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DIXIE TRICKS; Fans pay tribute to genius of Everton legend Dean to mark centenary of his birth.

Byline: By ALWYN THOMAS

SIXTY goals in a season, not from a whole team - but scored by just ONE man.

The astonishing feat - which has never been beaten - belongs to one William Ralph Dean, born January 22, 1907. Universally known by nickname Dixie, Everton ace Dean ranks as one of the greatest players ever.

His 60 goals in the 1927/8 season is unlikely to ever be bettered. He scored 200 league goals in 199 games by the time he was 23' 379 league goals in 437 games' 37 career hat-tricks' more than 20 goals in nine consecu tive seasons and 18 goals in 16 England appearances.

No wonder Bill Shankly, another Mersey giant, once said: "Those of us privileged to see Dean play talk of him the way people talk about Beethoven, Shakespeare or Mozart."

Born in Birkenhead, Dean earned pounds 4 5s a week with local club Tranmere Rovers before moving across the water to Everton for pounds 3,000 in 1925. In spite of the then astronomical fee, he languished in the reserves until hitting seven goals in one game. His first-team debut followed and the centre forward ended his first season with 32 goals from 38 games.

Everton supporter and historian Ian Macdonald is one of many around the world remembering the great man this month. He said: "All the big clubs wanted to sign him, but there was only one team for Dean - Everton FC. It was his dream come true."

The dream almost crumbled the following season when he was badly injured in a motorbike crash. He needed metal plates in a fractured skull - cynics said this helped his phenomenal ability to head the ball - but in fact they were removed and Dean was back in action 15 weeks later.

He played his last ever game for Everton against Grimsby Town in October, 1937. It was his 399th appearance. He moved to Notts County and later Sligo Rovers in Ireland.

After war service, Dean ran the Dublin Packett pub in Chester for 15 years. He later worked as a porter at Littlewoods Pools in Liverpool.

An Evertonian to the last, Dean died from heart failure in 1980 - at Goodison Park, watching his old team battle arch rivals Liverpool.

mirrornews@mgn.co.uk

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HERO: Dean in action for the Toffees v Chelsea in 1932
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 8, 2007
Words:391
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