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Dixie McNeil

Personal information
Full nameRichard McNeil
Date of birthJanuary 16, 1947(age 70)
Place of birthMelton Mowbray, England
Playing positionStriker

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Dixie McNeil (born 16 January 1947 in Melton Mowbray) is a former English footballer and manager, who played as a striker.

As a schoolboy, McNeil signed for his local club Leicester City F.C. after playing for local club Holwell Works. However he did not fit into the First Division side's plans and was released. He made his football league debut for Exeter City F.C. in the 1966-67 season against Wrexham, a club he would later play for and manage. Despite scoring in one third of the matches he played, he was released at the end of the season, dropping down into the Southern League with Corby Town, a club closer to home. However the club was relegated in Dixie's first season despite his goals, and the following season he caught the attention of Northampton Town who paid £5,000 for him in May 1969.

He spent two and a half seasons at the County Ground, scoring a goal in the famous FA Cup match against Manchester United, where George Best scored six times. He then joined fellow Fourth Division side Lincoln City F.C. where he really began to demonstrate his goalscoring abilities. Indeed he would be top scorer at a club for the next five seasons; twice at Lincoln and three times at Hereford United the club for whom he became something of a legend after signing for a £15,000 fee. He helped them achieve promotion to the Second Division, then the second tier of English football, in 1975-76. He was also the top goalscorer of the top four divisions of English football for that season. Hereford were to finish bottom of the Second Division despite Dixie scoring nearly a goal every other game.

In 1977, McNeil moved to Wrexham for £60,000 and again featured in major cup ties scoring the equaliser at The Racecourse Ground to take Blyth Spartans to a replay at St James' Park where he scored the winning goal. He retired from professional football in 1983 but played on in the Welsh National League with Chirk AAA, and also made an appearance in the FA Cup in 1985, at the age of 38. He became Wrexham manager in 1985 and in his first season he managed the club to the Welsh Cup and progression into the European Cup Winners' Cup.

After a spell as assistant manager at Coventry City F.C., McNeil became a Sales Rep with Marston's Brewery, as well as reporting on Wrexham's games for local radio. In November 1993 he returned to football management as manager of then League of Wales side Flint Town United, and he immediately turned around the fortunes of the Cae-Y-Castell side, leading them from near relegation certainties to finish the season in a very respectable fourth position. He was awarded a testimonial by Wrexham, against Kevin Keegan's Premier League side, Newcastle United in 1995.

Having settled in the Wrexham area, he returned to management on 9 January 2000 as manager of struggling League of Wales side Caernarfon Town. His first win with Caernarvon was to beat Swansea City in the Welsh Premier Cup quarter-finals!! He later became manager of fellow League of Wales side, Cefn Druids.

Dixie's two sons, Richard and Jamie, have both been on the Racecourse club's books as apprentices, and still play in local football, whilst Dixie today is now a regular pundit with BBC Radio Wales, whilst also working for Air Ambulance Wales in fund-raising.

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