Dalian Atkinson (cropped).jpg
Full name Dalian Robert Atkinson
Date of birth 21 March 1968
Place of birth Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England
Date of death 15 August 2016 (aged 48)
Place of death Telford, Shropshire, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Striker
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1989 Ipswich Town 60 (18)
1989–1990 Sheffield Wednesday 38 (10)
1990–1991 Real Sociedad 29 (12)
1991–1995 Aston Villa 85 (23)
1995–1997 Fenerbahçe 21 (10)
1996 → Metz (loan) 0 (0)
1996–1997 → Manchester City (loan) 8 (2)
1997–1999 Al-Ittihad ? (?)
2001 Daejeon Citizen 1 (0)
2001 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4 (0)
Total 246+ (75+)
1990 England B 1 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Dalian Robert Atkinson (21 March 1968 – 15 August 2016) was an English footballer who played as a striker.
During his club football career, he played in England for Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Manchester City. He also played for many teams abroad; in Spain for Real Sociedad, in France for Metz, in Turkey for Fenerbahçe, in Saudi Arabia for Al-Ittihad, and in South Korea for Daejeon Citizen and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
Atkinson died on 15 August 2016, after being tasered by West Mercia Police near his father's house in Telford.
1 Club career
1.1 Early career
1.2 Aston Villa
1.3 Later career
2 International career
Atkinson first came to prominence at Ipswich Town as a teenager, impressing seasoned experts with his speed and daring, which included a hat-trick against a Middlesbrough side containing Gary Pallister and future Ipswich captain Tony Mowbray at the heart of their defence, in the 1987–88 season.
In 1989, manager Ron Atkinson brought him to Sheffield Wednesday for £450,000 where he formed a fine front partnership with David Hirst for a single season. He was an ever-present in the league for Sheffield Wednesday in his only season there, scoring 10 goals but being unable to prevent them from being relegated. After relegation he was sold to Real Sociedad for £1.7 million.
He was the first black player in Real Sociedad's history. He was nicknamed El txipiron (The squid) by Sociedad fans during the 1990–91 season. His team did not have a good year, although Atkinson made a good contribution over the season, scoring 12 goals in La Liga.
Atkinson joined Aston Villa for £1.6 million in July 1991, and became one half of another impressive partnership alongside Dean Saunders, when Saunders arrived from Liverpool a year after Atkinson arrived there from Real Sociedad. The partnership was broken up in 1995 when both players were sold to Turkish clubs – Saunders to Galatasaray and Atkinson to Fenerbahçe for £1.7 million.
Atkinson is probably most often remembered for his magnificent solo goal against Wimbledon in a 3–2 away win on 3 October 1992, which won Match of the Day's Goal of the Season award for the 1992–93 season, the first season of the new FA Premier League, when Villa finished runners-up. Starting deep in the Aston Villa half of the pitch with a one-touch trap from a lofted ball that immediately took him away from a defending player, Atkinson then skipped past two more Wimbledon players and, pausing briefly as he reached the edge of the opposition penalty area, produced a delicately arced chip-shot that floated over the onrushing goalkeeper. He also had the distinction of scoring Villa's first Premier League goal, when he scored their late equaliser in a 1–1 draw at Ipswich Town on the opening day of the season.
He is also remembered by Aston Villa fans for his goal in the 1994 League Cup final win against Manchester United. He also scored twice in the semi finals against Tranmere Rovers (once in the first leg and once in the second).
Atkinson failed to settle in Turkey and had loan spells with Metz and Manchester City. He left the club in 1997 and ended his career with spells in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, finally retiring as a player in 2001.
Atkinson represented the England B side in a friendly 4–1 loss against Republic of Ireland B on 27 March 1990. Atkinson scored England's only goal in the game.
Police responded to a call as Atkinson threatened to kill his father, Ernest. Atkinson's older brother, Kenroy said "My brother had lost it. He was in a manic state and depressed – out of his mind and ranting. He had a tube in his shoulder for the dialysis and he had ripped it out and was covered in blood, he got Dad by the throat and said he was going to kill him. He told Dad he had already killed me, our brother Paul and sister Elaine and he had come for him." Atkinson died on 15 August 2016 after being tasered by police near his father's house in Telford. After being tasered, Atkinson went into cardiac arrest on the way to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 03:00. He was 48. The incident was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Former Ipswich Town teammate Chris Kiwomya said of Atkinson that he would "do anything for the people he cared about." Former Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson called the incident an "out-and-out tragedy" and noted that Dalian "had terrific ability".