John Dean 1872-1944
However, John Dean was more well known for his enthusiastic support of Fulham Football Club and was a benefactor and Director before the first World war and most of the inter war years.
A founder member of the Fulham Football Club Limited with 100 shares his association started in 1903 but he left in 1908 after an acrimonious argument with Henry (later Sir Henry) Norris. John Dean’s continued to support the clu8b with donations from his then thriving business and re-joined in 1920 as a Director and later took over as chairman following the resignation of James Watt.
In the 1927-28 season John Dean invested a five figure sum into the club as well as guaranteeing all outstanding loans when the team were relegated to the third division and a very difficult financial situation existed. Mr Dean also turned down numerous approaches from property developers for the Craven Cottage ground thus establishing for ever this internationally known footballing landmark.
Mr Dean was a tough businessman but he generously supported his staff and the players at the club. At a time when wages to football players were low and erratic he employed many of the team during the off season as blinds installers at his blinds factory in Putney.
Later, in 1933 John Dean personally financed the double signings of two star players, International (both in football and cricket) Johnny Arnold and Michael Keeping who helped the club move up into the higher leagues and reach the semi-finals of the FA cup in 1936.
John Dean cut a stylish figure with his elaborate waxed moustache which was said to to show his mood by the upward or downward swirl of the pointed tips.
After his sudden death in March 1944 John Dean’s sons Charles and Anthony, who continued to run the Deans Blinds Company, held Directorships with Fulham FC but they were not of the same charismatic mould of their father and later names such as Tommy Trinder and Jimmy Hill became better known as celebrity members of the club inner circle.
However it is clear that without the support, both financial and moral, of John Dean and his blind making enterprise the club would not be enjoying its Premier League status today.