Player #401

Appearances:

437

Starts:

437

Goals:

144

Seasons:

16

Johnny Dixon
Johnny Dixon

Source: Football card #6 Johnny Dixon issued by J F Sporting Collectibles, Leicester under the 1950s Footballers series, first series.

press to zoom
Johnny Dixon
Johnny Dixon

Source: Football card #6 Johnny Dixon issued by J F Sporting Collectibles, Leicester under the 1950s Footballers series, first series.

press to zoom
1/1

Johnny Dixon

Position

Forward

From

1945-46

To

1960-61

IMAGE CREDIT

Johnny Dixon

Seasons Quick-View

Seasons

Age*

21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36

Division

FLS
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D1
D2
D1

Appearances

437
5
17
12
26
40
37
43
33
40
43
40
48
14
34
4
1

Starts

437
5
17
12
26
40
37
43
33
40
43
40
48
14
34
4
1

Substitute

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

Unused

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

Goals

144
0
6
5
7
11
16
28
14
9
14
18
11
2
2
0
1

*Age on opening day of the season

FAC: FA Cup; FL: Football League; D1: Division 1; D2: Division 2; D3: Division 3; PL: Premier League; CH: Championship

FULL SEASON BREAKDOWN

John Thomas Dixon

Birth Date

Monday, 10 December 1923

Birth Place

Hebburn-on-Tyne, County Durham

Birth Country

England

Villa Youth

n/a

From

Transfer in

Spennymoor United

From

For

Free

On

January 1946

Previous Clubs

Hebburn Boys Club |
Durham County Boys |
Spennymoor United |

Loans Out

None

Transfer Out

To

Retired

For

Released

On

May 1961

Subsequent Clubs

Retired |

Johnny Dixon
Johnny Dixon

Source: Football card #6 Johnny Dixon issued by J F Sporting Collectibles, Leicester under the 1950s Footballers series, first series.

press to zoom
Johnny Dixon
Johnny Dixon

Source: Football card #6 Johnny Dixon issued by J F Sporting Collectibles, Leicester under the 1950s Footballers series, first series.

press to zoom
1/1

Villa Career

Seasons Active, Fee, Starts (Sub) | Goals |

1945-61 Aston Villa, Free, 437 | 144 |

STARTS

SUBS

GOALS

Played Under

Alex Massie |
George Martin |
Eric Houghton |
Joe Mercer |

First Squad Appearance

Wednesday, 5 September 1945

Debut Appearance

Wednesday, 5 September 1945

West Bromwich Albion (h), Football League South

DEBUT

First Goal

Saturday, 7 September 1946

Final Appearance

Saturday, 29 April 1961

Sheffield Wednesday (h), Division One

FINAL

Final Squad Appearance

Saturday, 29 April 1961

Honours

1956-57 FA Cup Winners |

Height

(5ft 10 in) 1.78 m

Foot

International Team

Not selected

Died

20 January 2009, Aged 85

Johnny Dixon

Player #401 for Aston Villa, John Thomas Dixon, known as Johnny Dixon, played as a forward for the club. Johnny played for Villa between 1945-46 and 1960-61 making 437 appearances and scoring 144 goals.

Johnny was born in Hebburn-on-Tyne on 10 December 1923 and made his professional debut for Villa in the 1945-46 FA Cup aged 22.

Johnny had been with Newcastle United as a youth and it was generally believed that the north east club had “let a good young ‘un” slip through their fingers when he made the trip south to Villa Park in 1944.

Villa had signed Johnny from Spennymoor United after he had written requesting a trial and he signed professional forms with Villa in January 1946 having played as an amateur from August 1944, a cool and clever inside forward, Dixon could create for his team-mates whilst also having the ability to take chances himself.

In his own words Johnny said “It was the name Aston Villa that made me write to the club for a trial. Nothing to do with anything else, just the name.”

And so in signing for the Villa Johnny fulfilled a long term ambition to represent the club with whom he had created an attachment by virtue of his love for the aristocratic and glamorous name that Aston Villa conjured in his young mind as a North East schoolboy.

Once in the club Johnny made it his own, under the tutelage of Alex Massie and later George Martin and a free flowing football philosophy the North Eastern lad blossomed from the 1949-50 season and was to be a virtual every present for the best part of a decade.

On debut - against Derby County on 6th April 1946 in the FA Cup 6th Round - Johnny hit the headlines with a sparking display, scoring once and having a hand in the others as Villa ran out 4-1 winners. Johnny would carry on his debut form making 6 appearances, scoring three as this young, intelligent recruit look already destined for the future greatness he would achieve in the Villa shirt.

Johnny could juggle the ball, either with feet of head, in a most amazing manner and despite his still tender years was creating openings a plenty for his team-mates almost as soon as he entered the team. His clever and constructive play and his innate ability to manipulate the ball to his whim meant he was a hard player to dispossess for opposition players allowing him more time to inflict his customary damage on Villa’s opponents.

A most versatile forward, Johnny played across all five positions of the forward line during his long career with Villa, yet it all could have ended too soon with, at the end of the 1946-47 campaign, expectations that young Johnny would move on again to gain more first team experience. Happily Johnny opted to stay - and became the first Villa player to sign up for the 1947-48 season - and never looked back.

Johnny’s goalscoring achievements were up there with the best too - hitting double figures in 7 seasons.

A contemporary match report in the Sports Argus praised Dixon as “Abundantly manifest was the fact that [he] seemed right out of his class. He was far and away the best inside forward of the game, quite apart from the fact that he scored the two goals. One wondered more than ever why he had not been capped this season [for England].”

Such was Johnny’s longevity that he saw multiple Villa teams come and go through his 15 years as a Villa player and saw the highs and lows of rebuilding an ageing team and retaining and training the best quality players.

Undoubtedly however Johnny’s finest hour came under fellow Villa great Eric Houghton’s reign and at the tail end of his marathon career - lifting the FA Cup, Villa’s 7th, in 1956-57.

With Massie, Martin and Houghton gone, Joe Mercer came in and by 1958-59 Villa and Dixon were on the wane with relegation to the second tier and retirement befalling both.

Such was the affection in which he was held, Mercer recalled Johnny for one last time in the final game of the 1960-61 season on Saturday, 29 April 1961 aged 37 and after 15 seasons with Villa the legend ‘retired’.

The game itself brought a deserved victory over league runners-up Sheffield Wednesday with Johnny marking the occasion with his final Villa goal whilst the crowd sent him on his way with a standing ovation and a few pitch interlopers. In a further quirk of fate a young scotsman Charlie Aitken made his debut that game, the King is dead, long live the King.

When Johnny retired from first team duties he coached the Villa juniors for three years, and then became Villa’s reserve team trainer from July 1964 to May 1967 but the playing fever never left and Johnny regularly turned out for Villa’s second and third teams even after his retirement.

One eulogy read “No footballer can have worn the club’s claret and blue colours with more pride or dignity.”

Johnny had played under Villa managers Alex Massie, George Martin, Eric Houghton and Joe Mercer.

Johnny passed away in Sutton Coldfield on 20 January 2009 aged 85.