399 Appearances, 349 goals
“There was an atmosphere wherever Dixie went; there was excitement. I’ve seen around 2,000 people following him around in places like Switzerland, Germany and France. He was bigger and better than life.” – Joe Mercer
I could tell you about great sportsmen, and how they usually begin with the gigantic cliche, practice makes perfect. Their success is whittled from sheer effort – whether it’s Rooney pummelling balls along the Streets of Croxteth, Siniša Mihajlović decimating his father’s fences with his free kicks, or Dixie Dean bouncing the ball of his church roof for heading practice. I could tell you about Dixie and his nickname, his meeting with Babe Ruth, the stories of how he scored from the half way line with his head, but it wouldn’t do him justice.
Ultimately, where William Ralph Dean is concerned, numbers speak far louder than words:
Everton Appearances: 399
Everton Goals: 349
England caps: 16
England goals: 18
First Division Championship winner 1927/28 and 1931/32
Second Division Championship winner: 1930/31
FA Cup Winner: 1933
Charity Shield winner: 1928 and 1932
15 major operations in his career
1927/1928 Season: 39 League Games. £8 a week. 60 goals.
100 league goals before he turned 21
37 true hat-tricks in his career