Dion Dublin

Dion Dublin
Dion Dublin
Personal information
Full name Dion Dublin
Date of birth 22 April 1969 (1969-04-22) (age 42)
Place of birth Leicester, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Centre back
Centre forward
Youth career
Wigston Fields
1985–1988 Norwich City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988 Norwich City 0 (0)
1988–1992 Cambridge United 156 (52)
1988 Barnet (loan) 1 (0)
1992–1994 Manchester United 12 (2)
1994–1998 Coventry City 145 (61)
1998–2004 Aston Villa 155 (48)
2002 Millwall (loan) 5 (2)
2004–2006 Leicester City 58 (5)
2006 Celtic 11 (1)
2006–2008 Norwich City 70 (12)
Total 613 (183)
National team
1998 England 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Dion Dublin (born 22 April 1969 in Leicester, Leicestershire),[1] is a retired English footballer. He was capped four times for England. Dublin started his career as a centre back with Norwich City, but made his name at Cambridge United as a goal-scoring centre forward. However, in his later years he showed his versatility by becoming an accomplished defender. He had spells with Norwich City (twice), Cambridge United, Manchester United, Coventry City, Millwall, Aston Villa, Leicester City and Celtic.

Away from football, Dublin is also an accomplished amateur percussionist. He invented a percussion instrument, which he called "The Dube", and in 2011, he accompanied Ocean Colour Scene in a gig at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich.[2]


Club career

Norwich City

Whilst at school in Leicestershire, Dublin played for Wigston Fields; the local team in a small South Leicester Town. Dublin then went on to begin his professional footballing career with Norwich City after leaving school in 1985, but he never made a first team appearance and was released from the club in 1988.

Cambridge United

He then signed for Cambridge United as a centre-half, which had been his position at Norwich. However, his new club recognised that Dublin had greater potential as a striker. United's then manager (Chris Turner) and assistant manager (John Beck) have both since claimed sole credit for spotting Dublin's ability as a striker.[citation needed] Whoever was responsible, very soon his prolific goalscoring helped United to successive promotions. During the 1988–89 Dublin was then loaned out for a short spell to Barnet. The 1989–90 season saw Cambridge promoted from the Fourth via the play-offs, when Dublin became the first ever scorer in a Wembley play-off final. In 1990–91 the club were champions of the Third Division, and the club also reached the sixth round of the FA Cup in both seasons, with Dublin scoring at Arsenal in 1991. In 1991–92, he played a big part in helping Cambridge to their highest ever finishing position in the football league, by finishing in fifth place in the last ever season of the old Second Division, but when Cambridge failed to win promotion to the top flight via the play-offs Dublin was put up for sale. He has since spoken many times of his affection for Cambridge United.

Manchester United

Having seen Dublin in a cup tie, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson signed him for £1million on 7 August 1992, fighting off competition from Chelsea and Everton.[3] Dublin was something of a surprise purchase for United,[citation needed] after Ferguson had tried to sign Alan Shearer from Southampton but lost out to Blackburn Rovers.[4]

Dublin scored in the fourth Premier League game of the 1992–93 season, a last minute winner in United's first Premier league victory – 1–0 over Southampton at The Dell. However, on 2 September he suffered a broken leg against Crystal Palace in a 1–0 win at Old Trafford, after a tackle by Eric Young, and was out of action for six months. By the time he had recovered, however, United had signed Eric Cantona and the Frenchman was firmly established as first choice strike partner to Mark Hughes. United won the league that season for the first time since 1967, but Dublin failed to make the 10 Premier League appearances required to automatically gain a title winner's medal. However, he was given a medal as a result of special dispensation from the Premier League, meaning goalkeeper Les Sealey was the only major first team player not to get a medal.

In 1993–94, Dublin regained his fitness but his first team chances were restricted by the excellent form of Eric Cantona. In December 1993, Ferguson agreed a deal with Everton manager Howard Kendall that would have seen Dublin moving to Goodison Park, but a member of Everton's board of directors, apparently feeling that Dublin was not worth the money Kendall had offered United, intervened to prevent the transfer going through – this incident led directly to Kendall's resignation as Everton manager and Dublin ended up staying at Old Trafford until the end of the season.

He managed five league appearances that season, scoring once in a 3–2 home win over Oldham Athletic in early April. He also managed a further goal in the Football League Cup second round first leg as United were beaten 2–1 by Stoke City at the Victoria Ground. The goal against Oldham would be the only competitive goal that Dublin would score for United at Old Trafford. He was left out of the FA Cup winning team and failed to make enough appearances to merit another Premier League title winners medal and soon after the end of the season he was sold to Coventry City for £2million.[5]

Coventry City

In four-and-a-half years with Coventry, Dublin established himself as one of the Premier League's top strikers and during the 1997–98 season won the first of his four England full caps. That season, he equalled the Coventry City record for most goals in a top division season with 23 goals in all competitions.

Following Phil Neal's departure in 1995, the arrival of Ron Atkinson and Gordon Strachan would see Dublin fit into an attacking team in the typical Atkinson mould. It included the likes of Noel Whelan, John Salako and Darren Huckerby to add to the already attack minded Peter Ndlovu. The addition of Gary McAllister, following Euro 96, should have provided mid table stability but the teams defensive frailties often undermined Dublin's scoring at the other end. This culminated in possibly one of the greatest escapes in Premiership history in May 1997. Sitting second from bottom, Coventry City needed favourable results elsewhere whilst needing an away win at White Hart Lane. This game followed on from an away win at Anfield (Dublin scoring in the dying seconds) and a home win against Chelsea. But at Tottenham Hotspur that afternoon, cheered on by a large travelling contingent of Sky Blues faithful, Dublin scored in the first half before Paul Williams netted to secure an unlikely 2–1 win. The game reached a nerve racking climax which included a memorable late save from City keeper Steve Ogrizovic. The following season however, the Sky Blues enjoyed an impressive home record and at long last a season of mid table security. Dublin formed a dynamic partnership with Darren Huckerby which not only produced some memorable goals but also propelled the Sky Blues to the FA Cup Quarter Final against Sheffield United; a game they narrowly lost in a penalty shoot out. The 1997/98 season also saw Dublin share elite status as the Premier League's top scorer with Blackburn's Chris Sutton and Liverpool's Michael Owen – each Englishman scoring 18 league goals. During this season, Blackburn manager Roy Hodgson tabled a bid which Dublin rejected. He remained at Highfield Road and contributed to Coventry's best finish to date in the Premiership (11th). Despite Dion Dublin's fantastic form he was not included in England's 1998 World Cup Squad.

Although many people saw the eventual sale of Robbie Keane in 2000 as the principal catalyst in Coventry City's 2001 relegation, the goalscoring deficit left by the sale of Dion Dublin is often overlooked. His ability to score over 15 goals per season, often in tightly contested relegation battles, was to prove irreplaceable. His transfer to Aston Villa caused some rancour amongst City fans, who suggested a lack of loyalty from the No.9, he was jeered by Coventry fans when Aston Villa played against Coventry during 1998/1999 season but today memories have mellowed and no City fan would deny the enormous contribution that Dion Dublin made to the club's fortunes. No other Coventry City player has scored more goals for the Sky Blues in England's top division.

Aston Villa

Despite finishing as the Premier League's joint top scorer during for 1997–98 season, Dublin was controversially excluded from the England 1998 FIFA World Cup squad. However, his exploits at club level were still attracting significant attention and in the autumn of 1998 he chose to move to Coventry's arch-rivals Aston Villa for £5.75m. In his first 4 games for the club, he would score 7 goals including a memorable hat-trick against Southampton in only his second game for the Villans. As a result, he is one of only six players to score in the first four consecutive games for a club.[6] In December 1999 whilst playing for Aston Villa against Sheffield Wednesday, he sustained a life threatening broken neck as a result of which he permanently has a titanium plate holding three neck vertebrae together. In April 2000, a week after returning to the team, he helped Aston Villa reach their first FA Cup final in 43 years (which they lost 1–0 to Chelsea) scoring a penalty in the semi-final shoot-out with Bolton Wanderers. Having regained his fitness, Dublin remained on the Villa Park payroll until 2002. Faced with competition for a first team place by Juan Pablo Ángel and Peter Crouch, Dublin spent several weeks on loan at First Division Millwall. In his time there, he scored two goals (against Stockport County[7] and Grimsby[8]) in five league matches to help them in to the play offs where despite Dublin's goal in the first leg of the semi final,[9] Millwall lost to Birmingham City 2–1 on aggregate.[10] Returning to Villa, he found himself again a first choice striker, partnering Darius Vassell up front. Dublin was sent off at Villa Park for a headbutt on Robbie Savage in the Birmingham derby match, which ended 2–0 to Birmingham City.

Leicester City

When his contract expired in the summer of 2004, he was given a free transfer. He was signed by Leicester City, who had been relegated from the Premier League to the Championship.[11] In his first season with the club, he scored only four goals in 38 competitive matches. During the 2005–06 season, Dublin lost his place as the team's main striker, but continued to appear as a defender. His contract at Leicester City was terminated by mutual consent on 30 January 2006.


He was snapped up quickly by Celtic Manager Gordon Strachan, to cover for the loss of Chris Sutton, on a contract until the end of the season. At Celtic, Dublin achieved double success, with Scottish League Cup and Scottish Premier League winner's medals. He came on as a sub and scored the final goal as Celtic won the Scottish League Cup final,[12] and also played enough matches with Celtic to merit a title medal. In the league, he made three league starts and eight substitute appearances for Celtic, scoring once against Kilmarnock.[13] Despite one or two decent performances for the Parkhead outift, Dublin was released by manager Gordon Strachan.

Norwich City (second spell)

Dublin battling in the air against Tom Kemp in the FA Cup game with Tamworth.

On 20 September 2006, Norwich City announced that Dublin had joined them until the end of the 2006–07 season. It marked a return, almost 20 years after leaving, for Dublin to the club where he began his career. He made his debut on 23 September 2006 when he came on as substitute against Plymouth Argyle. He scored his first competitive goal in Norwich City colours in a 3–3 draw against Queens Park Rangers on 14 October 2006 at Loftus Road. Steve Wilson cited Dublin as the main inspiration behind Norwich's 4–1 FA Cup 3rd Round win at Tamworth, in which the striker scored two goals and set up numerous chances for other team mates. Dublin was an important figure in Norwich securing safety from relegation to League One and the supporters recognised his contribution by voting him in second place in the Norwich City player of the year award, and on 23 May 2007 he ended speculation about his future by signing a new one-year contract at Norwich, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2007–08 season. On 2 September 2007, Dublin, whilst a pundit on the Aston Villa v Chelsea game, said that this season would be his last as a footballer, citing the fact that his 'bones have started to talk to him' as the reason, meaning that he did not think his body can handle another season.

"It was incredible at Hillsborough. If you think of the stadia I could've retired at, away from Norwich of course, with the history and the feeling, then Sheffield Wednesday was the perfect place."

Dion Dublin[14]
Dion applauds Norwich City fans before kick-off in his final appearance for the Canaries, Hillsborough, 5 May 2008

During Spring 2008, Dublin was approached by Jimmy Quinn, then manager of Cambridge United, about joining his old club for the 2008–09 season. However, the player would not change his mind about retiring. He was voted the club's Player of the Year and awarded the Barry Butler trophy on 26 April 2008 in his final season as a footballer, at his penultimate game, and on his final appearance at Carrow Road. Dublin played his final game on 4 May 2008, featuring in Norwich's 4–1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday in front of 36,208 fans at Hillsborough – the highest Championship attendance that season.[14] When he was taken off in the 66th minute, Dublin received a standing ovation from both sets of supporters, players and referee Mark Clattenburg.

International career

Dublin represented England at international level, earning four caps for the senior team in 1998. Despite his excellent form at the time (where he finished joint Premier League top scorer alongside Michael Owen with 23 goals), he was surprisingly omitted from England's squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

After football

Since retiring, Dublin has worked in the media as a pundit for Sky Sports. As well as appearing on Ford Super Sunday with Richard Keys, Dublin has done commentary on a number of games including the UEFA Champions League games with Martin Tyler. He has also been a member of the panel on BBC Radio 5 Live's Fighting Talk. He has also co-presented 6-0-6 on BBC Radio 5 Live, Match of the Day 2 and is also a regular on BBC 1's late kickoff in the Anglia region. Dion is also a Jager Bomb aficionado and Mojito ninja.

The Dube

Away from football, during his spell with Norwich,[15] he introduced a percussion instrument called The Dube[16], a form of Cajón. The Dube is already being used in schools and even by the Royal Shakespeare company.[citation needed] In 2011, he accompanied Ocean Colour Scene during a gig at the University of East Anglia.[15]

Career statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other[17] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Norwich City 1987–88 0 0
Total 0 0
Cambridge United 1988–89 21 6
1989–90 46 15
1990–91 46 16
1991–92 43 15
Total 156 52 21 11 10 5 15 5 202 73
Manchester United 1992–93 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
1993–94 5 1 2 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 10 2
Total 12 2 2 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 17 3
Coventry City 1994–95 31 13 4 1 3 2 0 0 38 16
1995–96 34 14 3 2 2 0 0 0 39 16
1996–97 34 14 1 0 4 0 0 0 39 14
1997–98 36 18 5 4 2 1 0 0 43 23
1998–99 10 3 0 0 2 1 0 0 12 4
Total 145 62 13 7 13 4 0 0 171 73
Aston Villa 1998–99 24 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 24 11
1999–2000 26 12 3 1 4 3 0 0 33 16
2000–01 33 8 3 0 1 0 3 1 0 0 40 9
2001–02 21 4 0 0 2 1 7 1 0 0 30 6
Millwall (loan) 2001–02 5 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 7 3
Aston Villa 2002–03 28 10 1 0 4 4 2 0 0 0 35 14
2003–04 23 3 0 0 5 0 0 0 28 3
Total 155 48 7 1 16 8 12 2 0 0 190 59
Leicester City 2004–05 37 5 5 1 0 0 0 0 42 6
2005–06 21 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 23 0
Total 58 5 5 1 2 0 0 0 65 6
Celtic 2005–06 11 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 12 2
Norwich City 2006–07 33 5 4 2 1 0 0 0 38 7
2007–08 37 7 2 1 2 1 0 0 41 9
Total 70 12 6 3 3 1 0 0 79 16
Career total 612 184 54 23 47 20 13 2 17 6 743 235



Manchester United
Aston Villa





  1. ^ http://www.soccerbase.com/players/player.sd?player_id=2176
  2. ^ http://www.musicradar.com/news/drums/video-dion-dublin-plays-the-dube-with-ocean-colour-scene-392030
  3. ^ Metcalf, Rupert (7 August 1992). "Football: United sign pounds 1m Dublin". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football-united-sign-pounds-1m-dublin-1538789.html. Retrieved 1 May 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.soccer365.com/match_reports/story_30709235013.php
  5. ^ http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/no-headline-present-1.485716
  6. ^ "Coyle happy to take a loan". Bolton News (Newsquest Media). 2011-03-04. http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/sport/wanderers/wanderersnews/8888933.Coyle_happy_to_take_a_loan/?. Retrieved 2011-03-04. 
  7. ^ "Millwall 3-0 Stockport". BBC. 30 March 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/1898582.stm. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "Lions see off Mariners". BBC. 21 April 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/1935819.stm. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "Bruce salutes Dublin". BBC. 28 April 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/1956714.stm. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "Birmingham steal win". BBC. 2 May 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/photo_galleries/football/1965354.stm. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  11. ^ "Leicester seal Dublin deal". BBC Sport. 12 June 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/l/leicester_city/3786743.stm. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  12. ^ Match report on Soccerbase
  13. ^ "Kilmarnock 1-4 Celtic". BBC. 9 April 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/4887360.stm. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Sheffield Wednesday vs Wigan Athletic. Wednesday - match programme. 2 August 2008. pp. 43. 
  15. ^ a b "Dublin reveals musical side". BBC News. 28 February 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/9409982.stm. 
  16. ^ "Ex-Manchester Utd footballer Dion Dublin launches new musical instrument". NME.com (IPC Media). 28 January 2010. http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/49469. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  17. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield and Football League play-offs

External links

Preceded by
Alan Shearer
Premier League top scorer
Shared with Michael Owen and Chris Sutton
Succeeded by
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Michael Owen
Dwight Yorke
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Leicester City Players' Player of the Season
Succeeded by
Joey Guðjónsson
Preceded by
Paul Williams
Coventry City Player of the Season
Succeeded by
Dion Dublin
Preceded by
Dion Dublin
Coventry City Player of the Season
Succeeded by
Richard Shaw
Preceded by
Darren Huckerby
Norwich City Player of the Season
Succeeded by
Lee Croft

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