Passed Away 1985
Dave was born in 1923 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. He joined Petone in 1949 after a season with Railways, in which he had also played four games for New Zealand against Australia. He became captain of Petone from the inside right position, where his slightly built frame (1.7 m and 60 kgs), tricky footwork, and body swerve created difficulty for defences.
Re-emerging after World War II and with competition from a new club – Petone Technical Old Boys, Petone had struggled to field a top team, and withdrew from the senior championship for 1947 and 1948. But pro-active club administrators visited the immigrants’ hostel at Fort Dorset, and as a result signed on enough new players to create four senior teams. With this new talent, the club applied for entry to senior B, but the WFA placed them in the second division, one grade lower and effectively the third championship level. The team went on to record some substantial victories and, becoming known as the Settlers because of all the immigrants in its ranks, went on to win the 1949 Chatham Cup – the only time in New Zealand soccer history such a feat was achieved from a low division. The team’s performances drew huge crowds for local games and a huge 12000 plus were at the Basin Reserve final when Dave was presented the Chatham Cup by Governor-General, Sir Bernard Freyberg V.C. – such was the importance attaching to the Cup final in those days.
Many years later Dave, recalling the Settlers’ side, stated “There were no stars in the team. We were all of good, or near enough to it, ability. We did however have a lot of team spirit, and a hell of a lot of luck… Team spirit was our strength and that would be our only asset on today’s standards. We hadn’t the skills of today’s players or even the teamwork. On the other hand we didn’t have the ability to scream, yell and argue.”
Despite this modest appraisal, Dave and others in the team featured in articles in the Scottish newspapers and London’s Daily Mirror, such was the extent to which his team had captured the public interest and support.
In 1952, Dave was in the team that won the WFA 1st division and the Venus Shield, and in 1956 he was in the Hilton-Petone Cup winning side. In later playing days he took the right half position, and was still in the first team in 1959 at the age of 36. He continued to play into the 1960’s, helping out with lower division teams. Throughout his career, he was the example others pointed to of the best-dressed footballer: white shorts, white laces and spotless boots – all at a time when clubs only provided jerseys.
In 1951, Dave represented New Zealand against Victoria, and then in six games in Fiji and New Caledonia. He also played for Wellington for many years, often reported as the outstanding player and praised for his baffling footwork and well-judged tackling.
He served on the management committee from 1963 until 1968, being one of those instrumental in having the gymnasium built, and then for another year in 1972.
In 1970 his contribution to the club was acknowledged with election to life membership.
Dave passed away in 1985.