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William Ralph Dean (22 January 1907 – 1 March 1980), popularly known as Dixie Dean, was an Englishmarker football player and the most prolific goal-scorer in English football history, best known for his legendary exploits at Everton, where he spent most of his career.

Biography

Born in Birkenheadmarker, Cheshiremarker (now Merseyside), Dean initially played for his local club Tranmere Rovers before moving to Everton. The popular theory regarding how Dean acquired the nickname Dixie is that he did so in his youth, perhaps due to his dark complexion and hair which bore a resemblance to people from the Southern United States. However the Tranmere Rovers historian Gilbert Upton uncovered evidence that the name 'Dixie' is a corruption of his childhood knickname, Digsy - a name acquired from his approach to the children's game of tag, where Dean would dig his fist into the girl's back, hence 'Digsy'. He moved to his boyhood side, Everton, for a fee of £3,000 in 1925, and immediately made an impact, scoring 32 goals in his first full season.

Dean suffered a fractured skull and jaw in 1926, when involved in a motorcycling accident at Holywellmarker in North Walesmarker. He fully recovered and went on to greater success at the club. He is still the only player in English football to have scored 60 League goals in one season (1927-28). In the same season Everton won the First Division title. Although Everton were relegated to Second Division in 1930, Dean stayed with them, and the club subsequently won the Second Division in 1931, followed by the First Division again in 1932, and the FA Cup in 1933 (in which he scored in the final itself) - a sequence of success not matched since.

By then, Dean was captain of the side. However, the harsh physical demands of the game (as it was played then) took their toll, and he was dropped from the first team in 1937. Dean went on to play for Notts County and then Sligo Rovers in Irelandmarker. He ended his professional playing days with Hurst F.C.marker in the Cheshire County League, managing two games and one goal before the outbreak of war truncated his career. After retiring, he went on to run the Dublin Packet pub in Chestermarker, Englandmarker, and work at Littlewoods Football pools as a porter at their Walton Hall Avenue offices, where he was remembered by fellow workers as a quiet, unassuming man.

In total, Dean scored 383 goals for Everton, in 433 appearances, an exceptional strike-rate,including 37 hat-tricks for Everton, With modern scoring rates being much lower, both that record, and the record of 60 League goals in a season, are unlikely to ever be broken . He was also known as a very professional player, having never been booked or sent off throughout his entire career despite suffering rough treatment and provocation from opponents.

Only Arthur Rowley has scored more English league career goals, although it should be noted that while Rowley made 619 appearances, scoring 433 goals (0.70 goals per game), Dean scored 379 goals in 438 games (0.87 goals per game), and Dean spent only a single season in the Second Division while Rowley spent several seasons in the third and fourth divisions.

He joined Sligo Rovers in January 1939 in time to help the club with their FAI Cup campaign. He played 7 league games for the club, scoring ten goals, including 5 in a 7-1 win over Waterford which remains a club record for the most goals scored in a single game. He also played four Cup matches scoring once. His goal came in the final against Shelbourne which ended in a 1-1 draw, Shelbourne taking the replay 0-1. Subsequently, Dixie’s runners up medal was stolen from his hotel room. On a return trip to Ireland to watch Rovers in the 1978 cup final a package was delivered to his hotel room with the medal inside.

He also made 16 appearances for England, scoring 18 goals, including two hat-tricks. Dean scored three against Belgium in May 1927 and then another three against Luxembourg 10 days later.
Dixie Dean Statue, outside the Park End of Goodison Park stadium


Dean died in March 1980 after suffering a Heart attack at Goodison Parkmarker, Everton's home ground, whilst watching a match against their closest rivals, Liverpool. Liverpool won the match 2-1.

In 2001, local sculptor Tom Murphy completed a statue of Dean which was erected outside the Park End of the stadium at a cost of £75,000 carrying the inscription, "Footballer, Gentleman, Evertonian".

In 2002 Dean became an Inaugural Inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame. In 2003, Littlewoods Football pools sponsored the ‘Dixie Dean Award’ for Everton Personality of the Year, at the Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year Awards. It was won by former Everton boss Howard Kendall.

Ability

Dean's athletic skills, in particular dribbling, running, shooting and ability to create goals for others, were considered exceptional by sports writers of the time. According to his peers, however, his greatest ability was heading, a skill he practised often using a medicine ball with fellow player Tommy Lawton. About a third of the goals credited to him came from headers, and his skills are compared to Pelé and Alfredo Di Stéfano. Outside football he was a scratch golfer and played both club cricket and British baseball, the latter for the Liverpool Caledonians club.

Achievements



Awards



Career statistics





Club Division Season League FA Cup Club Total International Total Games
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Notts County Third 1938-39 6 3 - - 6 3 - - 6 3
Third 1937-38 3 0 - - 3 0 - - 3 0
Total 9 3 - - 9 3 - - 9 3
Everton First 1937-38 5 1 - - 5 1 - - 5 1
First 1936-37 36 24 4 3 40 27 - - 40 27
First 1935-36 29 17 - - 29 17 - - 29 17
First 1934-35 38 26 5 1 43 27 - - 43 27
First 1933-34 12 9 - - 12 9 - - 12 9
First 1932-33 39 24 6 5 45 29 1 0 46 29
First 1931-32 38 45 1 1 39 46 1 1 40 47
Second 1930-31 37 39 5 9 42 48 1 0 43 48
First 1929-30 25 23 2 2 27 25 - - 27 25
First 1928-29 29 26 1 0 30 26 3 1 33 27
First 1927-28 39 60 2 3 41 63 5 4 46 67
First 1926-27 27 21 4 3 31 24 5 12 36 36
First 1925-26 38 32 2 1 40 33 - - 40 33
First 1924-25 7 2 - - 7 2 - - 7 2
Total 399 349 32 28 431 377 16 18 447 395
Tranmere Third 1924-25 27 27 3 0 30 27 - - 30 27
Third 1923-24 3 0 - - 3 0 - - 3 0
Total 30 27 3 0 33 27 - - 33 27
Career Totals 438 379 35 28 473 407 16 18 489 425


References

  1. Prentice, David (2007-01-23) Footballing world wakes up to Dixie. Liverpool Echo. Retrieved on 2009-04-20.
  2. Winner, D: THOSE FEET: A SENSUAL HISTORY OF FOOTBALL, pp. 274, 2005.
  3. Prentice, David (2007-01-22). ‘I knew he was a bit different’. Liverpool Echo. Retrieved on 2009-04-20.


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