William Ralph Dean
Centre Forward
1925-1938

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William Dean was known to dislike his nickname, "Dixie".  He preferred to be known as William or Bill.  It was given to him by his Everton team-mates on account of his very curly, wiry hair, like that of the black slaves of the American South.

Nickname or no nickname, Dean has one of the best claims around to be the greatest Evertonian of them all.  True, there are others such as Ted Sagar, Brian Labone, Neville Southall and – for different reasons – Howard Kendall who all have very good claims too, and in truth it just isn't possible to say who is the greatest.  But the club has never had a greater goalscorer.  Tommy Lawton may have been a finer player, and Gary Lineker as prolific a marksman, but neither played anything like as many games for Everton and, equally importantly, neither ever scored 60 goals in a single First Division season.

That remarkable record is unlikely ever to be broken.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Everton were Champions that season, but it is not for the fact that they finished top of Division One in 1927-28 that anybody remembers that campaign.  In fact, going into the final match at home to Arsenal, Dean needed a hat-trick to take the League record away from Middlesbrough's George Camsell, who had scored 59 times in Division Two only a season previously.  Needless to say, he got it, to the delight of the Goodison crowd.

Dean's overall record for Everton is phenomenal, that 60-goal season the peak of a 13-year spell at the club following his signing from Tranmere Rovers in March 1925, which saw him score 349 goals in 399 League games.  He won the League Title in that record-breaking 1927-28 season, yet remarkably was in the side relegated to the Second Division two years later — still scoring 23 times in 25 games.  In 1930-31, Everton were promoted straight back to Division One on the strength of Dean's 37 goals, and Dean scored in 12 successive league matches — another unbeaten record!

The following season, Everton became one of the few clubs to have won the Second and First Division titles in successive seasons.  Dean was again rampant, notching 45 goals in his last truly prolific season.  Even afterwards he still scored at a very respectable rate.  In 1932-33 he scored five goals in six games as Everton won the FA Cup, one of which was in the Final as Manchester City were beaten 3-0 — when Dean became the first player ever to wear Number 9 on his shirt.  By the time he left in 1938, joining Notts County, he was the club's leading goalscorer with a total of 377; scorer of the most hat-tricks for Everton (37); and the highest scorer in Mersey Derby matches with 19.

If William Dean was ever asked where he would like to be when he died, likely as not he would have said "Goodison Park"; and so it was that in 1980, at a Derby match, he passed away.   His records went with him to his grave.  Two of the three are still there with him; Ian Rush scored more goals in Mersey Derbies, but some of them were in matches other than League and FA Cup meetings.  No Everton player has come close to beating his tally for the club, and they probably never will.  Barring a major change in the rules, it is unlikely that any player will ever score more than 60 goals in a League season.

Past Player Profile           Ian Macdonald's Centenary Tribute

DEAN, WILLIAM RALPH
22/1/07 Birkenhead
Lge apps 399, total 431
Lge goals 349, total 383.
16 caps (England).

This page © Richard Pike & Marko Poutiainen 1999.

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