|Dean started life as an apprentice at Watford in 1986, where he spent periods on loan at Carlisle, Port Vale and Swansea before moving to Brentford in 1989. From there Wimbledon paid £720,000 for his services in 1992 and he made 208 appearances in all competitions for the Dons during the following five years, scoring 76 goals.
Dean moved from Wimbledon to Bolton Wanderers in 1997 for a record setting £3.5 million and enjoyed six seasons there, totalling 186 appearances and 49 goals. After a brief spell at Coventry he helped Rushden and Diamonds to promotion in 2003 and then returned to Wimbledon, where he played 30 games in season 03/04. In his time he has played over 600 professional games and bagged 214 goals.
Looking for an ambitious non-league side, Dean retired from professional football and signed for the Hawks on June 14th 2004, rejoining old friend Ian Baird. Dean’s first season with the Hawks saw him voted Players’ Player and Supporters’ Player of the Year, having accrued 33 goals that went a long way to keeping the side alive through a dour winter. He also stepped up to the role of assistant manager in February, sparking the revival of the side from their lowest point.
Two matches into the 2005/06 campaign Dean was offered the position of assistant manager at Derby County, and decided to leave to focus on his managerial career, however he returned to the Hawks for the start of the 2006/07 season after a stint helping Weymouth to promotion. He then left again in January 2007 having failed to find his fitness.