Everton have confirmed they are “assisting Merseyside Police with their inquiries” after a red flare was ignited and left on the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park.
Footage of the incident was widely shared on social media and prompted outrage from Everton fans, with flowers and tributes to loved ones surrounding the bottom of the statue.
A statement from the Premier League 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.”
Robert Ross, the acting chief inspector for Merseyside Police, said: “I would urge anyone who knows who is responsible for putting a flare on the Dixie Dean statue, a focal point for so many people at times of celebration and grief, to contact us.”
Dean is Everton’s greatest-ever goalscorer, scoring 383 goals in total for the Toffees, including 60 goals in a single season in 1927-28. The statue has been in place outside the Goodison Park gates since 2001.