Most football fans have heard of the legendary goalscorer Dixie Dean but very few of them would know that he holds the record for the most goals in a single first team match for the Lilywhites.
William Ralph Dean was born at 325 Laird Street in Birkenhead on January 22nd, 1907. His father worked for the Great Western Railway, eventually becoming a train driver, while his grandfather (Ralph Brett) was to drive the Royal train during the time of King George V.
Dixie Dean was educated at first the Laird Street School and the Albert Memorial Industral School, the latter having excellent football facilities, before leaving school at the age of 14. He went to work as an apprentice fitter for the Wirrell Railway Company and at the same time played amateur football for Pensby United. There he came to the notice of Tranmere Rovers and in 1924 was to join them as a professional. As a result of scoring 27 league goals in 30 matches for Tranmere, he came the attention of many of the bigger clubs and as a result signed for Everton for a fee of £3,000 in 1925. He immediately became a force at Everton, scoring 32 league goals in his first full season af Goodison Park. In the summer of 1926, his career nearly came to an end before it had hardly started, as he was involved in a nasty motor cycle accident at Holywell, North Wales. He received a fractured skull and a broken jaw, as a result of which doctors felt that he might never play again. Dixie had other ideas and in fact missed the first part of the following season.
He won sixteen caps for the England, the first against Wales on February 12th, 1927 against Wales at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham. He was then just 20. All of his international football coming in just a five year period, the last being against Ireland in October, 1932 at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. During that time he scored 18 goals for his country.
The 1927-28 season saw him become the first and only player to score 60 league goals in a season. He played in 39 league matches. That season Everton won the First Division (today the Premiership) title. After 14 seasons at Everton, in which he had scored 349 league goals and been part of two title winning sides and one F.A. Cup winning team, he left Everton for Third Division side, Notts County. Despite being just 30, the physical demands of the day had started to catch up on him. He was to play just nine matches for Notts County before bringing to the end his career in the Football League when at the age of 32 he joined Irish League team Sligo Rovers in January 1939. For Sligo he scored ten goals in seven matches. For the 1939-40 season he had intended to play for Hurst F.C. (who later became Ashton United) in the Cheshire County League but after just two games his days as a professional footballer came to an end with the outbreak of the Second War World War.
On October 31st, 1942, while stationed nearby, he played for the Lilywhites against R.A.F. (B) in the East Anglian League, scoring eight of the sides goals in a 15 - 1 win. Not long afterwards, he was posted to the Western Front, where he became an Italian Prisoner of War.
After the War, he ran the Dublin Packet Public House in Chester before having to give it up due to ill health and in 1976 he was to have his right leg amputated due to a blood clot. This meant that he became very much housebound and eventually died in Liverpool on March 1st, 1980 from a heart attack while watching Everton play Liverpool at Goodison Park.
Dixie Dean Statue which was unveiled outside of Goodison Park in 2001.