Motherwell have had plenty of fine shot-stoppers down the years but few could match Sieb Dijkstra for colour and character when he kept goal for the Steelmen in the early nineties.
Confirming there was at least some validity in the old cliché that all goalkeeper’s are mad Sieb endeared himself to his new followers before he’d even kicked a ball for the club when tabloids revealed he had attempted to smuggle his pet cat into the country when moving from Holland.
Joining from Roda JC Dijkstra was called upon to make an early debut filling in for Billy Thomson in a League Cup tie against Raith Rovers on 21 August 1991. Whilst the game resulted in a shocking 4-1 loss for then Scottish Cup holders the Dutchman impressed between the posts and did likewise in keeping his first clean sheet for the club in the Lanarkshire derby win over Airdrie three days later.
Sieb had to bide his time for his next opportunity waiting for more than a year for his next appearance in claret and amber but soon established himself ahead of Billy Thomson as first choice.
Resplendent in his trademark florescent coloured top every inch of the penalty box was his domain. It became commonplace to see him launch his 6ft 5in tall and near 15 stone frame high in the air on the edge of his area to claim crosses off the heads of oppositions players. And woe betide any player – friend or foe who was unfortunate enough to get in his way whilst in full flight!
Of course not all of these aerial assaults would work out as planned with the occasional goal lost as a consequence but much loved as he was the Motherwell fans were forgiving of a player whose passion was such he occasionally have blazing on-field rows with his own team-mates.
Sieb’s commanding presence between the posts contributed to Motherwell avoiding relegation in season 1992’93 and secure third place in season 1993’94 in Tommy McLean’s last season at the club, a campaign that would see him start every one of the club’s forty-nine league and cup fixtures.
It would in fact also turn out to be Sieb’s final year at Fir Park when QPR offered him the opportunity to test himself in the English top flight.
In later years he would again serve under Tommy McLean at Dundee Utd but he retained a special bond with Motherwell FC and the club’s supporters.
Dijkstra would travel from the Netherlands to feature for ‘Well legends sides in both the Phil O’Donnell tribute match staged at Celtic Park and Dougie Arnott’s testimonial in 2008.
He would also be one of the first former players to be interviewed for the popular MFC Podcast and in 2013 would even make a trip to Scotland to turn out for the Fir Park Corner Motherwell supporters team.