William "Dixie" Dean was a legendary Everton centre forward who managed an astonishing goal-scoring feats which entered him into the Football Hall of Fame. He’s a bit of a god-visiting-earth at Everton’s football club and there’s a statute of him outside Goodison Park. Here I am outside the stadium where he played hundreds of times and actually died.
No matter how multi-skilled a forward player is only the goals truly count and this man scored lots. He was an especially effective header and scored 383 times for Everton in 433 games. He also scored 18 goals when he played 16 times for England. Nowadays he’d probably be earning £350,000/week. He and his wife (who were married for 43 years) had four children. After a phenomenal career he retired and ran a pub in Chester, worked as a porter at Littlewoods football pools company. Aged 55 he was admitted to hospital with influenza and made a recovery. Aged 69 he had his right leg amputated due to a blood clot and became increasingly homebound.
Fittingly he died right here aged 74 at Goodison Park whilst watching a match. Everton were playing against fierce rivals Liverpool and it must have been stressful for him. He hadn’t been to a match for years due to ill health. He was cremated and his remains were sprinkled on the pitch he’d played on hundreds of times.
Traffic around Goodison Park was busy that Tuesday afternoon and I got a few kids shouting out of car windows as I tried to get a few decent photos of my next to the statue. I went into the car park and a group of Chinese men were taking photos. Some were holding their babies above their heads so they would be just under the "GOODISON" letters in the photos. I did a salute and left.