A Chelsea striking legend if there ever was one, Luton born Kerry Dixon signed for the Blues from Reading. Born on the 24th July, 1961, he scored 51 goals in 116 appearances for the Royals, which alerted Coventry, Chelsea, Charlton, Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday. Then in the 2nd Division, Chelsea were not as well off as some of the other teams in the hunt, but Ken Bates was the first in, and agreed a fee of £150,000. Reading insisted that a clause be inserted, whereby an extra £25,000 payment would be made, if Dixon won two England caps whilst at Chelsea. Bates eventually agreed, and even he would struggle to find a better spent £25,000!
A pacy forward in his day, he was also good in the air, qualities that endeared him to the fans at Stamford Bridge. He could also score a bit! Having scored at a rate of just over a goal every other game at Reading, he continued the trend at Chelsea. He made his début at home to Derby County, and scored a brace in a 5-0 win. He started on the right foot (pun intended!)
He went on to amass 34 goals in his first season with the club, including four in a game against Gillingham, a hat-trick in a 5-0 smashing of Leeds, in which promotion was secured and goal on the final day of the season against Grimsby Town, which won Chelsea the Division 2 title. He had an almost telepathic understanding with the quick and agile David Speedie and his aerial strength was utilised by the constant service from Pat Nevin.
He made his international début for England against West Germany in 1985. He scored twice and set up the third for Brian Robson in a 3-0 win. In January 1986, Dixon injured a stomach muscle during a FA Cup tie against Liverpool. He had already scored 22 goals during the season. In his absence, Chelsea struggled and he was rushed back to action. Obviously not fully fit, he only scored two goals in the remaining 15 games of the 85-86 season. Strangely enough, both goals came in a 2-1 Chelsea win at Old Trafford. This cemented his place in the World Cup squad for the 1986 tournament in Mexico. He was left on the bench for most of the tournament, as the Lineker/Beardsley partnership reigned supreme. In fact, he only played for 6 minutes, replacing Lineker after his hat-trick against Poland.
Dressing room unrest led to several first team players asking for transfers. Dixon stayed but his form suffered, and he was eventually dropped. By early 1988 it seemed that he would be on his way to one of our fierce London rivals, Arsenal or West Ham. Bobby Campbell replaced John Hollins as Chelsea manager, and so Dixon decided to stay. He couldn’t halt the Chelsea slide, and after winning just one of their last 26 league games, Chelsea were relegated to Division 2.
Kerry Dixon was back in form and led the line as the Blues bounced back into the top flight. Despite missing the first month of the season due to injury, he scored 28 goals as the Blues secured promotion, four of them coming against an unfortunate Barnsley outfit. In Chelsea’s first season back in Division 1, they finished in a very good fifth place, no doubt helped by Kerry’s 25 goals. He scored a brace against Millwall at Stamford Bridge, before scoring a hat-trick against the Den, on the final day of the season. There was even speculation of a recall to the England squad for Italia ’90! In 1990 he played against Middlesbrough in the Zenith Data Systems Cup Final. A Tony Dorigo rocket won the game for Chelsea.
Season 1990-91 saw Kerry Dixon score a credible 15 goals, with doubles against Derby County (6-4 Chelsea win), Everton (2-2 draw) and Liverpool (4-2 Chelsea win). Perhaps he was in decline, as he only managed 6 goals in season 1991-92. His final goal for the Blues was against Norwich City in March 1992, and in the summer he was sold for £575,000 to Southampton. If only briefly, he was paired upfront with David Speedie.
In April 1994, Chelsea met Luton Town in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley. The Luton forward that day was K. Dixon. Chelsea won 2-0, only to be walloped by Manchester United in the Final. At the end of the game, the Chelsea fans started a rousing rendition of “There’s only one Kerry Dixon.” He scored 193 goals in 440 appearances for Chelsea, averaging a goal everything three games. When he left the club, he was Chelsea’s second top scorer of all time, behind the great Bobby Tambling. He also scored four times in 8 appearances for England.
Back in the days of red and white kits, Division 2 and no money, the fans could always look to Kerry Dixon for hope and inspiration. And he always delivered. He eventually rounded out his career in the lower leagues, and now commentates for Chelsea TV.
A worthy successor to Peter Osgood in the Chelsea number 9 shirt, Dixon is a true Chelsea legend. Now also a honorary member of CFCnet, there is truly, only one Kerry Dixon.
Name: Kerry Dixon
DOB: 24th July, 1961
Chelsea Career: August 1983-July 1992
Appearance: League: 331+4; 147 goals. Total: 413+7; 193 goals.