Player Profile: Lee Dixon
Date of Birth: 17/03/1964
Height: 5 ft 10 (1.78 m)
Position: Right Back
National Team: England
International Caps: 22
International Goals: 1
Born and bred in Manchester, Lee Dixon began his playing career at nearby Burnley. He signed for the Clarets as an apprentice in 1980 and played his first professional game for them in 1983. Dixon was never really given much of a chance though, and after only making 5 appearances for the club he was sold to Chester City in 1984.
Dixon spent two years at Chester, and they weren’t a particularly successful. In his first season they finished at the bottom of the Football League pyramid, albeit at a time when that didn’t mean relegation to non-league. He left the club having made over 60 appearances and moved onto Bury in the division above.
His single season for the Shakers was more impressive, he made 58 appearances and scored 7 goals from right-back. He continued to move up the divisions after Stoke City signed him for a £40,000 fee decided by tribunal. Dixon continued to improve and was named the player of the season during his first year at the club. In his second season with the club the big time came calling, and Dixon was on his way to the First Division with Arsenal.
During his first season, Nigel Winterburn kept Dixon out of the side and he only made 6 appearances. But Dixon would lock down the right back position in his sophomore season as Winterburn moved over to left back. He would go on to be first choice at number 2 for over a decade.
He was a full back fond of going forwards and used his pace to aid the Arsenal attack, whilst still remaining part of a strong defensive unit that the Gunners were known for at the time. He was a strong crosser of the ball, and also added a decent amount of goals for his team, scoring 28 in total during his career with the Arsenal.
Dixon’s second season was his first to end with silverware, as the league title came to be decided on the final day of the season. Arsenal, who were 2nd in the league, visited Anfield to play the league leaders Liverpool. Arsenal needed to win by at least two goals to win the league, and they scored their second of the game in injury time to come out 2-0 victors. A long ball from Dixon started the attack that would make them champions of England, and not for the last time during his spell at the club.
Arsenal’s next triumph would come in the ‘90/91 season, when they really showed their defensive steel. They brought in David Seaman and he only conceded 18 goals all season as Arsenal marched to the title losing only once. Lee Dixon played a vital role in the team’s tight defensive unit, playing in every league game and chipping in with 5 goals.
The next season would see Dixon’s most infamous moment, and a goal he’d definitely like to forget. At the time goalkeepers were able to handle back passes, so Dixon knocking the ball back to Seaman in the air to catch wasn’t too unusual. However, he hadn’t noticed he was off his line, and he unintentionally lobbed him and put the ball into his own net. The back-pass rule would be changed a couple of seasons later, something Dixon was probably pleased about.
Arsenal wouldn’t be quite so successful in the league for the next few years, but they would pick up a win in the ’93 FA Cup, as well as a victory on the European front in the ’94 European Cup Winners Cup.
Dixon remained a regular fixture in the team and this continued when Arsène Wenger took over in 1996. Wenger’s forward-thinking style of football suited Dixon well as a full back who liked to get forward.
Arsène Wenger’s impact on the club was immediate, and in the ‘97/98 season Arsenal won the league and FA Cup double. Dixon was a key part of the team, making 40 appearances in all competitions. This season marked a decade at the club for the defender, and his testimonial was held the following year.
Towards the turn of the millennium, Dixon’s career was coming to an end, and he began to struggle with a knee injury. He didn’t let this or the arrival of Oleg Luzhny or Lauren deter him though, and he remained part of the first team picture.
His final season would be the ‘01/02 campaign, where he played a lot less. But when an injury crisis struck, Dixon helped Arsenal to another league and cup double. He would retire at Arsenal having made 616 appearances for the club in all competitions. In his time in north London, Dixon was a 4 time champion of England, three time FA Cup winner and also won a European Cup Winners Cup.
Dixon’s first appearance in England colours came in a warm up game for the World Cup in April 1990. However, he was third choice on the England scene and wouldn’t go on to the tournament in Italy. He played in several friendlies and qualifiers for the Euros in 1992, but would miss out again, this time through injury.
Dixon continued to be part of the England set up until the next World Cup, which they did not qualify for. After this poor showing, Terry Venables took over the England team and Dixon wasn’t part of his plans. He would make one more appearance for England in 1999, his 22nd and final cap, but would never appear in a major tournament.
Where is Lee Dixon now?
Since retiring from football, Dixon has become one of the game’s leading pundits, with a long spell working on Football Focus and Match of the Day on BBC before moving to ITV to work on Champions League and international football. Other than punditry and commentary, Dixon has also been involved in several business ventures, including part owning restaurants and holding a stake in a games company.
Did you know? Interesting facts about Lee Dixon
– He is featured on FIFA 20 as a commentator during certain game modes.
– Dixon is friends with Heston Blumenthal, and he once nearly blinded the celebrity chef during a play fight. Luckily his eyesight was fine, and the pair at one point co-owned a restaurant together.
– He frequently cycles, and took part in a charity bike ride from London to Athens.