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Kerry Dixon

Kerry Michael Dixon (born 24 July 1961, in Luton) is a retired English professional footballer who played most notably for Chelsea and England.

A tall and athletic striker who had pace, an impressive heading ability and was effective with both feet, Dixon started out as an apprentice with Tottenham Hotspur but was released before ever playing for the club. After spells with Chesham United and Dunstable, he got his first taste of League football with Reading, who signed him for £20,000 in 1980. He scored 51 league goals in 116 appearances for the then Third Division club, including four in a 7-5 defeat at Doncaster Rovers in September 1982, before being signed for Chelsea by manager John Neal in August 1983. Chelsea chairman Ken Bates initially hesitated when faced with the £150,000 transfer fee plus a £25,000 clause if Dixon ever played for the England national side, but relented and the deal went ahead. Dixon arrived as part of Neal's radical re-building of the side and was joined in the same summer by Pat Nevin, Nigel Spackman, Joe McLaughlin and Eddie Niedzwiecki.

His impact at Chelsea was immediate, scoring two goals against Derby County on his debut and adding 32 more through the season as the club romped to promotion as Second Division champions. Chelsea clinched promotion with a 5-0 win against Leeds United, in which Dixon scored a hat-trick. He struck up an impressive partnership with fiery Scot and fellow striker David Speedie, despite initial personal problems between the two, and also linked up well with winger Nevin; between them the trio scored almost 200 goals over the next three years. His impact on the First Division the following season was equally impressive, hitting a memorable volley in the opening match against Arsenal at Highbury in a 1-1 draw. Dixon eventually finished up as joint top scorer (alongside Gary Lineker) with 24 league goals while Chelsea finished 6th in the final table. In the same season, he hit a further eight goals in the League Cup as Chelsea reached the semi-finals, where they surprisingly lost to Sunderland. In his first two seasons at Chelsea he scored a total of 70 goals in just 101 games.

His scoring feats earned him an England call-up and he made his debut against Mexico in 1985 during a friendly international tournament in Mexico City. Three days later Dixon scored twice and set up Bryan Robson for the other in England's 3-0 win over West Germany. He scored two more four days later against the USA in Los Angeles. Chelsea challenged for the title in the 1985-86 season but an injury to Dixon during an FA Cup tie against Liverpool in January did much to damage their chances and they eventually finished 6th again, though he did score twice in a 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. The injury also took away much of his pace and Dixon was never quite the same player again. He was nevertheless selected in the England squad for the 1986 FIFA World Cup but the presence of Lineker and Peter Beardsley in the side limited him to a six-minute substitute appearance against Poland. He played only one more game for England after that, and finished his international career with eight caps and four goals.

Personal information
Full name Kerry Michael Dixon
Date of birth July 24, 1961 (age 45)
Place of birth    Luton, England
Height 6 ft 0 in
Position Striker
Senior clubs1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1979-1980
1980-1983
1983-1992
1992-1993
1993-1995
1995-1996
1996
1996-1997
Dunstable
Reading
Chelsea
Southampton
Luton Town
Millwall
Watford
Doncaster Rovers

116 0(51)
335 (147)
009 00(2)
075 0(19)
031 00(9)
011 00(0)
016 00(3)   
National team
1985-1986 England 008 00(4)
Teams managed
1996-1997
2005-
Doncaster Rovers (player-manager)
Dunstable (co-manager)
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Chelsea struggled in the following years after a series of clashes between key players and the management saw the promotion-winning side gradually broken up. Dixon himself was dropped from the side after losing form and was close to joining Chelsea's London rivals Arsenal, though the deal eventually collapsed. Chelsea were relegated in 1988, an event which, ironically, rejuvenated his career with the club. He scored 25 league goals as Chelsea returned to the First Division as champions at the first attempt in 1988-89. A year later he scored a further 26, including a final day hat-trick against Millwall, to help Chelsea finish 5th, their highest league position since 1970.

With 193 goals in total to his name, Dixon is Chelsea's second highest goal scorer of all time, behind only Bobby Tambling. He left the club in 1992 and joined Southampton in a £575,000 deal, where he briefly linked up with Speedie again, though not with the same success. He left Southampton in February 1993 after only 9 league appearances and 2 goals, and joined Luton Town on a free transfer. The highlight of his time at Luton was reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in 1994, where he faced his old side Chelsea and lost 2-0. He scored 20 goals in 88 appearances for Luton.

In March 1995, Dixon joined Millwall in a £5,000 transfer deal. He was then sold to Watford for £25,000 in January 1996. The final league club he played for was Doncaster Rovers. He became Doncaster's player-manager, but was sacked in August 1997. Later that season Dixon appeared for Basildon United in the Essex Senior Football League before injuring himself whilst scoring a goal against Great Wakering Rovers. Since then, Dixon has had stints coaching non-league sides Boreham Wood, Letchworth and Hitchin Town.

Nowadays he is up to many things. He is the official patron of the fan site www.cfcnet.co.uk and works for Chelsea TV and Smooth FM. He has commentated on Chelsea matches with Gary Taphouse since 2002. He does stadium tours at Stamford Bridge with the likes of Nevin and Ron Harris and is involved with matchday hospitality at the club. He runs a football school in Dunstable and coaches a successful under-14s side named Icknield. He is also joint manager at Dunstable and involved in community work in the area[1].

References

  • Cheshire, Scott (1998). Chelsea: an Illustrated History. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-143-5. 
  • Glanvill, Rick (2006). Chelsea FC: The Official Biography - The Definitive Story of the First 100 Years. Headline Book Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7553-1466-2. 

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