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Dixie Dean: World Class Footballer, Pub Landlord and . . . Editor

You might think that a world class footballer wouldn’t have much time on his hands whilst scoring 60 goals in a single season, but Dixie Dean wasn’t your average world class footballer, now was he?

“The Pilot” Guide to Better Football

"The Pilot" Guide to Better Football - world class footballer guideIn October 1935, presented with the first issue of “The Pilot”, Dixie Dean edited a 100-page booklet that had helpful hints and tips on how to become a footballing great.

The issue included coloured portrait cards of the footballing stars of the time, perfect for young sports fans who had a keen interest in footer, as well as an inspirational editors letter written by the great man himself.

Dean dares young footballers to believe they can reach the highest ranks of the football league, no matter what their humble backgrounds may be.

“Even the most famous footballers in the world started with no better chances than you.”

For the guide to better football Dean assembled a “number of soccer stars” to help him break down the skills needed in each section of a successful team.

Harry Hibbs, “the greatest goalie in the country” who played for Birmingham, Roy Goodall of Huddersfield, who was a “sledgehammer kicker, a wizard tackler and a master of the art of positional play” and many more each gave their tips, hints and tricks on how to become the best footballer you could be.

The words of the greatest goal scorer of all time gave young players all over the world the hope that they too could succeed, and they too could become world class footballers just like Dixie Dean.

Football in the 30s

Like today, many of histories footballing greats started out playing in school. After which, if you were lucky, you’d get signed by your local team and then you’d be spotted and signed by a professional league team.

Unlike today, however, if you were signed as a pro back in the day, you would only make double the national average wage, if you were good, not the millions of pounds a week professional players get today.

Therefore, if it was your dream to become a professional world class footballer, you had to train and work hard to make it worth your while.

At the start of the 1930s, football could only be watched in the grounds it was being played or listened to on the radio. Then, thanks to publications like “The Pilot” Guide to Better Football, great players got their chance to be personally recognised in homes and by their fans and were finally able to give their own views on the sport they played.

It wasn’t until the BBC aired the first match on TV in 1937 that footballers entered people’s homes and became well-known faces for young players to admire and aspire to.

The Fame of Dixie Dean

At the time of editing “The Pilot” Guide to Better Football, Dean had won two first division titles, the FA Cup with Everton and was captain of the side. By the time footballers, faces became famous, Dean had left Everton FC and signed for FAI team Sligo Rovers.

So famous was the just the name Dixie Dean that, when he arrived to play in Sligo, the station was filled with fans just trying to catch a glimpse of the great player.

Dean kept up his record-breaking goal scoring at Sligo, netting10 goals in just seven matches. Then later in his career at Hurst just before the outbreak of WWII, Dean managed only two games and one goal.

After the War was over, so was Dean’s pro footballing career and, unlike today, Dean had to work to sustain an income. He did so as an unlikely pub landlord at the Dublin Packet, a role he relished for 16 years.

Dixie Dean world class footballer - pub landlord
Chester Chronicle

Dean’s fame as a world class footballer assured the Dublin Packet in Chester was quite the popular local drinking spot. Fans of the game and Dixie would regularly pop in for a pint and a chat about his impressive career as one of the greatest world class footballers of the past.

The Dixie Dean Hotel

Coming soon, fans of Dixie Dean and Everton Football Club will have the chance to explore the life and career of the world class footballer inside the Dixie Dean museum.

Adjacent to the successful Shankly Hotel, the Dixie Dean Hotel will contain a collection of rare memorabilia connected with the great player.

Furthermore, the stunning new hotel will form part of the world’s first football quarter, containing 100 luxury hotel suites and a world class bar, restaurant and events venue.

The Dixie Dean Hotel will be the lasting legacy of a great player whose life, career and humble beginnings inspired many people in many different ways.

Until the doors of The Dixie Dean Hotel open, keep up to date with the latest developments over on our Facebook page.

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