Dropping a testicle in a reserve recreation, kicking large rats and voluntarily going to borstal: Dixie Dean, the one striker who Erling Haaland cannot match
William ‘Dixie’ Dean was the epitome of the rugged British centre-forward: sturdy as a rhino, and infrequently enjoying like one.
Whereas his goalscoring report has gone down in English soccer historical past as merely unbeatable – simply ask Manchester Metropolis striker Erling Haaland – if you wish to understand how tough the sport was in Dixie’s period, think about this: enjoying in a reserves match for Tranmere when he was 16, Dean was challenged so ferociously that he misplaced a testicle.
He simply laughed it off (not actually). Nonetheless, that wasn’t so shocking.
In spite of everything, this was a lad who had voluntarily gone to Borstal – a sort of youth detention centre in the UK – on the age of 11 as a result of the soccer amenities within the college for younger delinquents have been one of the best in Birkenhead.
“I informed the opposite lads that I’d received executed for stealing, so I fitted in,” he later recalled.
Dean had jet-black hair, a darkish complexion and a large, toothy grin. Opposite to a well-liked fable, his nickname appears to have been the corruption of a childhood tag, ‘Digsy’, slightly than an allusion to the Accomplice states of the American South.
His strapping torso was set atop a pair of legs which may have been carved from tree trunks, giving him a strong shot that Dean seemingly honed by kicking large rats in opposition to a wall throughout night time shifts as an apprentice fitter.
All that culminated in Dean notching a ridiculous 60 targets within the 1927/28 Division 1 season, a complete no different participant has managed to match within the century since. Haaland has tried his greatest, however he has nonetheless ‘solely’ managed 35 Premier League strikes this season.
Granted, the Norwegian is rather a lot nearer when all competitions are included, together with his astonishing 52 targets over the course of the 2022/23 marketing campaign rather a lot nearer to Dixie Dean’s 63, although the previous Everton marksman did not have the League Cup or Europe so as to add to his tally like Haaland does now.