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Football and the First World War

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Dixie Dean

William Ralph Dean was born on January 22 1907, known as Dixie Dean, he was the most prolific goal-scorer in English football history.  He played for Tranmere, Everton and Notts County, but it is his exploits for Everton that made his name.

Born in Birkenhead, Dixie joined Tranmere Rovers in 1924 and quickly gained a reputation as a gifted forward.  He was transferred to Everton the following year, and inspired by his goal scoring feats, the team won the League Championship in 1928 and 1932, as well as the F.A. Cup in 1933.  In the 1927-28 season he became the first and only player in English football to score 60 League goals in one season.

Still regarded as one of the all-time greats, legendary manager Herbert Chapman paid him the ultimate compliment of offering Everton 'anything they wanted' for him - Everton refused to sell.  In 1936 Dixie passed Steve Bloomer's record of 352 League goals and by the time of his retirement in 1940 (having joined Notts County in 1938 and Sligo Rovers in 1939) he had scored 379 goals in a total of 437 games.  He also managed 18 goals in just 16 international appearances for England.

Dean died, aged 73, in March 1980, after watching his beloved Everton play Liverpool at Goodison Park. A statue was erected at the ground as a permanent memorial in 2001.

‘Dixie was the greatest centre-forward there will ever be,' Bill Shankly said at a celebratory dinner on the day of his friend's death. ‘He belongs to the company of the supremely great, like Beethoven, Shakespeare and Rembrandt.'

See film of Dixie in his prime: http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=u7_K0OuIgCY