Legends - Dave Halliday

Dave Halliday from Dumfries was a stunningly prolific goalscorer. From starting his career at Queen of the South, Halliday went on to score 365 goals in 488 competitive games for senior clubs. He scored for two then non-league clubs including three goals in the FA Cup proper giving him a senior goals tally of 368 strikes. He is the 10th highest league goalscorer in UK football history (rankings as at 2010 unless otherwise stated). He has 211 strikes placing him 19th among a select group of 26 players to have scored over 200 goals in England’s top division. In the IFFHS list of the world’s highest top division goalscorers published in 2008, Halliday was 54th. His 38 Dundee goals in 1923-24 made him top scorer in Scotland’s top tier that season. His 43 Sunderland goals in 1928–29 gave him the same distinction in England’s top flight that season. This makes him the most recent of only two players to have been outright top scorer in the top divisions in both Scotland and England. He is the fastest player to 100 top flight goals in England taking 101 games. He is the only player to score at least 30 top division goals in England for four consecutive seasons (he actually scored at least 35 league goals in each of those seasons).

Halliday was the first manager to guide Aberdeen to a senior trophy when winning the 1947 Scottish FA Cup. In 1955 he was the first manager to steer Aberdeen to be champions of Scotland, a feat since only matched by Alex Ferguson. Halliday also won with Aberdeen the 1946 forerunner of what was officially launched the season after as the Scottish League Cup. He managed Leicester City to a divisional title for promotion to England’s top tier in 1957.



Early years and Queen of the South 

Dave Halliday was born in Dumfries on December 11th, 1901 and started in local schools football where he featured on the left wing. He lived at 61 Lockerbie Road attending Noblehill Primary then Dumfries Academy. Halliday then trained as a motor mechanic with car manufacturer Arrol-Johnston and played for the works team, one of three clubs who merged to form Queen of the South in 1919. However despite having played in the trial matches arranged in the formation of the new club Halliday did not join Queens until 17 January 1920. Between playing for Arrol-Johnston and Queens, Halliday had a brief spell with Tayleurians.

After joining a month after his 18th birthday he played 19 games for Queens until the end of the season in May 1920. Press reports subsequently describe his play with words such as graceful, elegant, clever, skilful and wonderful ball control.

With this being Queens first season after formation, the club’s fixtures comprised of challenge games and local cup competitions. This included the Dumfries Charity Cup played over three weekends in May. On May 8th Queens thrashed Dumfries F.C. 7-1. A week later Queens saw off Solway Star 4-0 in the semi-final before facing Dalbeattie Star in the final.

A then record crowd of 4500 (many watching from roofs and other points of elevation) watched the game. An early Halliday shot went wide following good lead up work involving Ian Dickson (Dickson also left Queens to score goals in England’s top flight). However it was Dalbeattie and their physical style of play who took the lead. Queens equalised through Willie McCall (later of Blackburn Rovers) before Halliday’s efforts bore fruit. One Halliday shot hit the post, another went inches wide before he put Queens ahead five minutes before half time. Connell hit Queens’ third a minute into the second half before Halliday beat Borthwick to cross for McCall's second to bring up a 4-1 final score.

Dave Halliday scored 13 goals in his 19 games at outside left for the Doonhamers in 1920. Early Queens teams were a remarkable production line of talent. In the first three seasons alone Queens had six players to subsequently play in England's top flight (McCall was the only one of those six not to make at least 100 appearances in England's highest division). There was many a scout at Queens games with Halliday one of the players they picked out. Despite moving away to further his career his spouse was from Dumfriesshire, Mary Black from Lockerbie.

Later in 1924 Halliday’s younger brother Billy (born Dumfries, 14 November 1906) joined Queen of the South. As well as being a naturally gifted inside left, Billy was strong, fearless and committed. Another of the Halliday brothers, John, also had a short spell on the QoS playing staff.

St Mirren

Halliday was offered terms by St Mirren after the cup final win over Dalbeattie. A thoughtful man, he asked for time to think the matter over before the Thursday after he agreed to sign on one condition - that he would be allowed to retain his employment with Arrol-Johnston and travel to Paisley on match days. Dave Halliday spent 1920/21 at St Mirren where he scored twice in 13 league games as a part-time member of the playing staff. 


Aged 19, in 1921 Halliday signed for Dundee. Alec Troup played on the left wing there and had already collected three of his five full Scotland international caps. Halliday was moved to centre forward. And so, at that moment, a goalscoring phenomenon was unleashed. Finding goalscoring as natural as breathing, Dave Halliday became one of the most prolific centre forwards in the history of football worldwide.

Halliday, Troup and the other Dens men had a productive time together finishing fourth in the top flight in their first season as team mates. The season after Dundee signed another distinguished forward for them. David McLean at this point was the only player to have been outright top scorer in the top flight in both England and Scotland (more on that later when Halliday emulates that achievement). Dundee finished three league places lower than the season before in a still creditable seventh. In the Scottish Cup Third Lanark required two replays to deny them a semi-final place.

The season after could have been difficult with Troup departed to start his lauded six seasons at Everton. However, Halliday finished as Scottish top scorer in 1923-24 with 38 goals from 36 appearances - an excellent return in the era of the 3 man off side rule. Dundee improved on the season's before league position by finishing fifth. By now a debate was taking place in Scottish football as to who should succeed Andy Wilson as the Scotland centre forward; Dave Halliday or Hughie Gallacher? Gallacher was the first of the two to be given the opportunity, an opportunity he took with both feet.

The highlight of Halliday's 1924-25 and last season at Dundee was their Scottish Cup run (they finished eighth in the league, their lowest in Halliday's four seasons at Dens). In the third round they were given the formidable task of taking on the holders. Airdrie were an excellent side at this time, part way through finishing runners-up four seasons in a row in the league to one half or other of the Old Firm. Hughie Gallacher was their star man during this period with team mate Bob McPhail another of Scotland's best ever strikers. Airdrie's home form was immense. At this point they were part way through a run of over three years being unbeaten at home. The cup tie against Dundee though was drawn to be played at Dens Park. Halliday scored Dundee’s third in their 3-1 victory where the press also praised his distribution. Halliday was top scorer for Dundee in the run to the final with five goals.

In the final McLean's goal had Dundee one up at half time v Celtic. Patsy Gallacher equalised. With extra time approacing, Jimmy McGrory headed a last minute winner for Celtic. This would not be the last time Halliday endured last minute heartache from cup football.

Halliday was capped for the Scottish League on 15 March 1924 with an attendance of 63 050 at Ibrox Park. Future Wembley Wizard, Alan Morton, equalised for the Scots against the English League in a 1-1 draw.

In total Halliday scored 90 goals in just 126 league appearances for Dundee and 13 goals in 21 Scottish Cup games for them. His goalscoring exploits attracted attention from elsewhere yet again. In 1925, to the delight of goalkeepers throughout Scotland, Halliday was on his way South. 


In 1925, English top division side Sunderland paid £4,000 for 23 year old Halliday´s services, replacing Charlie Buchan in the team. Buchan for his part described Halliday as, "A grand chap". With a direct, facing the goal style, Halliday’s goal stats at Sunderland make unbelievable reading.

The reference point for statistics on Sunderland AFC is www.thestatcat.co.uk. The Stat Cat tells us Halliday announced himself on Wearside in immaculate style - two doubles then two hat tricks in his first four Sunderland games. In his time there Halliday scored four goals in one game on three occasions (all in the league, against Manchester United, Portsmouth and Sheffield United). He also hit 12 hat tricks - the most three goal strikes by any Sunderland player in history (11 in the league and one in the FA Cup). Seeming to victimise certain teams, one of the hat tricks was also against Sheff Utd as were two against Man Utd. Two hat tricks were against West Brom. Man Utd felt Halliday’s venom more than any other team when he played for Sunderland (14 goals from 10 games). Against Liverpool, not once did he fail to score - Halliday has a tally of 12 goals from eight games against them while with Sunderland. In eight games against Bolton he scored eleven times. West Brom played four games against Halliday at Sunderland and conceded eight goals because of his finishing. The list goes on and on and on....



Of 27 clubs who Halliday played against for Sunderland, only five were able to contain him to a 50% goals per game strike rate or less. Halliday played against two teams that he failed to score against at least once. Notts County were one (two games). The other was Cardiff City (a very decent top division side at the time, and the club of another Queens legend, George McLachlan). Remarkably in view of Halliday’s prowess of raining goals at the time, he failed to score against them in six games. Despite not scoring himself, Halliday enjoyed 3 wins and a draw from the six games.


(Halliday playing against Newcastle)


No other player at Sunderland has given the club’s score keeper a greater feeling of job security than Dave Halliday. Halliday hit his first 100 league goals for Sunderland in just 101 games. This makes him the fastest player to 100 top division goals in English football history. Halliday´s 43 goals in 1928-29 saw him succeed Bill ’Dixie’ Dean as top scorer in England’s top division for the season. This is Sunderland’s highest number of league goals scored by one player in a season in the club’s history. He is the only player to have scored at least 30 top division goals in England on four consecutive seasons. In actual fact he scored at least 35 league goals in each of those seasons. No other Sunderland player has matched his 35 league goals of 1927/28. In other words his lowest league goals tally from his four full seasons on Wearside is better than anyone else at Sunderland managed in their best season there. He has the best strike rate (goals to games ratio), of any Sunderland striker in the club’s history - 165 goals in 175 competitive games. Only one of his goals was from the penalty spot. This is an average of 0.943 goals per game. Only Buchan and all-time Sunderland top scorer Bobby Gurney have scored more goals for the club than Halliday. However neither get anywhere near Halliday´s eye popping strike rate (both Buchan and Gurney have a strike rate at Sunderland of below 0.6 goals per game).

Despite Halliday’s goals, trophies proved elusive. Sunderland's best league finishes were third place (twice) and fourth place (once) in Halliday’s four full league seasons on Wearside. His best run there in the FA Cup was in his 1925-26 first season at Roker. They went out 2-1 in an away replay in the last 16 to a team Halliday usually terrorised, Manchester United. The game at Roker had been drawn 3-3.

Intriguingly Halliday's 165 goals were all scored in his first 168 games. After averaging over 0.98 goals for 168 games he failed to score once in his last seven Sunderland appearances. Bear in mind Halliday gave a very considered response when asked to sign for St Mirren. Halliday was idolised on Wearside and being fairly close to the Scottish border had the bonus of being relatively easy for keeping in touch with relatives in Dumfries. Halliday was settled at Sunderland and had to be persuaded to move on when a big money offer was made for him. Why Sunderland were prepared to let him go is uncertain. A director of Sunderland was reported in the Sunderland Echo as saying, “There are things which it is impossible to discuss beyond saying that the directors hands were forced.” Some commentators have interpreted this as a financial problem that could be mitigated by the sale of their prize playing asset. Even the fee paid for Halliday could be indicative of an urgent need for cash. In the June before Halliday joined Arsenal, the Gunners paid £8 750 for Alex James. There is no dispute James was a wonderful footballer who fully proved his worth at Highbury. That £8 750 for James, up until then an attacking midfielder, makes £6 500 for a goal per game striker named Dave Halliday seem a bargain obtained from a seller in urgent need of fast cash.

While at Sunderland in November 1927 Dave’s brother Billy joined nearby rivals Newcastle United. The same season at Sunderland saw the debut of Adam Allan to witness Halliday’s potency first hand. Allan played 65 games for Sunderland in league and cup. The centre half later joined Queens to be a cornerstone of the team that finished fourth in Scotland’s top division in 1933/34.



Herbert Chapman managed Huddersfield Town to an FA Cup and then two league titles before being tempted to Arsenal in 1925. He re-structured Arsenal but in the first four seasons earned no silverware. He'd had near misses being runners-up in the league in his first season to ex-club Huddersfield, and to Hughie Ferguson and George McLachlan's Cardiff in the season after's FA Cup.

In June 1929 he signed Alex James to be the crucial signature to bring Arsenal their first trophies. In what was to be a move of strategic genius, James was asked to play deeper than his previous inside forward role at Preston and Raith. Chapman wanted James' combined footballing skill and intelligence to be the lynch pin to quickly turn defence into lethal attack.

James and Arsenal started that 1929/30 season well with five wins from six league games. Then came a slump to midtable with only four points from the next seven games (two for a win). Chapman signed 27 year old Halliday for £6 500 to compete with Jack Lambert for the number 9 jersey. Chapman had a huge impression of Halliday and dedicated a small chapter to him in his book on football. Halliday debuted in a 3-2 win away to Birmingham City on 9 November 1929. The player to somewhat unluckily lose his place was Lambert who had scored six times from his six league games so far that season (easily better striking than his total of five from his previous 38 league games over the previous three seasons).

Halliday and co. hit some bad luck the week after. Arsenal were winning 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough when the ref abandoned the game due to the weather after 55 minutes. Halliday scored his first Arsenal goal in the next game to earn a 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers. From there Arsenal slumped again.

The next game was the rescheduled Middlesbrough match that had been abandoned at Highbury. This time the Gunners lost 2-1. This was the first of seven defeats in nine games. Halliday's goal at Sheffield United on 16 December was little consolation in a 4-1 defeat.

Chapman had been given big money to spend by an Arsenal then known as the Bank of England club. Joe Hulme, David Jack, Halliday, James and Charlie Jones was the most expensive front five in English football having cost £34 000. Critics were happy to throw the price tag around and the player most criticised was Alex James. His detractors accused him of holding on to the ball too long meaning by the time he passed to a forward, defenders had their men easily covered. James for his part was complaining of rheumatic twinges in his ankles.

With things though clearly not working, Chapman began on Boxing Day experimenting to find the right combination of forwards. The youthful Cliff Bastin was tried at left wing and promptly became Chapman's preferred pick for that role. Arsenal though still lost 2-1 at home to Portsmouth. From the game after away to Leeds United, James began a spell out of the team. The 2-0 defeat on 28 December at Elland Road was the last of Halliday's run of 11 straight games at centre forward. One gane though was the abandoned match v Boro so doesn't count. He had two goals to show for his 10 games.

The league title was now out of the question for 29/30. Chapman now regarded that season's FA Cup as his target for the trophy breakthrough he wanted at Arsenal just as it had been at Huddersfield. For the 11 January cup tie against David Calderhead's Chelsea, Chapman recalled Lambert at number nine (David Jack had played there for the first game without Halliday). Chapman was rewarded with a 2-0 home win thanks to Lambert and Bastin scoring.

The week after Halliday was recalled for a single game at inside left. They drew two each at Burnley. The following Monday ahead of the 25 January FA Cup visit to Birmingham City, James was still out the team and sent home by Chapman for complete rest. Arsenal blew a 2-0 lead that Saturday at St Andrews to draw 2-2. On the Sunday morning there was a knock on James' door.

"Get up Alex, you're coming to Highbury to train," said Chapman striding into James' bedroom. Chapman was confident such a dramatic call to arms for James would appeal to the player's instincts and help restore the Scot's self-confidence. On the way to the match, James was reported as uncharacteristically quiet. Arsenal won 1-0 from when things started coming together for Arsenal. Only an Alf Baker penalty separated the teams on the scoresheet. James though was back and showing he was right for the deep lying role asked of him.

Alex James had superb anticipation of where the ball would land when opposing attacks broke down. He wasn't a speed king but good acceleration made him quick over the vital first 10 yeards in many a chase to a loose ball. If closed down he had abundant skill to sufficiently unbalance and shake loose his marker. His passing was impeccable, long or short, to speedily release four charging counterattackers. With James now finding his way in Chapman's master plan, the Arsenal juggernaut started to gain momentum. Lambert then found inspiration from a February hat-trick in a 4-0 home league defeat of Everton. He never looked back, ending the season Arsenal's top scorer with 23 goals from 28 league and FA Cup games.

Halliday only further appeared on the Arsenal first team sheet four times. He scored in the 4-1 defeat at Derby County in February and the opener in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle United in early April. Halliday is unlikely to have conceived at the time the ironic significance this game would have on himself and others (more on that later). The last of those four games was at Leicester City on Easter Monday, 21 April 1930. Leicester finished runners-up in the league that season and had plenty of fire power. The game finished 6-6, the highest scoring draw in the history of senior English football (since matched by Charlton and Middlesbrough in October 1960). Halliday starred with a scoring master class of four goals from a variety of difficult angles. Bastin scored a double as did Hugh Adcock and Arthur Lochhead of Leicester. Ernie Hine and Len Barry completed the Leicester scoring.

Halliday had six strikes from his four most recent appearances in the first team. Five days later Arsenal played Chapman's ex-club, Huddersfield Town, in the FA Cup final. In honour of Chapman the teams for the first time in a cup final walked on to the pitch side by side. Despite Halliday's four goal haul at Leicester he was not among those to cross the Wembley touch-line.

Chapman settled on Hulme, Jack, Lambert, James and Bastin for Wembley. On the coach to pre-match lunch James said, "If I get a free kick in their half, Cliff, I'll slip you a quick pass. Let me have it back straight away and I'll have a crack at goal." After 17 minutes James was fouled midway inside the Huddersfield half. He sprang to his feet and looking at the ref for the OK to take the free kick quickly, side footed a pass to the left wing without straightening himself. Bastin gathered the ball, drew his marker and then returned the ball to James. James took the return in his stride to score. Lambert's selection was vindicated with seven minutes left. He shouldered past his marker to score from chasing a long through ball by James.

The 2-0 victory marked the beginning of Arsenal's 1930s domination of English football. Just as Lambert had been before, Halliday could now consider himself unluckly. As touched on previously, the four strikes at Leicester gave him six goals from his four most recent first team games. Yet his four goal game was his last appearance for The Gunners' first team. In the reserves he tallied 39 strikes from 29 appearances.

Chapman's front five though from the cup final of Hulme, Jack, Lambert, James and Bastin blended near unstoppably from game one the season after. Lambert top scored with a superb 38 goals from 34 league games. Lambert had neither the footballing craftmanship nor skill of Halliday but others in Chapman's attack offered such finesse. Lambert's big heart and broad shoulders provided dash and punch to thrive along with the others in that attack. Arsenal scored 127 times in 42 league games easily winning the league by seven points. Halliday moved on in the November to obtain first team football.

Chapman's win at Arsenal's was the first time a Southern team were champions of England. The season after his team was impacted by injuries to Lambert and James when they finished second in the league (to Everton) and controversially in the FA Cup final (to the Newcastle team of Jack Allen and Tommy Lang). If they had won that 1931/32 league title and all else stayed the same, they would been league champions for five straight seasons. Alex James orchestrated four league titles and two FA Cups wins at Arsenal in the first seven seasons of the 1930s. They won another league title in 1937-38 after James retired with Ted Drake top scoring. This is all testament to the vision, enterprise and leadership of Herbert Chapman. Even after Chapman's death from pneumonia in January 1934, such were the methods, structure and organisation he had in place at Arsenal they remained England's team to beat for a further four seasons.

Halliday stayed only 12 months at Arsenal scoring for him a relatively modest eight goals 8 from 15 games. Arsenal though was to have a profound effect on him for later in his career with Chapman's effect not lost in him. In a 1955 press article Halliday said Herbert Chapman was his greatest influence in football.

Manchester City

Dave Halliday signed for Peter Hodge and Manchester City for £5 700 in November 1930. City were 15th in the table when he joined. Tommy Tait played his last game for City the week previous to Halliday taking over at centre forward. Halliday's first Man City game was on 22 November 1931 in the 3-1 defeat of Bolton Wanderers at Maine Road. Like at Sunderland he marked his debut with a double. Dave Halliday was back and back on the goals trail.

Two weeks later he scored another opener against Newcastle this time at home in a 2-0 win. His first game against his storming ex-Arsenal team mates was on Christmas Day. Arsenal won 4-1 at Highbury with provider James the only one of Chapman's famed five forwards not to score. They played the return game at Maine Road the next day, this time 3-1 to Arsenal. On January 3rd Halliday scored another two goals at Filbert Street. This time though his team were outgunned as Leicester won 3-2. He hit another double on January's last day beating Derby 4-2 at home. The Saturday after he score the third in the 3-1 win at Old Trafford in the Manchester derby. Two weeks later he scored both goals sending Sheff Wed back across the pennines without reply. In his first season at Man City he scored 14 goals from the 24 league games he played. City had moved up the league to eighth place since he joined. His name was Halliday, his currency was goals.

The season after (1931/32) he was available for City in full. One Manchester City archive described City as only really clicking when Halliday was in the team. City's season was lit up by the excitement of their best FA Cup run for six seasons easily outshining the league campaign.

Halliday scored his first City hat trick when Derby were sent home on the end of a 3-0 defeat in September. Huddersfield endured a similar result on October's last day when Halliday notched two. He scored two more two weeks later when Grimsby lost 4-1. Two weeks later he repeated the feat in a 3-3 draw v Villa for a third consecutive home double. In January he reminded the Roker Park support of what they had missed. He scored a hat trick against Sunderland in just ten minutes in an entertaining 5-2 win. Halliday hit yet another league double in Manchester when Blackpool were thrashed 7-1 in February's first game. Halliday then hit yet another hat-trick this time winning 5-1 at Birmingham in late March.

City started their FA Cup run on 9 January when they beat Millwall 3-2 in London. Halliday was forefront with two goals. He then scored once in each of the fourth and sixth rounds; Brentford were thrashed 6-1 at Maine Road (Fred Tilson shone with three), and Bury beaten 4-3 at a pulsating Gigg Lane. In between in the fifth round, City won 3-0 at home v Derby. The next round was City's defining game of the season.

In that 1932 FA Cup semi final at Villa Park, Halliday had shades of the 1925 cup final defeat playing for Dundee. He and his team mates played his ex-club, Arsenal, who lined up with their fabled five forwards on the team sheet. The Arsenal defence had a tough day but stood firm under long periods of pressure with City's Eric Brook, Matt Busby and Sam Cowan having fine games. City launched seven men in a last minute attack that broke down with possession coming to Bastin. With only Lambert in support against three defenders, Bastin surged into a gap on the right wing. Chapman had already made arrangements in the stand for the replay to be the following Wednesday again at Villa Park. Bastin overhit his pass up the wing to Lambert but hopefully continued to run in support. The full back, Bill Dale, seemed to be settling on a draw and was content to let the ball run out of play. Lambert though at his battling best fought past him and falling to the ground, hooked the ball into the penalty area. Bastin in space struck a low, hard drive for the game's only goal. Almost immediately the referee blew for full time. Halliday thus again went out to a last minute goal. This was the season Chapman's Arsenal finished second in league and cup.

Halliday top scored that season for City in both league (28 from 40 games) and cup (four from five FA Cup matches). His combined tally of 32 strikes was double Tilson's 16 in second place. They wrapped the season up with some goals against exotic opposition. On a three game tour in France, Halliday scored two against each of Racing Club de France (winning 4-3) and Les Diables Rouge (The Red Devils, winning 5-1).

Hodge left at the end of that season to take over at Leicester. Club Secretary, Wilf Wild, took on the Manager’s role for the new season as well as keeping up his adminstrative role within the club. The season had similarities to the previous campaign with an exhilarating FA Cup run the undoubted highlight.

City got off to an unfortunate league start. In the opener at Sunderland they lost the talismanic Fred Tilson at half time with a jaw injury (he also missed the next two games). The ten men battled on but lost 3-2. Halliday played eight of the first 11 games scoring three times including two in a 5-1 defeat of Blackpool. City though were bottom of the table with two wins and nine defeats so far. Wild tried three others at centre forward before in late November he moved Tilson to number nine from inside forward. The elusive, swerving Tilson immediately obliged with four goals at home to Villa. He became Wild's preferred pick in that role for the rest of the season. He top scored for City that season with 23 league and cup strikes. Tilson though had numerous injury issues in his career and was unavailable for the last eight games of the season. Rather than recall Halliday, Wild moved across another inside forward, Alec Herd (father of David mentioned later in this article). Herd did a decent job with four goals in six league games. City went one better than the year before to reach the 1933 FA Cup final. However, City without Tilson at Wembley drew a blank losing 3-0 to a Bill 'Dixie' Dean inspired the Everton.

1933-34 was an improvement for City by any realistic measure for the club. They finished fifth in the league. Halliday remained out the first team for the first six games before being given his last hurrah of playing top flight football. Tilson was on another spell out the first team. Halliday scored twice in four games with his last top tier goal coming in the 2-2 at Newcastle in October. His last game at that level was the Saturday after in a 1-0 defeat at home to Leeds.

Tilson eventually returned to the team and helped inspire City to a second successive FA Cup final. 19 year old City goalkeeper, Frank Swift, later recalled of Sep Rutherford's 27th shot. " I dived and the ball slithered through into the net off my fingers. I was desolate." Swift blamed himself for copying the decision of the more experienced Jock Gilfillan in the opposite goal not to wear gloves in the wet conditions. Then came Tilson's literally finest hour. Normally known as a quiet thinker, the Yorkshireman at half-time said to the disconsolate Swift, “Tha doesn’t need to worry. I’ll plonk two in the next half.” With 16 minutes remaining Portsmouth had Jimmy Allen temporarily receiving injury treatment off-field. Tilson capitalised to score an equaliser. Tilson then done the business again with two minutes remaining to fulfil his half-time promise. It was too much for Swift who fainted at the final whistle. The captain, Sam Cowan, accompanied him to the steps for the medal presentation concerned Swift may keel over again. Future FIFA President, Stanley Rous, was in his penultimate game as a referee.

Halliday had no part in the club's cup celebration. After three years at Man City he had moved in mid-season again to pursue first team football. His senior goals tally at City was 47 from 76 league games plus four goals in six FA Cup games.

Clapton Orient

Thanks to Neil Kaufman, Honourary Historian at Leyton Orient for the following info and above photo of Clapton Orient as the East London club were than called.

"One of the great strikers to appear for Clapton Orient. The 5ft 11ins and 12st player joined Orient on 29th December 1933 and was one of the best Christmas presents the fans could ever have, having signed for a then club record fee of £1 500 by Scottish born manager David Pratt."
"Many soccer journalists of the time had thought that Halliday had passed his best. He soon proved them all wrong netting 19 goals from the 21 League games he played that season. This included three hat-tricks against Southend United (20 January 1934), Aldershot (10 February 1934, a 9-2 victory), and Exeter City (28 March 1934). He ended as the clubs’ top league goalscorer that season with the 19 goals."
"The following season he top scored again with 14 League goals from 32 appearances and three FA Cup goals from two appearances. He also bagged one further hat-trick against Bristol Rovers (15 December 1934)."
"One of the great strikers that Britain has ever known. In June 1935 he decided to leave League football to take up a position as player manager of Southern League side Yeovil & Petters United."

As well as the above 36 goals from 56 league and F.A. Cup games, Neil also tells us Halliday scored:-

* once in three Third Division South Cup games (a forerunner to the F.A. Trophy)

* eight goals in friendly matches (all against non-English clubs including Sporting Rapid of Vienna).

Yeovil & Petters United

Halliday spent two and a half years at then non-league Yeovil. As Player / Manager he top scored in both of his first two seasons there with 22 and 47 goals. He played for Yeovil in the FA Cup proper where predictably he added three more for a final senior goals tally of 368. His best known achievements with the Southern League club were in the FA Cup.

In 1936/37 they reached the second round to play Walsall with whom they drew 1-1 away. They don't dominated the replay but went out to a solitary goal scored in the last minute. At the end of the season Yeovil played in a friendly against Halliday's ex club, the all conquering Arsenal side of the 1930s. Gate receipts from such a prestigious game helped keep the club solvent. Arsenal won 7-3.

In the 1937/38 FA Cup Halliday's side knocked out Ipswich Town and then Gainsborough Trinity both with 2-1 home wins. He was next announced as being appointed the new Aberdeen Manager. However Halliday stayed in charge at Yeovil until their third round tie away to Manchester United on 8 January 1938. Despite Man U then being in the second tier the 49 000 attendance was the second highest of the day in England. Halliday's men held out until 10 minutes into the second half before they were done for with three goals in 20 minutes. Yeovil's defeat was soothed by their £1 283 share of the £3 035 taken at the turnstiles.

Halliday’s placing in the history of the world’s greatest ever goalscorers

To give some measure of Halliday’s ability, as at 2010 26 players have scored 200 or more goals in England’s top division. Halliday is in that list along with such names as Jimmy Greaves, Bill ‘Dixie’ Dean, Alan Shearer, Hughie Gallacher, Ian Rush and Denis Law.

Of the four Scots in the list, Law and David Herd played their entire professional club careers outside Scotland. This leaves Queen of the South as the only club in Scotland to have had two ex-players to have since gone on to score 200 goals in the top flight of English football – Hughie Gallacher (247 goals place him tenth) and Dave Halliday (211 place him 19th). Halliday's 211 English top flight goals took only 257 games. Of those in that '200 club' of England's top tier, Halliday's 0.82 goals per game is second only the 0.86 strike rate achieved by Bill 'Dixie' Dean.

Halliday and Gallacher also feature in the list of footballers with the highest number of league goals in England and Scotland. As at 2010 Halliday is 10th with 336 goals from 449 games. Gallacher is 3rd with 406 goals from 554 games. While in absolute terms Gallacher scored more goals, in relative terms it is Halliday who has the higher goals per game ratio (74.8% v 73.2%).

Halliday similarly features very well looking at his goalscoring at a global level. Unsurprisingly with the above info, Gallacher also features prominently. In the IFFHS list of the most successful top division goalscorers of all time (updated in 2008 from their previous list published in 1996), Gallacher was placed 29th equal in the world with 336 top division goals in Scotland and England from 466 games. Halliday was 54th in the world with 303 from 396 top flight games, again in Scotland and England (at least four players have since exceeded Halliday's top flight goal tally including Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Gallacher similarly would no longer be at 29th equal in an updated list). Once more when comparing strike rates between the two greats from Scotland, it is Halliday who is more prolific (76.5% v 72.1%). To put some context on that 2008 list by picking out a few other names; 1st is Pelé, 3rd is Ferenc Puskás, 4th is Romário, Gerd Müller is 10th, Gunnar Nordahl is 15th and Jimmy Greaves 16th. Further down Johan Cruyff is placed 63rd and 97th is Diego Maradona.

Dave Halliday is one of only two players to have been outright top scorer in both of the top divisions in Scotland (38 Dundee goals in 1923/34) and England (43 Sunderland goals in 1928/29). The only other person to achieve this feat outright is Halliday's goalscoring Dundee team mate from the 1925 Scottish Cup Final, David McLean. McLean top scored in England in 1912/13 with The Wednesday (they did not change name to Sheffield Wednesday until later) and in Scotland in 1918/19 with Rangers.

Non-selection for Scotland

Halliday’s fabulous goal stats demand the question; why was Dave Halliday, a genuine all time great of goalscoring not only in the UK but also at world level, never rewarded with a full international cap for Scotland? At least part of a clue comes from that 2008 IFFHS list of the most successful top division goalscorers of all time. Halliday was in competition with Gallacher for the international centre forward spot. Gallacher was the regular Scotland centre forward and collected 24 goals from 20 full internationals.

1928/29 was Halliday’s best season, the one in which he ended up first in England’s top division scoring chart with 43 goals. That season in April 1929 Gallacher was injured two weeks before the Scotland v England international. The selectors pencilled in Halliday’s name. Gallacher though at this point had scored 18 goals in 14 full internationals including eight from his last two caps. Gallacher was ultimately selected despite not being fully fit. Scotland won 1-0 with an 89th minute winner. Alec Cheyne scored direct from a corner kick in response to what is widely acknowledged as the birth of the ‘Hampden Roar’. England players complained Gallacher impeded their goalkeeper but the goal stood. Cheyne for his part made goals direct from corners a minor speciality repeating the feat twice for Aberdeen the following season.

At the end of that season Scotland embarked on a three game tour to Norway, Germany and Netherlands. However only home based Scots were selected to play so despite Gallacher’s non-selection Halliday also missed out. Gallacher resumed in the number nine jersey in the first two games of the following season’s home internationals (adding a further four goals to his tally). Then Gallacher became embroiled in a club v country row. This dramatically impacted the international prospects of Halliday, Gallacher and every other Scot playing outside of Scotland.

As Bruce Gilmour from the Scottish Football Hall of Fame tells us:

"With regard to the club v country dispute, the basis of the problem emanated more from the English F.A. Gallacher was originally picked for the Scottish team to play England on 5 April 1930 but asked if he could be released from the game so that he could play for Newcastle United instead, as they were in a critical league position. It came to light later however that Newcastle had put pressure on him to put club before country and instead of playing at Wembley he played against Arsenal in a 1-1 draw. Arsenal however were also in need of points and had agreed that Alex James could play in the international and voiced their displeasure at the disadvantage that had been placed upon them."

"There had various arguments at that time relating to the release of players for international duty when league matches were also being played. In the summer of 1930, the Football League took the unprecedented step of actually forbidding clubs to release players to associations other than the F.A. whether they wanted to or not. This agreement was hastily revoked, to be replaced by another agreement which was not quite so prohibitive but still had so many conditions, it was virtually impossible for clubs to release players to Scotland, Wales and Ireland to play for their country yet there were not the same restrictions when it came to releasing players for England duty. This meant it was not so much Scotland choosing not to pick English based players but more being unable to. This situation continued until at least 1934 when some of the conditions were lifted. The clubs themselves had a more enlightened approach to releasing players than the league, but a new more relaxed agreement was reached which was to last for the next twenty years."

By having moved to play in England, Halliday for most of his career was without the opportunity to further his case directly in front of the selector's eyes by playing for the Scottish League. This is not to say had Halliday played more games for the Scottish League that he would have been a certainty for a full cap. Gallacher’s scoring record is difficult to argue with of 1.2 goals per full Scotland international. In the 18 games Gallacher played for Scotland up until the ban affecting anglo-Scots took effect, the Scotland team were fantastic; unbeaten with 17 wins and one draw. From being given his extended run in the team (from his second cap), Gallacher missed only two Scotland games other than the overseas tour mentioned above. One of these games was during Gallacher's two month suspension in early 1928 at a time when Halliday was averaging around a goal per game for Sunderland. This could have been Halliday's chance. However, Celtic's prolific Jimmy McGrory was given the nod instead. Scotland lost 1-0 at Firhill in Glasgow to Northern Ireland, a team Gallacher tore apart when he played against them. By the time Gallacher played for Newcastle rather in that ill fated 1930 trip to Wembley, Halliday was no longer a first teamer at Arsenal. Jimmy Fleming of Rangers was the selector's choice and scored twice. Scotland again though lost without Gallacher this time in a bad 5-2 defeat. The end of season trip to Paris had a no league fixtures to clash with and Gallacher was selected against the French (he scored both goals in the game).

The ban seems to have had more than the obvious effect on the Scottish selectors choosing anglos. Only once in the next 29 months did an anglo-Scot play for his country when the date clashed (as was then the norm), with Football League fixtures. It was Sunderland's Jimmy Connor in the 3-1 defeat of Northern Ireland at Ibrox in September 1931. However in the three game, 1931 European tour only two anglo-Scots played (Jimmys McDougall of Liverpool and Easson of Portsmouth each played two games). This was despite the Football League being in the close season. On that tour the Scots were thrashed 5-0 by the Austrian 'Wunderteam' and faired little better losing 3-0 to Italy. Some respectability was salvaged with the final game 3-2 win in Switzerland. All within this 29 month period Dave Halliday had joined Man City and showed great form in that first season and a half there with the benefit of regular first team football. In that first season and a half at Maine Road he cracked in 46 goals in 70 games (0.66 goals per game).

After the ban was lifted Gallacher picked up a further full cap in each of 1934 and 1935. Halliday’s international career though was over with just the Scottish League cap in 1924 to show for his relentless goalscoring. Halliday and Gallacher likely knew each other well. Gallacher's retained affection for Queens, the club who gave him his start in professional football, is documented elsewhere. This makes an obvious link with Halliday's home town club where Halliday himself also received his start as a pro. They moved to the North East of England within a few months of each other and similarly moved from there to London around the same time. In London Halliday was an Arsenal team mate of Gallacher's great friend going back to their time as school buddies, Alex James. Halliday and Gallacher played together in charity matches and in contributing to this article, one member of the Halliday family reported that Dave said he rated Gallacher very highly.

Is Dave Halliday the greatest goalscorer never to play for Scotland? It’s a matter of personal opinion but he would appear to be one of two outstanding candidates. The other is Hughie Ferguson, scorer of the winning goal for Cardiff City in the 1927 FA Cup Final playing alongside George McLachlan. If arguing Ferguson’s case, going back to the IFFHS list of the world’s highest top division goalscorers, Ferguson is 18th on that 2008 list - his 361 goals place him above Halliday and also Gallacher for that matter. In Scotland Ferguson topped the league scoring chart three times between 1917 and 1921 (punctuated by McLean's top scoring season mentioned above). Halliday top scored only once in Scotland but from a lower number of seasons playing there. If arguing Halliday’s case, a greater number of his goals were in England, a standard with a greater strength in depth than in Scotland. 284 of Ferguson’s league goals were for Motherwell with only 77 goals in England’s top league. This is compared with the 211 listed above for Halliday in England’s top tier that includes the 1928/29 title of the division’s highest scorer, a feat Ferguson never achieved in England. Ferguson was five years older than Halliday but encountered a similar set of circumstances internationally. Post World War 1 in February 1920 Scotland resumed in international football. The man selected held his place by averaging better than a goal per game. Andy Wilson of Dunfermline and Middlesbrough had a run of 12 straight full internationals scoring 13 times. This is a great testament to Wilson who played with a glove over a hand shattered by a bullet during the war. After Wilson's last international in April 1923, Ferguson then missed out like Halliday did primarily due to Gallacher's international success.


Dave Halliday was appointed Aberdeen Manager in December 1937. He took up the post after Yeovil's FA Cup third round defeat on 8 January 1938 to Manchester United. Halliday replaced Pat Travers who had moved to Clyde. In April 1938 Halliday signed George Hamilton from his ex club Queen of the South. This would be as shrewd a signing as Halliday would ever make as Hamilton would show himself as a player of genuine class.

It was after the Second World War when national trophies started to arrive at Pittodrie for the first time, thus securing Halliday’s place in Aberdeen folklore. During WW2 no Scottish FA Cup competition was played. The Southern Football League then operating in Scotland arranged a competition called the Southern Football League Cup. An obvious difference compared to the Scottish Cup was the initial stages would operate based on small groups of teams. The winners of each section would then progress to the knockout phase. The Southern League Cup's last season (1945-46), included teams from the now defunct North Eastern Football League (plus the newly formed Stirling Albion). This included Halliday's Aberdeen who won defeating Rangers 3-2 in the final at Hampden on 11 May 1946. Such was the success of the tournaments that from 1946/47 the Scottish Football League Cup was launched using the format used in the war.

At Hampden on 19 April 1947 Halliday’s team won the Scottish Cup with an attendance of 82 140. The inspirational Hamilton equalised in the 2-1 final victory against Hibs who would soon be Scotland's best team for a while. Aberdeen reached the inaugural League Cup final that season beating Hearts 6-2 in the semi. In the final they lost out to Rangers. Halliday added to the Doonhamer connection at Pittodrie in 1948 when he signed Dumfries born ex Scotland international Bobby Ancell.

In the 1951 League Cup Halliday’s side beat Rangers home and away in the group stage to eliminate the Glasgow club. Then came a titanic quarter final against the team who indeed were now Scotland’s top side, Hibs. Each team won their home leg 4-1. By the time of the replay on Monday 2nd October, they would have known that their semi final opponents on the subsequent Saturday were scheduled to be Queen of the South. Drawing 1-1, a 2nd replay was played on the Tuesday. It ended up a Dons disaster as they were on the end of a 5-1 Hibs hammering.

Halliday returned to the Scottish Cup final in 1953 with a series of ties that went to replays. Motherwell drew 5-5 at Pittodrie before being blitzed 6-1 at Fir Park. Next was a fine result against the still excellent Hibs side of the era (1-1 away, 2-0 at home). Third Lanark were knocked out in the semis in another replay before the Dons lost 1-0 to a Billy Simpson Rangers goal in a final replay. In the first game Harry Yorkston equalised late on for the Dons after John Prentice had opened the scoring for Rangers.

Halliday went to the Scottish Cup final again the season after. A second round trip to Duns produced an avalanche win (8-0). Next were two wins against Edinburgh opposition; 3-1 away to Hibs and 3-0 at home to Hearts. The win against the Jambos was witnessed by Aberdeen’s record home crowd, 45 061. The semi final draw brought a game against Rangers at Hampden. Halliday returned North with a stunning 6-0 win against the Ibrox club in the bag. The final brought the opportunity of a Glasgow double to match the Edinburgh double from earlier in the cup run. it was not to be as Sean Fallon hit the winner for Celtic to take the league and cup double with a 2-1 win.

1954 brought international duty and an encounter with the right winger of Queen of the South, Bobby Black. "Davie Halliday, the first time I ever met the bloke was when we went to Ireland. He was the manager of the Scottish League team that went to Ireland when I played for the Scottish League. We flew across on the same plane and got chatting and one thing and another. Then of course in the hotel we did a bit of chatting. I knew he had a Queen of the South connection but he was manager of Aberdeen at the time. All of the Halliday family were a football mad sort of family. A lot of them were pretty good players." Under Halliday’s management the Scots returned with a 3-1 win. Black scored two goals.

1955 brought ambitions of a league and cup double for Halliday himself. Rangers were beaten in Scottish Cup for the second season running (this time 2-1 in the last 16 at Pittodrie). Next, Hearts were vanquished 2-0 at home in a replay in the quarter final. Aberdeen were 2-1 up in the semi final against Clyde. Scotland left winger Tommy Ring then scored his second of the game to equalise in the 89th minute. Clyde were then victorious in a 1-0 replay win, just as they were against Celtic in the final (in the replay against Celtic, Ring was again the scorer). Another victim of the semi was Clyde's Willie Wilson, the goalkeeper from Dumfries who had been unable to win a regular game at Queens ahead of Roy Henderson; Wilson broke a finger in the semi meaning he missed the final. In charge of the semi was triple World Cup referee, Bobby Davidson, father of future Queens goalkeeper, Alan Davidson.



The league was a different story. Five days after the Scottish Cup semi replay exit to Clyde, the Dons visted Clyde in the league. Archie Glen’s successful penatly was the game’s only goal against Travers’ side. The Dons clinched the title that day with two games to spare. Aberdeen finished the season three points ahead of Celtic. Halliday was thus the first manager to lift the Scottish Championship with Aberdeen. All appeared to be looking good for Halliday at the Dons but this was not the case. Firstly he was disappointed that the club refused to pay his players an additional bonus for winning the league. Secondly, with the new era of European club football about to begin, Halliday had to swallow the additional disappointment of the SFA overlooking his side as Scottish Champions and instead selecting Hibs. Hibs had been Scotland’s top side at the start of the decade with their ’famous five’ forwards. Now they were no longer even the top team in Edinburgh with Hearts now on the way towards being Scotland’s top team at the end of the decade. Hibs were selected to play in the inaugural European Cup despite having finished fifth in the league, 15 points behind Aberdeen in the era of two points for a win. Halliday decided enough was enough and in October 1955 accepted an offer from elsewhere.

In Dave Halliday’s span in charge of the Dons he was the club’s most successful manager before the arrival of Alex Ferguson. Only Halliday and Ferguson have managed Aberdeen to be Scottish champions.

Leicester City

We thanks John Hutchinson, Club Historian and Archivist at Leicster City for the following.

"David Halliday had already been on Leicester City’s radar as a striker, scoring no less than 14 goals against the club. This total included four in one game for Arsenal in April 1930 in a 6-6 draw at Filbert Street. Having just managed Aberdeen to the Scottish title, he was appointed Leicester City’s manager in July 1955, taking over a club which had just been relegated from the old First Division."

"He introduced a strong Scottish element to Filbert Street. 19 of his 31 signings for Leicester were from Scotland, earning Leicester City the nickname of “Leicester Thistle”. One of his most significant signings was the young Frank McLintock who went on to become a club legend."

"In his first season at Leicester City, the Club finished a creditable 5th in the Second Division. The following season however was a record breaking one at the time for the club. Halliday’s team won the 2nd Division title with 7 points to spare [two points for a win]. They held first position in the table from December onwards, re-writing the Club’s record books in the process. New club records (since beaten) were set, with most wins (25), most away wins (11), fewest defeats (6), most points (61) and most goals (109). Arthur Rowley scored a club record 44 goals in 42 games."

"His team struggled in the First Division in 1957/58 but avoided relegation on the last day of the season. When he left the club in November 1958 the club was still struggling. However, he had laid foundations for the Club which were so solid that it spent twelve years in the top flight."

Leicester scored 91 league goals that season first season back in the top tier, sixth highest in the division. 102 goals against though meant that last game fight for survival when placed two spots above bottom. Halliday stuck to his attacking principles and sent out an offensively minded line up. The 1-0 win at Birmingham sent down the club where Halliday had been hero worshipped - Sunderland.

Dave Halliday returned to live in the Aberdeen area after managing Leicester City. At the time of his death he was living in Banchory. Halliday’s obituary in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard states he was admitted to Woodend Hospital with flu where suffered a stroke at the age of 68. He died there on 5th January 1970 (the obituary from the The Herald on 6 January 1970 is below).



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