Spotlight: Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon was a classic English centre forward, and a master goalscorer. His strength, ability in the air and eye for goal saw him score 193 goals for Chelsea over nine seasons.

In addition to his exploits at club level, during his time at Chelsea he was capped by England and travelled to the 1986 World Cup, where he made a substitute appearance against Portugal.

Dixon scored four times in eight appearances for England, but it was at Stamford Bridge that he became a true legend. He departed in 1992 for Southampton and to this day remains the second highest goal scorer in Chelsea’s history.

Dixon started his career at our North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but was released without ever making a first team appearance. His first football league action came at Reading, in the Third Division at the time. Dixon signed in 1980 and over three seasons scored 51 league goals from 116 appearances. In 1982 at the age of just 21, he scored four goals in an incredible match against Doncaster Rovers, one which Reading eventually lost 7-5.

His goal scoring exploits at Reading alerted then Chelsea manager John Neil, who was willing to pay £150,000 for the striker. Incidentally, his contract included a clause that meant Reading would receive an additional £25,000 bonus should Kerry ever be capped by England, which then occurred two years later.

Kerry signed to Chelsea whilst the club was in the Second Division, having been relegated from the First Division the previous season. John Neil was hoping that Dixon was the man who could catapult the Blues back into the top division of English league football. I doubt even he realised what a gem he had on his hands.

Dixon started for Chelsea as he intended to continue, scoring a brace on his debut against Derby County. In an immensely successful season, Dixon scored 32 goals as Chelsea dominated the Second Division, earning promotion as champions at the season’s end. Indeed, the title was clinched with a 5-0 victory over bitter rivals Leeds United and fittingly, Dixon scored a hat trick in that game.

The 1984-1985 season saw Chelsea back in the First Division and the draw pitched the Blues against Arsenal at Highbury on the opening day of the season. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, however Dixon’s magnificent volleyed goal will live long in the memory, including for the man himself, who cites it as his favourite goal.

Goal came as naturally to Dixon in the First Division as it did in the Second Division and he ended the season with 24 league goals. This tally saw him finish joint top scorer with the great Gary Lineker and his contribution helped Chelsea achieve a final league position of sixth.

Chelsea, traditionally a strong cup side, reached the semi finals of the League Cup, with Dixon’s eight competition goals proving his ability to sustain his goal scoring form. Unfortunately Sunderland were too good in the semi final and the run ended there.

The next season saw Dixon’s goal scoring hampered by an injury that saw him lose form and struggle for consistency. Two seasons later, Chelsea were again relegated to the Second Division. Ken Bates intervened as Dixon considered a move to Arsenal in the previous season as much of the promotion winning team was broken up.

However, Dixon took it upon himself to fire Chelsea straight back to the First Division. He scored 25 goals that season as Chelsea were promoted at the first attempted; as champions of the Second Division.

He went one better at the turn of the decade, scoring 26 First Division goals as Chelsea finished in fifth place, their highest league position since 1970. To go from the Second Division to fifth in the First Division in the space of twelve months was a remarkable effort and without Dixon’s 51 league goals in that period of time, would not have been possible.

In 1992 Dixon finally departed Chelsea and signed for Southampton, later enjoying a relatively successful spell at Luton Town where he faced Chelsea in an FA Cup semi final, and losing 2-0. Further appearances at Millwall, Watford and Doncaster Rovers saw Dixon regularly contribute goals, before his eventual retirement in 1997.

Regardless of his achievements and goals scored post 1992, it was at Chelsea where Kerry Michael Dixon became a true blue legend.

He scored more goals for Chelsea than such luminaries as Roy Bentley, Peter Osgood and Jimmy Greaves, whilst of the current generation, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba will need half a decade or more to get near Dixon’s 193 goals.

He sits eighth on the list of appearance makers, ahead of Eddie Macreadie and only narrowly behind other club legends John Terry, Dennis Wise and Steve Clarke.

Make no mistake, Kerry Dixon is one of the best ever to play for Chelsea Football Club.

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