The film will shed a light on William Ralph “Dixie” Dean’s struggles with mental health problems, which arose in his retirement, and the important role played by his family in the healing process. 

Dean’s daughter Barbara, who helped him to cope with the illness, is fully behind the biopic, and will work as a consultant.  

She said: “There was no help for me as there was such a stigma back then, but I hope this film can help others. 

“My father was a hero but I’ve kept his secret for a long time.  

“It was something my mother, Ethel, and I kept close to our hearts.” 

Sara Jandrain (The Prom) and Orian Williams (Control) are producing the film. 

Sir Paul McCartney’s son-in-law Simon Aboud (This Beautiful Fantastic), who was born around the corner from Dixie Dean in Birkenhead, will direct. 

Barbara’s telling of her father’s struggles has been pivotal in the making of the film.  

Producer Jandrain said: “Barbara’s bravery in coming forward to tell her courageous, emotive and important story is incredibly moving. 

“She opens our eyes to the heroics of not only her dad but of her and her mum when they found a way to survive. 

“This is very much a story about women and men equally.”

Producer Orian Williams added: “Barbara is opening the door a little bit to say: ‘Look inside. 

“Look what was really going on.’ 

“It’s going to touch a lot of people.”

Barbara and her mother Ethel’s efforts have been praised by co-producer Alan Graves as well. 

He said: “This is a regional film that has an international story, a real heart to it. 

“It is a celebration of matriarchs who will do whatever has to be done to keep the family together.” 

The film will also celebrate the successful career of the centre-forward, who became one of football’s first superstars in the 1920s, raising the spirits of a starving nation during the Great Depression. 

In the 1928 season, he scored 60 goals, setting a record that still stands, only one year after suffering major injuries in a motorcycle accident. 

Dean also defied the Nazis while on tour with his team in Germany. 

A statue of Dean stands outside Everton’s Goodison Park stadium, celebrating one of the team’s most iconic players.   

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