The popular, 31-year-old, Irishman returns to Gigg Lane after leaving Bury at the end of the 2009-10 season to sign for Leyton Orient.
Once again, the lure of the Shakers Carrington training complex played a huge part in securing Dawson’s signature after he not only rejected new terms at Scunthorpe United but, according to several national newspapers, brushed aside interest from a host of clubs, including all three sides relegated from the Championship at the end of last season.
Dawson began his career with Leicester City in 2003 but, having failed to appear for the Foxes first team, he signed for Mansfield Town – where he was to make just under 120 appearances, before then Shakers manager Alan Knill swooped to bring him to Gigg Lane in the summer of 2008.
A popular character, on and off the field, Dawson was soon taken to the Shaker supporters hearts with robust and committed performances for Bury and he was a mainstay in the Shakers 2008-09 Play-off campaign. He left the Shakers following the end of that season signing for Leyton Orient, with whom he would make 60 appearances.
After a successful spell at Brisbane Road, Stephen suddenly found himself at the heart of the Barnsley midfield in the Championship, after the Tykes paid an undisclosed fee for his services in the January transfer window. He would spend the next 30 months at Oakwell and quickly established himself as a regular in their Championship campaigns.
Stephen moved to Rochdale, in 2012, before he left Spotland and signed for Scunthorpe United in May 2015, where he made a further 66 appearances, as club captain.
Again, Stephen proved to be an instrumental player and captain for the Iron, leading them onto the Play-off Semi Final against Millwall earlier this month where, despite scoring, he found himself on the wrong end of a 3-2 aggregate score line and elimination from the Play-offs.
Following Scunthorpe’s Play-off Semi Final defeat, Stephen was offered a new deal by manager Gary Alexander but has chosen to reject that offer and, instead, has accepted the offer made to him by the Shakers.
Dawson, who also holds two Republic of Ireland under-21 caps which he collected in 2005, is now just four games shy of making his 500th League appearance and, with 22 goals to his name, Stephen will once again wear the Shakers shirt at the start of the 2017-18 season.
Speaking of his third signing of the summer, manager Lee Clark said:
“This is a huge signing for us, Stephen is a player that I have tried to entice at previous clubs, but I have finally got my man. Bury Football Club have a returning hero and I know that he was a very popular player for the club during his previous spell.
“He was the driving force for Scunthorpe last season and captained them into the Play-offs. This signing is another statement of intent of what we are trying to do. I know I have a player with us that will police the dressing room for me, and he won’t need any encouragement to do that.
“Stephen is a winner, I’ve quickly realised that since meeting him. This is a signing that will excite the fans. He is over the 30 years of age mark, which people seem to think it’s coming to the end but, in the modern game, it means nothing because he is another player that has looked after himself.
“We believe that we have a very instrumental player for what we are trying to do. He plays with high energy, high tempo, plays on the front foot and is that box to box midfield player that everyone wants to see. He is a very driven player and I am absolutely delighted that we have him with us.”