Footage that emerged on social media on Monday evening displayed a red flare on the statue of Dean, which is used by Everton fans as a memorial with tributes and flowers at the base of the monument.
The club condemned the incident, which is understood to have occurred on Sunday the day before Everton’s 1-0 Premier League defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, and the statue was inspected and cleaned by club staff who confirmed that no permanent damage was sustained.
Everton will now assist authorities in attempting to identify who is responsible for the vandalism, handing over CCTV to police from the surrounding area.
A statement from the club said: “We encourage anyone with information relating to this disappointing and disrespectful incident to contact Merseyside Police.
“Following inspection – and cleaning of the memorial and the site – we can thankfully confirm no permanent damage has been done to the statue of our greatest-ever goalscorer – or the floral tributes laid at the foot of the statue.”
Dean is Everton’s leading goalscorer in the club’s history, netting 60 goals in the 1927/28 season alone as part of his record haul of 383 in total, and he was immortalised outside Goodison Park in 2001 when the statue was unveiled a year before his induction into the English Football Hall of Fame.
Dean, who passed away in March 1980, joined Everton from Tranmere Rovers in 1925 and spent 12 years on Merseyside with the Toffees before winding down his career at Notts County, Sligo Rovers and Hurst, and he scored 18 goals in just 16 appearances for the England national team.
The incident was condemned by Dean’s granddaughter Prentice, who said: “We are disappointed, saddened and quite frankly a little puzzled as to why somebody should choose to desecrate the statue of Grandad in such a manner.
“The perpetrators are clearly not aware of the warm, friendly and cordial relationship my grandad enjoyed with Liverpool legend Bill Shankly or that my grandad’s statue is a place where relatives lay flowers for those who have recently passed away.
“It is inappropriate and entirely unnecessary.”
The incident was also condemned by Liverpool Football Club chief executive Peter Moore, who urged anyone with information to pass it on to Merseyside Police.
“Not in our name … any information contact,” Moore’s wrote on Twitter, as well as a picture of Dean with Liverpool great Bill Shankly with the caption: “Our shared city, our shared heritage.”