William Ralph Dean
(January 22, 1907-March 1, 1980), popularly known
as Dixie Dean
, was an English football player, one of the most prolific
centre forwards in English football history, who is best known for his legendary
exploits at Everton.
Born in Birkenhead, Merseyside, Dean initially played for his local club,
Tranmere Rovers, before moving 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
Despite a serious motorcycle accident in 1926, in which he suffered a
fractured skull and jaw, Dean 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), a total that the entire Everton squad have
surpassed just once since the inception of the Premiership. In the same season
Everton won the Division One title. Although Everton were relegated to Division
Two 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
By then, Dean was captain of the side. However, the harsh physical demands of
the game 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 Ireland. After
retiring, he went on to run a pub known as the Dublin Packet, 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 a total of 383 goals for Everton, in 433 appearances,
an exceptional strike-rate. 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.
Only Arthur Rowley has scored more English league career goals, although it
should be noted that while Rowley made 619 appearances, scoring 434 goals, Dean
scored 349 goals in 348 games, and while Dean spent one prolific season in the
Second Division, that was all, while Rowley spent several seasons in the third
and fourth divisions.
He also made 16 appearances for England, scoring 18 goals. Six of those goals
came in the way of hat-tricks. Dean scored three against Belgium in May 1927 and
then another three against Luxemburg 10 days later.
||William Ralph Dean
|Date of birth
||January 22, 1907
|Place of birth
||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
|Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Notts County F.C.
Sligo Rovers F.C.
* Professional club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
His nickname "Dixie" is said to have been given to him by fans due to his
dark complexion and curly black hair, which was, in their perception, similar to
that of African-Americans in the Southern United States. Dean himself deeply
disliked the moniker, preferring to be known as Bill.
Dean died from heart failure in 1980 at Goodison Park, Everton's home ground,
whilst watching a match against their closest rivals, Liverpool. In 2001, a
statue of Dean was erected outside the Park End of the stadium 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.
Dixie was a real legend of the game. His dribbling, running, shooting and
ability to create goals for others were exceptional. But his most prestigious
ability was his heading, he was known as one the most remarkable headers the
game has ever seen. Dixie used to practice heading by using a medicine ball with
fellow player Tommy Lawton. Many believe that he should be talked about in the
same sentences as the likes of Pele and Alfredo Di Stefano but due to his
achievements being pre-war, this is rarely the case.
- League Championship: 2 (1928, 1932)
- Second Division Championship: 1 (1931)
- FA Charity Shield:2 (1928, 1932)
- FA Cup: 1 (1933)
- Central League Championship: 1 (1938)
- League of Ireland Runners Up: 1 (1939)
- FA of Ireland Cup Runners Up: 1 (1939)
- England Caps: 16
- England Goals: 18
- Football League Representative Appearances: 6
- Football League Representative Goals: 9
- 'Sunday Pictorial Trophy' for 60 League Goals in 1927-28
- Lewis's Medal to commemorate 200 league goals in 199 appearances
- Hall of Fame Trophy (1971)
- Football Writers' Association inscribed silver salver (1976)
- Inaugural inductee in The National Football Museum Hall of Fame (2002)
- BBC Radio Merseyside's 4th "Greatest Merseysider" (2003)