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Body of former professional footballer James Dean found after four-day search

FOOTBALL By Mirror | May 10th 2021
Former Halifax and Chorley striker James Dean [Courtesy]

The body of former Halifax and Chorley striker James Dean has been found after a lengthy search spanning four days, Lancashire Police have confirmed.

Dean, 35, went missing in the Oswaldtwistle area, which is just south-east of Blackburn, late on Wednesday night.

The local community banded together to search for the former forward and a body fitting his profile was found on Sunday afternoon.

A statement released by Lancashire Police reads: "Police searching for a missing man have sadly found a body.

"James Dean, 35, was last seen in the Orchard Drive area of Oswaldtwistle around midnight on Wednesday (May 5).

"Following extensive police enquiries a body was sadly found in the Moscow Mill Street area around 2.25pm today (Sunday, May 9).

"While the body has yet to be formally identified, it is believed to be Mr Dean. His family have been informed and our thoughts are with them at this time.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.

"We would like to thank everyone who assisted during the search for James."

Dean - who was born in Blackburn - began his football career with Lancashire side Great Harwood Town.

Short spells with Clitheroe and Nortwich Victoria followed before he joined bury in 2007.

Widely referred to as 'Deano', he was subsequently loaned out to Altrincham and Stalybridge Celtic before joining the latter on a permanent deal.

Stalybridge Celtic paid tribute to their former player on Twitter following the tragic news of his death, writing: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of former Celtic player James Dean. Rest in peace, James."

The 6'3" forward then played for Hyde United, Harrogate Town, Halifax Town and Fylde before joining Chorley in 2013.

One of the highlights of his career came at Victory Park when he helped the Magpies achieve promotion to the National League North in his first season.

He hit a total of 60 goals in 130 appearances for Chorley before a brief loan spell with Ashton United. Dean then played out his career with Warrington Town, Padiham, Trafford and Bamber Bridge.

Dean helped many clubs to promotion during his career and tributes continued to flood in from many non-league sides based in the north-west.

"Everyone at Clitheroe FC is devastated at the news of James Deans death," wrote another of his former clubs.

"We would like to extend our condolences to all the family and all his former teammates across football."

And Bamber Bridge wrote: "Following today’s tragic news, the thoughts of everyone at Bamber Bridge FC are with the family and friends of James Dean. RIP."

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of former Town player James Dean at this incredibly sad time," added Harrogate Town.

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