The former England international has enjoyed post-playing life as a pundit on Sky Sports and BBC 5live as well as a presenter BBC’s Homes Under The Hammer, but we seem to forget just how good he was in his heyday.
Because of his extra-sporting exploits, people do tend to forget just how good Dion Dublin was in his heyday.
The Premier League certainly was not shy of towering strikers throughout its first decade, which has included the likes of the legendary Eric Cantona to the gritty Duncan Ferguson, as fans were treated to a plethora of menacing frontmen with one name in particular being a cult favourite among many spectators.
Though there’s another man whose name doesn’t get mentioned anywhere near as much as it should!
That man was Dion Dublin who became one of the best aerial threats that the Premier League had ever witnessed during his time at the topflight and a striker who proved to have a distinctive eye for goal during some of the league’s most tenacious periods.
Dublin came through the ranks at Norwich City but raised to providence when he headed to Cambridge Town in the Fourth tier of the ever-expansive English footballing pyramid.
Dublin played over 150 games for the side, netting 52 times which caught the wandering gazes of the First Division, including a certain Sir Alex Ferguson.
He joined Manchester United ahead of the inaugural Premier League campaign where he would only play 12 games during his two-year spell in Manchester only racking up two goals.
However, it was his next resulting transfer that would soon turn Dion Dublin into a household name.
It would be Coventry City who would sign Dion Dublin for a then club-record fee of £2million in 1994, with the youngster quickly establishing himself as one of the league’s premier strikers during his spell with the Sky Blues.
While in the Midlands, Dublin equalled the club’s all-time highest tally for the most goals scored in a topflight division season during the 1996/97 campaign where he netted 23 times, most notably in some of the crucial final few games of the season that helped keep Coventry afloat in an immaculate survival bid.
Dublin was given a much-needed boost in attack with the Sky Blues signing Darren Huckerby, who in turn, elevated any pressure on Dion’s shoulders as Huckerby proved he was just as a capable scorer as his strike partner.
With Huckerby scoring 14 goals in the league and Dublin leading the league in scoring with 18 goals, Coventry shot up the league and ended the season in a respectful 11th place which is the highest they have ever finished in their tenure as a Premier League side – which also included a final day header from Dublin that levelled the scoring at Goodison Park, almost sending Everton down!
Following his success at Coventry, Dion Dublin deservedly earned his first cap with the English National team and as such had almost every team in the league gaping for his signature.
After a wild summer window of speculation, Dublin chose Aston Villa as his preferred option and could almost have been sighted as a prelude for the future arrival of Christian Benteke with his similar no nonsense style of play.
Dublin continued his outlandish scoring at Villa Park but would ultimately be plagued by injuries during this twilight period of his illustrious career.
Even with a number of career-threatening injuries, the towering striker still proved to be a mainstay at Villa Park and even helped lead the club to a first FA Cup final in over 40 years.
Despite recovering from the nagging injuries, Villa almost seemed unkeen on cementing Dublin as their first team option at striker and after a brief loan move with Millwall in the Championship, he was eventually shipped off to Leicester City and later Celtic where he enjoyed great domestic success – which was shortly after Hendrik Larsson’s departure from Scotland.
He would finish his career back where it began at Norwich City before following in his footballing peer’s footsteps and becoming a mainstream pundit/personality, something he has thrived in on almost every aspect.
Dion Dublin is the definition of a player who proved he is a great talent both on and off the pitch and perhaps has not earned the plaudits that he is truly worthy of.
He only made four caps for England during his peak years and at the time he was arguably the best striker in the Premier League, which certainly wasn’t shy of talent during the late 90s.
Whether you believe that Dublin should have tried his hand at a genuine title contender during his prime years, there’s absolutely no denying that the colossal number nine has carved his name in Coventry and Villa folklore as well as being one of the most dominant strikers the league has ever seen.