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Dixie Dean: The Inside Story of a Football Icon

Dixie Dean: The Inside Story of a Football Icon by By John Keith from Amazon.co.uk

Dixie Dean

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 season.

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 in 1933.


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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.

Personal information
Full name William Ralph Dean
Date of birth January 22, 1907
Place of birth Birkenhead, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Nickname Dixie Dean
Position Striker
Professional clubs*
Years Club Apps (goals)
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Everton F.C.
Notts County F.C.
Sligo Rovers F.C.
29 (27)
399 (349)
9 (3)
? (?)
National team
  England 16 (18)
* 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)

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