Bill Dearden

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Bill Dearden
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Dearden [1]
Date of birth (1944-02-11) 11 February 1944 (age 77)
Place of birth Oldham, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) [2]
Position(s) Striker
Senior career*
1963–1966 Oldham Athletic 35 (2)
1966–1968 Crewe Alexandra 48 (5)
1968–1970 Chester 85 (22)
1970–1976 Sheffield United 175 (61)
1976–1977 Chester 36 (7)
1977–1979 Chesterfield 27 (2)
Teams managed
1993 Mansfield Town (caretaker)
1999 Port Vale (caretaker)
1999–2002 Mansfield Town
2002–2004 Notts County
2006–2008 Mansfield Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

William Dearden (born 11 February 1944) is an English former footballer and manager who is now chief scout at Sheffield United. As a player, he scored 101 goals in 404 league games in a 16-year career in the English Football League.


A striker, he began his career with hometown club Oldham Athletic in 1963. Three years later he moved on to Crewe Alexandra, and helped the "Railwaymen" to win promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1967–68. He then moved on to Chester for a two-season spell. He was sold to Sheffield United for a £10,000 fee in August 1970, and helped the "Blades" to win promotion out of the Second Division in 1970–71. He returned to Chester City in 1976, before switching to Chesterfield the following year.

He coached at Chesterfield, Mansfield Town, and Port Vale, before he was appointed Mansfield manager in 1999. He built a talented young team, but left the club for the management position at Notts County in January 2002, months before promotion would be secured. He took County from relegation certainties to mid-table, despite troubles with administration, before he was sacked after a poor run left the "Magpies" in relegation danger in January 2004. He returned to Mansfield as manager in December 2006, but was sacked in March 2008, soon before the club were relegated out of the Football League.

Playing career

Oldham Athletic

Dearden was a striker described "as a fearless, hard running player, excellent in the air and with an eye for goal". [3] He began his career with hometown club Oldham Athletic, who finished ninth in the Third Division in 1963–64 under the stewardship of Les McDowall. The "Latics" then finished just one place and three points above the relegation zone in 1964–65, before avoiding relegation in 1965–66 by just one point under Gordon Hurst and Jimmy McIlroy. In his three seasons at Boundary Park, Dearden scored two goals in 34 league games.

Crewe Alexandra

He transferred to Crewe Alexandra, who went on to miss out on promotion out of the Fourth Division by just one place and four points in 1966–67. Ernie Tagg's "Railwaymen" managed to secure promotion in 1967–68, after pipping Bradford City to the fourth and final automatic promotion place. In his two seasons at Gresty Road, Dearden scored seven goals in 47 league games.


Dearden switched clubs to Chester, who were to finish 14th in the Fourth Division in 1968–69. Ken Roberts's "Seals" then rose slightly to 11th place in 1969–70. He scored 22 goals in 85 league games during his first spell on Sealand Road.

Sheffield United

His 15 goals in 1969–70 brought him to the attention of bigger clubs, and prompted Sheffield United to invest £10,000 in his transfer in August 1970. He proved to be an immediate success at Bramall Lane, as he scored 14 goals in 1970–71 to help John Harris's "Blades" to secure promotion out of the Second Division with a second-place finish, three points behind champions Leicester City. His strike partnership with Alan Woodward proved effective in the First Division, and Dearden finished as the club's top-scorer in 1971–72 with 16 goals as United posted a tenth-place finish. He was again top-scorer in 1972–73 with 20 goals. United went on to finish 13th in 1973–74 under the stewardship of Ken Furphy, before launching a title campaign in 1974–75 that ended with a sixth-place finish – they ended the campaign just four points behind champions Derby County. Knee injuries then began to affect his first team appearances, and United plummeted to relegation with a last place finish in 1975–76 under new boss Jimmy Sirrel. Dearden scored 72 goals in 211 league and cup appearances in his six years in Sheffield. [4]

Later career

Dearden returned to Chester, now managed by Alan Oakes, to score seven goals in 36 Third Division appearances in 1976–77. He then moved on to league rivals Chesterfield, who finished ninth in 1977–78 under the stewardship of Arthur Cox, before finishing one place and four points above the relegation zone in 1978–79. Dearden ended his career with two goals in 27 league games for the "Spireites".

Managerial career

After retiring as a player, Dearden was appointed assistant manager to Frank Barlow at Chesterfield in 1981. He stayed at Saltergate until 1983, at which point he became a first team coach at Mansfield Town. He left Field Mill in 1994 and went on to serve Port Vale as assistant manager to John Rudge. [5] He spent a few days as the "Valiants" caretaker-manager after Rudge was sacked in January 1999, but did not take charge of a first team game, and subsequently left Vale Park when Brian Horton was named manager.

Mansfield Town

Dearden returned to Mansfield Town later in 1999, and was appointed the club's new full-time manager following Steve Parkin's departure. During his three-year stay as Mansfield manager, he brought up several talented youngsters from the youth team, including Liam Lawrence, Bobby Hassell and Lee Williamson, and signed key players such as Chris Greenacre and Wayne Corden, guiding the "Stags" to the verge of promotion. However, he left the club midway through the 2001–02 promotion season to take control of local rivals Notts County. Stuart Watkiss took over from Dearden, and took Mansfield out of the Third Division at the end of the season.

Notts County

Dearden joined Notts County in January 2002, with the club on the brink of relegation and suffering serious financial problems. He was named as Second Division Manager of the Month in March following a 16-point haul. [6] He successfully guided the "Magpies" to safety in the Second Division thanks to a winning streak of eight wins in the club's final eleven games of 2001–02. [7]

The remainder of his tenure at Meadow Lane was dominated by the club's financial problems. He was unable to make a single permanent signing but comfortably kept County in the division during his first full season. He set a record for the longest period in administration as a manager in British football. [8] He left the club by mutual consent in January 2004, with the "Magpies" under new ownership. [9] At the time of his departure County were second bottom of the division after losing a crucial "six-point game" with Peterborough United. [10] His replacement, Gary Mills, failed to keep County out of the relegation zone by the end of the 2003–04 season. Dearden later held scouting jobs at Blackpool and Milton Keynes Dons. [11]

Return to Mansfield

Dearden returned to Mansfield Town as manager in December 2006. [12] He led the "Stags" to a 17th-place finish in League Two in 2006–07. He left the club by mutual consent in March 2008, with Mansfield two points adrift in the relegation zone. [13] The club ended the 2007–08 season in the relegation zone, as new boss Paul Holland was unable to save them.

In July 2008, Dearden returned to Simon Grayson's Blackpool as the club's chief scout. [11] In June 2011, he was appointed as chief scout at Sheffield United by new boss Danny Wilson. [3]


Playing statistics

Source: [14]

ClubSeasonDivisionLeagueFA CupOther [A] Total
Oldham Athletic 1964–65 Third Division 1100000110
1965–66 Third Division2224100263
1966–67 Third Division20001131
Crewe Alexandra 1966–67 Fourth Division 2252000245
1967–68 Fourth Division2601010280
Chester 1968–69 Fourth Division451132405213
1969–70 Fourth Division401153114615
Sheffield United 1970–71 Second Division 411410404614
1971–72 First Division 351610313917
1972–73 First Division372021834724
1973–74 First Division2021020232
1974–75 First Division34821634212
1975–76 First Division81000081
Chester 1975–76 Third Division20000020
1976–77 Third Division3475031428
Chesterfield 1977–78 Third Division2221021253
1978–79 Third Division50000050
Career total406992883511469138
A.  ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the League Cup, Football League Trophy, Football League play-offs and Full Members Cup.

Managerial statistics

Source: [14]

Mansfield Town (caretaker)6 September 19937 November 199313544038.46
Port Vale (caretaker)18 January 199922 January 19990000!
Mansfield Town18 June 19996 January 2002134492857036.57 [15]
Notts County 7 January 20027 January 2004103302746029.13 [15]
Mansfield Town28 December 20068 March 200864181333028.13 [15]


Crewe Alexandra

Sheffield United


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  1. "Bill Dearden". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  2. Rollin, Jack (1980). Rothmans football yearbook . London: Queen Anne Press. p.  134. ISBN   0362020175 . Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  3. 1 2 "Billy back to add to the old boy network". Sheffield Star. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  4. Denis Clarebrough and Andrew Kirkham (2008). Sheffield United Who's Who. Hallamshire Press. pp. 101–102. ISBN   978-1-874718-69-7.
  5. Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 82. ISBN   0-9529152-0-0.
  6. "Dearden Steals Away with Gong". LMA. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  7. "Dearden demands success". BBC Sport . 22 April 2002. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  8. "Barnwell Applauds Notts County Board". LMA. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  9. "Dearden exits Notts County". BBC Sport . 7 January 2004. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  10. "Dearden Leaves Notts County". LMA. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  11. 1 2 "Dearden back at Bloomfield Road". Blackpool Gazette. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  12. "Dearden named Mansfield manager". BBC Sport . 28 December 2006. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  13. "Stags part company with Dearden". BBC Sport . 8 March 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  14. 1 2 Bill Dearden at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  15. 1 2 3 Bill Dearden management career statistics at Soccerbase