1925-30: Dixie Dean

ON EITHER side of the Atlantic, two brilliant performers in their national sports were at the height of their careers. In the United States Babe Ruth was astonishing baseball fans, while in Britain the goalscoring power of Dixie Dean was making him a record breaker.

Primarily, William Ralph Dean, who hated being called Dixie, is remembered for scoring a First Division record of 60 goals in the season 1927-28. By strange coincidence Babe Ruth's record for a season was also set in 1927 and was 60 home runs. On a tour of Britain, Ruth went to White Hart Lane and met Dean. He was astonished to find that someone who could attract "as many as we get for the World Series" was only earning a basic pounds 8 a week, a pittance for a player who won two championship medals, made a successful appearance in an FA Cup final and played 16 times for England. Not only that, his total number of League goals was 379.

Born in Birkenhead in 1907, he developed into a powerful centre-forward who was quick off the mark and had formidable heading strength. Yet his career was often interrupted by injuries. He was repeatedly told he had chosen the wrong sport and would have been better off playing professional golf. At 20 he was playing off scratch.

A serious motoring accident in 1925, when he suffered a fractured skull, further delayed his chosen career. As a result, he made no great impression until 1927-28 when Everton, who signed him from Tranmere, suddenly swept up the table to finish as champions. By the last day of the season he had scored 57 goals. The record holder, George Camsell of Middlesbrough, had totalled 59 in the previous season. At Goodison in that final match Arsenal scored first. Dean equalised, then netted a penalty. Arsenal brought the scores level but with 12 minutes left Dean scored a typically headed goal to give him the record. The match ended 3-3. His total for the season in all competitions was 82.

Curiously, Everton finished only 18th the next season, with Dean scoring a comparatively modest 26 goals, and the Toffees were relegated in 1930. However, they returned to become champions again in 1932 and Cup winners in 1933.

By the age of 32, Dean was in poor physical shape and he stopped playing to keep a pub in Chester. It was not until he had been retired for 25 years that Everton finally arranged a testimonial match. A crowd of 37,000 went to Goodison Park, and it was at Goodison, in 1980, that he died.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave