had to be substituted at half time in his second game back, Gleghorn again deputising.
The 1989-90 season was another good one for Dibble, although he missed a 6-week period shortly after the start of the season with a painful back injury. Halfway through the season, manager Mel Machin was sacked and replaced by Howard Kendall. At the end of the season Kendall surprised everybody by signing Tony Coton for nearly £1,000,000 from Watford. "That was a shock to me," said Andy. "A lot of people told me how well I'd done and I felt I'd had a decent season. It only goes to show how quickly things can turn round in this game. Mel Machin gave me a long contract but then a new manager came in with his own ideas. But there's no point in grumbling. If things can change one way, they can just as easily go the other way."
The 1990-91 season saw Andy spend almost as much time away from City as he did at Maine Road, with 5 games on loan at Aberdeen and over 3 months at Middlesbrough, where he played in the Second Division promotion play-offs. Andy played only 3 times for City and by the end of the season found himself as third-choice 'keeper after another change of management resulted in Peter Reid taking over the reins. The following season was no better as he managed only two appearances for City and was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers and finished the season at West Bromwich Albion. He was a popular character at all the clubs he went on loan to, most of whom would have liked to have made the move permanent but couldn't meet City's asking price. "The only disappointment was that I knew that there would be nothing for me afterwards", said Andy. "A lot of clubs want 'keepers on loan but in these hard times, not many can come up with the money."
Andy's injury jinx struck again in July 1992 as he broke a leg in a pre-season match against a League of Ireland XI; the accident was blamed on the newly-introduced "back pass" rule and the injury kept him out until December, when he began his comeback with the "A" team. February 1993 turned out to be an eventful month as he was loaned to Oldham Athletic on the 2nd but recalled on the 4th when Martyn Margetson injured his back in training. On the 6th, Tony Coton went down with a stomach bug just before the game against QPR at Loftus Road and Andy, by now City's only fit goalkeeper, played his one game of the season in a 1-1 draw. With the return to fitness of Tony Coton, Andy played out the rest of the season in the reserves.
The start of the 1993-94 season brought yet another change in management with the arrival of Brian Horton, who quickly established Andy as his number 2 goalkeeper. He was called upon twice in October after Tony Coton hurt his neck and got an extended run at the end of the season when TC damaged a knee. Satisfied that he had a future at the club, Andy signed a new three year contract despite interest from other clubs. However, the start of the 1994-95 season saw Tony Coton back as first choice 'keeper. At the start of October though, Coton damaged his shoulder in a game at Leeds, an injury which was to give Andy a four-month run in the first team, the longest since Coton's arrival in 1990. The run ended in an F.A. Cup defeat at St. James' Park after he conceded a couple of bizarre goals. Coton strained a thigh muscle at the end of the season but this time veteran John Burridge was preferred, which left Andy's future at the club in some doubt.
During the summer Brian Horton was sacked and replaced by Alan Ball. Dibble was first choice 'keeper during the pre-season games but had a nightmare game at Heart of Midlothian where City lost 5-1, a performance that ensured Andy didn't play a single first team competitive game for City during Alan Ball's spell as manager. Former German international Eike Immel was brought in at the start of the 1995-96 season and Martyn Margetson was his usual deputy, so Dibble rarely even had a reserve team outing. City were relegated at the end of the season and after a poor start to the 1996-97 season, Alan Ball resigned.
In the next four months City appointed 4 new Managers, and when finally Frank Clark took the position on a more permanent basis, Andy was one of the first players that had to go. In March 1997 he joined Rangers and played 7 league games for them until the end of the season. After that Andy spent his career on the road going from club to club, much like his City career had been loan spells all over the UK. He finally settled down with Wrexham in 2002, where he finally could wear the number one jersey he had fought for so long.
Provided by: Svenn A. Hanssen, Paul Howarth, Antony Sou, Adam Houghton, Patrick Bedell, Dan Rigby, David Lamb