Liverpool songwriter pays tribute to Birkenhead-born footballing legend Dixie Dean

A LIVERPOOL songwriter has penned a tribute to Birkenhead-born football legend Dixie Dean on his new album and hopes it will become an anthem for Everton Football Club.

William Ralph Dean features on Straight Lines, the new album from Only Child, managed by Everton fan Alan O’Hare.

William Ralph ‘Dixie’ Dean was born in a small house in Laird Street in Birkenhead on January 22, 1907.

He played for Birkenhead School Boys before working for Wirral Railway as an apprentice fitter.

Dean declined the offer from New Brighton, signing instead for local side Pensby United. It was there that Dean caught the eye of a scout from Tranmere Rovers, his home team.

The centre-forward would play 30 games for Rovers before moving to Goodison Park where he became a legendary player best known for his exploits during the 1927-28 season which saw him score a record 60 goals in championship.

“It’s one of those songs that just popped into my head,” Alan said. “During lockdown I pulled out some old videos from the loft and there was one on Everton history which featured an interview with Tommy Lawton who replaced Dixie.

“He was talking about how he used to put a tram on the ground and it struck me that he was there as England’s record signing, on a tram with his bag on. shoulder and I thought about the gap that there is now between players and Fans.”

It was a dream come true for Dean when Everton secretary Thomas H. McIntosh arranged to meet him at the Woodside Hotel in 1925. He was so excited he walked the distance of 2, 5 miles from his home north of Birkenhead to the riverside to meet him. He signed for Everton in March 1925 when he had just turned 18.

“My grandma passed away during lockdown and that brought me back to talking to my grandpa about Dixie,” Alan said. “I was obsessed with football as a kid and hearing about Dixie’s 60 goals sounded like Roy Rovers stuff to me, so I’ve always been fascinated by him.

“He even died at Goodison Park after suffering a heart attack while watching the derby match – you couldn’t really reconcile.

“He had more money than the fans, but he was still drinking in the same pubs as them and living in the same neighborhood and their kids were going to the same schools – it really hit me during the lockdown when we got back to all the same. ”

Everton’s current woes which sees them battling relegation this season have only increased Alan’s fondness for Dixie.

“I grew up when Everton were the best team in the country for a few years so it was hard to take it,” added Alan. “I’m also sick of the iconography of the city owned by Liverpool FC and wanted to reclaim some of it.

“The history of this city is bigger than the history of this club and that always makes me cringe!”

For more information on Only Child, visit: onlychild1.bandcamp.com

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