||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
|Full name||Dalian Robert Atkinson|
|Date of birth||21 March 1968|
|Place of birth||Telford, Shropshire, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|1996||→ Metz (loan)||?||(?)|
|1996–1997||→ Manchester City (loan)||8||(2)|
|2001||Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors||4||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Dalian Robert Atkinson (born 21 March 1968) is an English former footballer who played as a striker in the Football League and Premier League for Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Manchester City, in La Liga for Real Sociedad, in Ligue 1 for Metz, in the Turkish Super League for Fenerbahçe, in Saudi Arabia for Al-Ittihad, and in the K-League for Daejeon Citizen and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
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 a BBC Match of the Day Goal of the Season competition 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 84th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town on the opening day of the season.
He is also fondly remembered by Aston Villa fans for his inspirational performance and crucial 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 first came to prominence at Ipswich Town as a teenager, impressing seasoned experts with his speed and daring which included an incredible 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 £1.7million.
He was the first black player in Real Sociedad's history. Nicknamed "el txipiron" (the squid) by Sociedad's fans, with Kevin Richardson and John Aldridge he made the English trio of the basque club during the 1990-91 season. Despite this, the year was not too good for the basques, although Atkinson made a good performance in this single season scoring 12 goals in La Liga. Nevertheless the club was not satisfied with the behaviour of Atkinson out of the football field. So, they decided to sell him after receiving an offer from Aston Villa that was close to the money the paid the year before for the English player.
After joining Aston Villa for £1.6million in July 1991, he became one half of another impressive partnership, the so-called D-Men (AKA Deadly Duo), alongside Dean Saunders, when Saunders arrived from Liverpool a year after Atkinson arrived there from Real Sociedad. The partnership was broken in 1995 when both players were sold to Turkish clubs - Saunders to Galatasaray and Atkinson to Fenerbahçe for £1.7 million.
However, despite an encouraging start, Atkinson failed to settle in Turkey and had loan spells with FC Metz and Manchester City before leaving in 1997 and winding down his career with spells in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, finally retiring as a player in 2001. His statistics in the K-League are below:
- Daejeon Citizen - K-League Regular Season 1 match, 0 goal / K-League Cup 3 matches, 1 goal
- Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors - K-League Regular Season 4 matches 0 goal
- "Player Details: Dalian Robert Atkinson". Turkish Football Federation. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- "Dalian Atkinson". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- "Real Sociedad - Liga BBVA Squad season 1990-1991". Liga de Futból Profesional. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
- Ridley, Ian (13 August 1995). "Club-by-club guide: The prospects, the players to watch, the arrivals and departures". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2010.