A LIVERPOOL songwriter has penned a tribute to Birkenhead-born footballing 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 by Only Child, led by Everton fan Alan O'Hare.

William Ralph 'Dixie' Dean was born in a small house on 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 an offer to join New Brighton, instead signing for local team Pensby United. It was here that Dean attracted the attention of a Tranmere Rovers scout, his local team.

Wirral Globe: Dixie DeanDixie Dean

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 league goals.

"It was one of thise songs that just came to me," said Alan. "During lockdown I dug out some old videos out of the loft and there was one about the history of Everton that featured an interview with Tommy Lawton who replaced Dixie.

"He was speaking about how he used to get a tram to the ground and it struck me that there he was as England's record signing, on a tram with his bag over his shoulder and I got thinking about the gap 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 that he ran the 2.5 miles distance from his home in north Birkenhead to the riverside to meet him. He signed for Everton in March 1925 having just turned 18.

 "My nan died during lockdown and it took me back to speaking to my grandad about Dixie," said Alan. "I was obsessed with football as a kid and hearing about Dixie's 60 goals seemed like Roy of the Rovers stuff to me so I was always fascinated by him.

"He even died at Goodison Park after suffering a heart attack whilst watching the derby match - you couldn't make it up really.

"He was on more money than the fans but he would still drink in the same pubs as them and live in the same district and their kids went to the same schools - it really struck me during lockdown when essentially we all became the same again."

Everton's current woes which sees them battling relegation this season has 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 has been tough to take," added Alan. "I'm also sick of the iconography of the city belonging to Liverpool FC and I wanted to reclaim a bit of that. 

"The story of this city is bigger than the story of that club and it always raises my hackles!"

Alan added that Dixie Dean's granddaughter has heard the song and loved it and he now hopes it will reach even more fans.

"I'm waiting for it to be played at Goodison Park," he added. "It will become real in my eyes then." 

For more information on Only Child go to: onlychild1.bandcamp.com