Legends - Dave Halliday

The playing career of Dave Halliday from Dumfries is summarised perfectly on 11v11.com as, "A truly amazing goalscorer". From starting his career at then non-league Queen of the South, Halliday went on to score 365 goals in 488 senior competitive league, Scottish Cup and FA Cup games for St Mirren, Dundee, Sunderland, Arsenal, Manchester City and Orient. He added three further strikes to his senior tally while player managing then non-league Yeovil to the third round of the FA Cup, giving him a final senior goals tally of 368 strikes.

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 (rankings in this article are as at 12 August 2019 unless otherwise stated). He is the fastest player in history to 100 top division goals in England taking only 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). His 211 English top division goals with Sunderland, Arsenal and Manchester City place him 20th among a select group of 28 players to have scored at least 200 goals in England’s top division. Among those 28 players, his 0.82 goals per game strike rate is second only to Bill 'Dixie' Dean at that level. In the IFFHS list of the world’s all-time highest top division goalscorers updated in 2008 (from their previous list in 1996), Halliday was 54th in the world. Halliday is 10th in the list of footballers by number of league goals scored in all senior divisions in England and Scotland combined. Halliday's overseas goals include doubles against each of Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Racing Club de France (aka Racing Paris), Real Madrid and Valencia.

Halliday player / managed then non-league Yeovil to a 3rd round FA Cup tie away at Manchester United. He was the first manager to guide Aberdeen to a senior trophy when winning the Scottish FA Cup in 1947. 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 in 1946 the forerunner of what was officially launched the season after as the Scottish League Cup. He was Scottish Cup runner-up in 1953 and 1954. Halliday managed Leicester City to a divisional title for promotion to England’s top tier in 1957.

For all his jaw-dropping prolific goals record against domestic and overseas opponents, in one of the great injustices of Scottish football he was never given a full international cap. He similarly remains uninducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame despite his lengthy, very impressive playing and managerial achievements.

Early years and Queen of the South 

Dave Halliday was born in Dumfries on December 11th, 1901. The Halliday family have confirmed this date as factual and that the 1897 birth year published in some media is mistaken. He started in local schools football where he featured on the left wing profiting from being naturally left footed. He lived at 61 Lockerbie Road attending Noblehill Primary then Dumfries Academy. Halliday then took employment with car manufacturer Arrol-Johnston. In the early 20th century Arrol-Johnston in many regards was an exciting place to work. The automotive engineering industry was expanding very competitively in the UK. Halliday was working in an environment of science, innovation and enterprise. Even the Arrol-Johnston factory construction at Heathhall on the edge of Dumfries was innovative, the UK's first made with ferro-concrete (Albert Kahn was the architect who also designed the factory where Henry Ford made the Model T in Detroit 'Motor City').

Halliday played for the Arrol-Johnston works team, one of three clubs who merged to form Queen of the South in 1919. However despite having played aged 17 in the trial matches arranged in the formation of the new club, Halliday did not join the Queen's until 17 January 1920. Between playing for Arrol-Johnston and QoS, Halliday had a brief spell with Tayleurians.

From joining the month after his 18th birthday he played 19 games for QoS until the end of the season in May 1920. With this being QoS' 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 QoS thrashed Dumfries FC 7-1. A week later QoS 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 QoS to score goals in England’s top flight). However it was Dalbeattie and their physical style of play who took the lead. QoS 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 QoS ahead five minutes before half time. Connell hit QoS' 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 QoS teams were a remarkable production line of talent. In the first three seasons alone QoS 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 QoS 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 was born in 1902.

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. An intelligent and thoughtful man, he asked for time to think the matter over before the Thursday after he agreed to sign on one condition - that he be allowed to remain in engineering with Arrol-Johnston and travel to Paisley on match days. Halliday spent 1920/21 at St Mirren where in 13 league games as a part-time member of the playing staff he scored twice. Being his first taste of senior football this was also the first two goals in senior football that would become his trademark.

Halliday returned to Love Street many times later in his career. This included with Sunderland in April 1929 when Halliday was at the very summit of his playing power. St Mirren won 2-1 in the testimonial for Willie McDonald. McDonald had joined The Buddies in 1923 but his career ended prematurely through illness. Halliday scored the Sunderland goal in McDonald's testimonial.


Aged 19, in 1921 Halliday signed for Sandy MacFarlane managed Dundee. For all Halliday's thoughtfulness and intelligence, it seems beyond the bounds of comprehension to consider he imagined the magnitude of how inking that contract with Dundee would shape his destiny. For Halliday, signing for Dundee was both career changing and life changing.

Alex Troup played on the left wing for Dundee and had already collected three of his five full Scotland international caps. At 5 foot 11 Halliday was a relatively tall player for that era (as evidenced in some articles referring to him with timeless imaginitivity as 'Big Davie'). Halliday played in a trial game at right wing but Dundee did not persist with trying him at that position. In one of the greatest player re-positionings in the history of football, Dundee geniusly unleashed Halliday at centre-forward.

His senior competitive Dundee debut was in game two of the league season, a 1-0 defeat at Falkirk on 20 August 1921. He was described in at least one match report as looking nervous. While back out of Dundee's league team he was given a chance on the last evening in August in the Penman Cup, played for by teams in central and Eastern Scotland. Halliday delivered the assist for the Ross to open the scoring before scoring two himself and having another goal disallowed. Final score; Dundee 3, East Fife 0.

On 10 September he was recalled to the first team for a 2-1 league defeat at Morton. He was described as, "Occasionally useful but never brilliant."

What was to be the pivotal moment of his entire career arrived on 21 September 1921. He was back in the first team for the midweek league visit to Motherwell. Despite a 2-1 defeat, he was described:

"Dundee got a goal, a beautiful single-handed effort by Halliday. The centre received the ball about the centre of the field and dashed on, beating Brown. He was tackled by Jackson, whom he cleverly rounded, and drove well out of Rundell's reach."

And so, at that moment, a goalscoring phenomenon began. Finding goalscoring as natural as breathing, Dave Halliday promptly became one of the most prolific centre-forwards in the history of football worldwide.

"Possessed of height and weight, and with good turn of speed," Halliday ended the season with 25 goals from 31 league and Scottish Cup games. Dundee finished fourth in the league with 49 points like they had the previous season but with more goals for and less goals against (+11 net improvement to goal difference).

Halliday was given a new teammate of note in 1922 in the experienced Davie McLean. This was a very useful signing for Halliday benefiting from McLean's forward know how. However with Halliday having an injury affected season, 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.

(Halliday is back row, 3rd left in this Dundee FC end of season tour of Spain team photo. Given Halliday's 1924 tour was cut short after only playing at Barcelona's Camp de Les Corts stadium, this photo is likely of the 1923 tour.)

As covered in more detail later in this article, UEFA organised international club competition didn’t start until 1955. Hence the best way to gauge Halliday’s goalscoring against overseas clubs is from challenge games. Such contests appear to have been suited to Halliday. His first overseas end of season tour was with Dundee in 1923. Halliday along with Irish internationalist, Sam Irving, and Englishman, Walter Bird, were the last 3 additions to the Dundee FC entourage joining the Glasgow to London train when it stopped at Carlisle. After a long journey via Paris by trains and ferry, Dundee played seven games against four teams in Spain.

First opponents were Athletic Bilbao in a benefit game for their coach. Ex-England internationalist, Fred Pentland, had just completed the first season of his first spell managing there. He completely changed Bilbao's playing method by indoctrinating the short passing style that had been previously brought to England by Scots. In a portent of the trophy glut he was to later bring in his second spell in charge, Bilbao had just won back the Copa Del Rey from the Barcelona team who dominated that competition in the 1920s. At the time the Copa was Spain's most prestigious national football contest (La Liga wasn't launched until 1929).

Willie Fotheringham joined Dundee in 1921 like Halliday did. The future QoS goallie provided correspondence on the tour for the Dundee Evening Telegraph. Jock McDonald put the visitors one up with a strike Fotheringham described as a fine goal. Fotheringham then wrote:

"After the cross-over Dundee settled down to a fine game, and within ten minutes Halliday scored number two. This was the best goal of the match. He received the ball in midfield, beat four men on the run, and with a great shot left the 'keeper helpless. It was all Dundee now and ten minutes from time Halliday scored number three.”

Final score; Athletic Bilbao 0, Dundee 3. A Bilbao media report singled out Halliday describing him as, "a model of control of circumstances."

A second game ended Bilbao 1, Dundee 1 (McLean scored). Then was a game in Madrid described by the Dundee Courier:

"The football played by both sides was of the highest order, but the ability of the Dens Parkers to snap their chances before goal proved the undoing of the Madrid Club."

It was Halliday who gave the Madrileños the double demonstration of the art of putting a football into the net. Final score; Real Madrid 0, Dundee 2. As well as a very sporting and appreciative crowd, the two captains were presented to Spain's King Alfonso and Queen Victoria; Jock Ross of Dundee and unless he happened to miss this game through something like illness, Santiago Bernabeu de Yeste of Madrid. Given how ambitious, motivated and determined the future Real president was, it seems reasonable to suggest he would have had to be extremely ill to miss the opportunity to meet such wealthy, powerful and influential people.

Halliday next scored two in Dundee defeating Valencia (3-0, Willie Cowan also scored). That 3-0 win was played at La Mestalla 7 days after Valenica inaugurated their new stadium when they had beat cross city rivals, Levante, 1-0. The 3-0 defeat by Dundee was Valencia's first loss there. Dundee's unbeaten tour ended in the next game, a 2-0 defeat by Barcelona. Fotheringham then wrote of the second game v Barca:

"Our match on Sunday at Barcelona ended in a 3-1 victory for Barcelona. There was a crowd of 30,000 and the teams were the same as in the previous match. Halliday scored the first goal: the homesters' left half got the equaliser with a penalty. They got [the] other two goals in the second half. Willie Cowan missed a penalty. Dundee were never allowed to settle down. They were none to gentle in their treatment of our boys; in fact it was the worst we have had on the tour. It was unfortunate that the match should be finished in such a manner. Still, it has been a splendid holiday, and all have enjoyed it immensely."

In 1923 Troup departed to Everton. Halliday did well and finished as the Scottish Football League top scorer in 1923-24 with 38 goals from his 36 league appearances - a super return with the three man off side rule in effect until 1925. One of his goals was in the 22 December 2-1 league home win v Celtic when McLean also scored. Dundee improved on the season's before league position by finishing fifth. A debate was now taking place in Scottish football as to who should take the up for grabs Scotland centre-forward jersey; Dave Halliday or Hughie Gallacher? 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. Gallacher had been given his full international debut 14 days before, defeating Northern Ireland 2-0 at Celtic Park.

Dundee returned to Spain again the summer immediately after Halliday's 38 league goal season. Halliday added a further double in Spain this time in a 2-0 win v Barcelona in the first game of the 1924 tour. So much seemed to be going so well for Halliday; ending the season as top scorer in Scotland, a recent first recognition playing for the Scottish League, opening the end of season tour by scoring a double against Barcelona. Then shortly after the Barcelona game ended, Halliday's life was turned completely upside down by a bolt from the blue of deeply distressing news; his 2 year old son, also named David, had died in a scalding accident in Dumfries. Taking with him the condolences of the Dundee players and officials, Halliday set off on what must have been for him a painfully long and emotional journey back to Scotland.

In late August 1924, Halliday scored 4 of his team's goals in a 6-0 league home thudding of Hearts. McLean ably supported scoring a brace. 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 a great 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. Their cup winning eleven contained seven recent or future full Scotland internationalists. Hughie Gallacher was their star man during this period with team mate Bob McPhail another of Scotland's best ever goalscorers. Airdrie's home form was immense. At this point they were part way through a run of over three years being unbeaten at Broomfield. The cup tie against Dundee though was drawn to be played at Dens Park. McLean put Dundee ahead after 15 minutes from Halliday providing the assist. Charlie Duncan scored Dundee's second a minute later with a 25 yard drive. In the second half, Halliday cleverly chested in a cross to put Dundee 3-0 up in a game where the press also praised his distribution. Jock Ewart in goal for Airdrie was also commended for containing Halliday to only a single goal. Tony Weldon's goal 11 minutes from time was only a consolation in a much deserved 3-1 Dundee victory. Airdrie were partially architects of their own downfall for trying to play dainty football in a downpour.

Halliday was Dundee's top scorer in the cup run with five goals. In the final, McLean was first to a rebound off the bar of Jock Gilmour's header to put Dundee one up at half time v Celtic before a 75,000+ crowd. Halliday, McLean and Duncan were prominent in the build up to the goal. Patsy Gallacher equalised with an extraordinary goal. Gallacher went on one of his runs evading defenders before a strong challenge appeared to end his attack. However Gallacher was still in possession with the ball held between both his feet. Gallacher somersaulted six yards retaining control of the ball between his feet with which he ended up in the net. With extra time approaching, 20 year old Jimmy McGrory headed a last minute winner for Celtic to confirm his arrival as a striker to be reckoned with. This would not be the last time Halliday endured last minute heartache from cup football.

In total Halliday scored 90 goals in 126 league appearances for Dundee and 13 goals in 21 Scottish Cup games for them. Hence his competitive Dundee totals are 103 goals from 147 league and Scottish Cup games. His 38 league goals in 1923-34 remains a Dundee FC seasonal league goals record. Even DFC legend, Alan Gilzean's, 1963-64 fabulous 52 league and cup goal tally was unable to match Halliday's seasonal 38 league goal record since Gilzean's highly impressive tally comprised 33 league goals and 19 cup goals.

Halliday's goalscoring exploits attracted attention from elsewhere. Celtic were reported to be interested in taking him to Parkhead. In 1925, to the delight of goalkeepers throughout Scotland, Halliday was on his way South. Like at St Mirren he returned to Dens to play in a testimonial, this time of his former teammate, Sam Irving. The game in April 1926 was a 1-1 draw. While Halliday never played competitive football for Dundee again, that single positional re-deployment at Dundee changed his life forever.


In 1925, then 23 year old Halliday signed for Bob Kyle managed Sunderland in England's top division. Sunderland paid a £4,000 transfer fee for Halliday, replacing Charlie Buchan who had gone to captain Arsenal. With a direct, facing the goal style, Halliday’s goal stats at Sunderland make barely believable reading.

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). 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 in the front of this picture at Roker Park v Newcastle United keeper, Willie Wilson. Willie Wilson of Newcastle United, Millwall & Dunfermline is a different goallie to Willie WIlson from Dumfries mentioned elsewhere on qosfc.com goalkeeping for Queen of the South)

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 Sunderland best of 43 goals in 1928-29 saw him succeed Bill ’Dixie’ Dean as top scorer in England’s top division for the season. Dave Halliday is the most recent 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). 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. Or again in other words, in comparing Sunderland's individual highest scorer season by season, Halliday occupies all four top positions. 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. Unusually for Sunderland against Man U, Halliday didn't score in the drawn 3-3 first game.

Intriguingly Halliday's 165 goals were all scored in his first 168 games. Quite simply, this is tremendously consistent goal scoring against any benchmark especially considering the excellent standard of competition. Yet after averaging over 0.98 goals for 168 games he failed to score once in his last seven Sunderland appearances. Bear in mind young Halliday's very considered response as an indication of his character when he had been 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 him and Mary to keep in touch with relatives in Dumfriesshire. They had been through more than enough emotionally to appreciate the value of family health and support. Tragically, the first four children they had all died as infants. The first was when Halliday was at Dundee and then three when he was with Sunderland. Halliday by nature was a man inclined to 'think to speak' rather than 'speak to think'. The loss of four children as infants in such a short time would hardly discourage inward contemplation. Mary had given birth to a fifth son in July 1929 (Nigel, their first to survive to adulthood). Halliday was settled at Sunderland and had to be persuaded to move on when a big money offer was made for him.

On New Year's Day 1929 Halliday hit two goals against Arsenal. This put him on eight strikes in eight games against Arsenal, all in the six most recent of those games. This obviously made an impression on Herbert Chapman managing Arsenal who signed him next. It is thus a twist of fate that the first of Halliday's non-scoring last seven Sunderland games was against... Arsenal. How long Arsenal (or anyone else if there were other clubs after him) spent in pursuit of Halliday is uncertain. It seems possible though that being unsettled by transfer maneuverings affected his game at the end of his time at Roker.

Why Sunderland were prepared to let him go is similarly 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, 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.

Chapman had tried to sign Celtic's Jimmy McGrory in Summer 1928 for what was then a monstrous fee of ten grand. The world record transfer fee at the time was the £6 500 Sunderland paid Burnley for Bob Kelly in 1925. The Celtic board were salivating at the cash offered and ushering McGrory to the door. "They offered me everything but the moon," McGrory later said of Arsenal adding, "McGrory of Arsenal just never sounded as good as McGrory of Celtic." The persuasive Chapman was used to getting his way but finally gave up. He told McGrory, "I just wish I had players as loyal and as enthusiastic to their club as you are to Celtic." After giving up on McGrory, Chapman in October 1928 broke the world transfer record fee when he instead signed David Jack from Bolton (the exact fee is disputed but widely acknowledged as the first to break the £10 000 barrier). The brilliant McGrory would undoubtedly have scored goals in England's top flight. Against the greater strength in depth there though relative to playing in Scotland, his strike rate was unproven for comparison to his goal per game record North of the border. Halliday in contrast had just finished four seasons in England's top tier with 35 league goals as his lowest return of the four. Compared to the £10 000 offered a year previously for McGrory, Sunderland letting Halliday go for £6 500 seems akin to a fire sale.

Chapman was a cunning negotiator of transfers and anything else. He surreptitiously prepared serving staff to refrain from adding gin to the 'gin and tonics' he ordered in negotiating rooms. Correspondingly the same staff were instructed that those opposite him on a negotiating table were to be given alcoholic beverages at discretely double the strength ordered. Football directors were rarely renowned for alcoholic abstinence. If the Sunderland board were in desperate need of money, Chapman would be just the man to capitalise on that. After agreeing a deal with the Sunderland directors, it was then the influential Chapman who finally persuaded Halliday that Arsenal was the right choice.

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 back later joined QoS to be a cornerstone of the team that finished fourth in Scotland’s top division in 1933/34. Willie Fotheringham who played in goals in Halliday's first three seasons in Dundee, like Allan joined QoS in 1933. Fotheringham's 1923 tour with Dundee made him one of the few players with overseas football experience when George McLachlan managed QoS on tour to France and Algeria in 1936.


In just over 4 years as manager of Huddersfield Town, Chapman took them to an FA Cup and then two league titles. He was tempted away to join Arsenal in 1925. He laid out a five year plan to re-structure Arsenal for success. In the first four seasons they earned no silverware but had near misses through being runners-up twice in his first two seasons. In the league in his first season he finished second to ex-club Huddersfield. They season after in the FA Cup final they lost by a solitary goal to Cardiff City (future QoS Manager George McLachlan played for Cardiff in the final beside Halliday's ex Dundee team mate, Sam Irving). Samuel Hill-Wood became chairman in 1927 and allowed Chapman control over all areas of the club.

Chapman was the son of a South Yorkshire coal miner. However the intellectually gifted Chapman won a place at Sheffield Technical School (now the University of Sheffield), in preference to working down the pit. Chapman studied a subject of which professional experience had influenced Halliday's mind, engineering. As a player Chapman mostly had turned out for non-league or amateur sides. He considered engineering his long term future until after he became involved in football management. Pre-Chapman in English football there had been little manner of tactics and strategy. The progressive Chapman was having absolutely none of that. Chapman transferred his professionalism in engineering to the business of football. Arsenal weren't just re-structured by Chapman, they were re-engineered.

Chapman managed football based on methodical planning, structure and organisation combined with innovation and enterprise. His zeal for new ideas was insatiable. "I would borrow one from a programme boy at Highbury if it were a good one." A variety of Chapman's innovations became taken for granted. Others were ahead of their time. Halliday only stayed a year at Arsenal but it was among the most important of his career. He later in a 1955 press article cited Herbert Chapman as his greatest influence in football. To give an idea of the magnitude of the man Halliday signed for, these are some of Chapman's innovations that revolutionised UK football between the wars:

* Chapman took full charge of playing matters rather than let directors choose the team

* Chapman's first Arsenal captain, Charlie Buchan, said to him a team could 'attack for too long'. Chapman responded with a 3-2-2-3 team shape designed for deadly counter-attack. Instead of the previous 2 full backs and three half backs, Chapman moved the central player from the half back line (traditionally number 5), to lie deeper as a centrally stationed defender in between the right and left full backs. It is from this positional re-adjustment that many people still refer to a centre back as a 'centre half'. Chapman's WM team shape became de facto across the land. Players were made clear they were expected to function within Chapman's highly drilled unit. Even in his first management role at Northampton Town he was told by England international, Harold Fleming, "You have something more than a team: you have a machine." Chapman later remarked though, "All the men are expected to play to plan, but not so as to stifle individuality."

* He had a magnetic table shaped like a football pitch. Toy players were used to allow demonstration of ideas and tactics

* Wingers pre Chapman were generally expected to hug the touchline. Fast thinking, fast acting Alex James though was encouraged to put passes inside full-backs for his wingers to cut in on. Between them wingers Joe Hulme and Cliff Bastin averaged a goal per game between them for six seasons.

* Chapman 100% appreciated the need to optimise the condition of the primary tool of his players; their bodies. Strict training tuned their athletic fitness supported by early adoption of physios and masseurs

* He started weekly team meetings at his clubs where players were openly encouraged to participate in tactical discussions. He advocated players think tactically as a team and that they discuss games among themselves when journeying between matches. He insisted they travel together on the team bus or a private rail carriage

* To fertilise team spirit he advocated his players socialise with each other in pastimes like golf

* He replaced brown footballs with the more visible white ones to make the game better for players and fans

* He had the word "The" dropped from the club name so "Arsenal" would appear first in an alphabetical list of league clubs (Aldershot were still non-league until 1932)

* “Whoever heard of Gillespie Road? It is Arsenal around here,” he said referring to the nearest underground station to Highbury. After lengthy lobbying, thousands of signs, tickets, maps and machines were updated. The station was formally re-named Arsenal in 1932

* He deployed a public address system in the stadium for communication to supporters

* He designed the turnstiles to help account gate money

* He designed the letter and number stadium scoreboard widely copied and used elsewhere for decades

* He had floodlights installed at Highbury a staggering two decades before they were officially sanctioned for match use by the luddites in football authority

* Arsenal's famous stadium clock was introduced by Chapman as were the white sleeves on the playing jerseys

* To respect fans he insisted his players clap all four stands at Highbury on matchdays

* Visionary off-field developments financed Arsenal's superiority in the transfer market. They quickly became known as the Bank of England club

* He saw the benefits of feeder clubs 70 years before they became popular and developed a relationship with Clapton Orient where he became very influential (more on Orient later)

* Somewhat unusually for an English manager, Chapman advocated competitive European club football over two decades before the inauguration of the European Cup. A 10 club Coupe de Nations tournament was held in Geneva in the Summer of 1930. England were not FIFA members at the time. The newly crowned English League champions, Sheffield Wednesday, didn't participate in Switzerland. Arsenal pre-Chapman had history of undertaking end of season overseas tours to play showpiece friendlies. This continued under Chapman who pre-Arsenal had taken Huddersfield on tours of Scandinavia. After the Coupe de Nations, Arsenal in 1930 commenced playing an annual game in Paris on or near Armistice Day, 11 November. The game was a fundraiser for World War 1 veterans and raised publicity for both clubs involved. The host club was Racing Club de France who re-named to Racing Club de Paris in 1932. Other than interuption for World War 2, Racing Paris v Arsenal continued annually until the 1960s from when the 5-time French Cup winners began what was ultimately a major decline. Arsenal's games overseas exposed many at the club for the first time to air transportation. Alex James was among those with a dislike for it. This is a minor irony considering it was 65 years before Arsenal finally signed someone deemed worthy of comparison to James' playing talents, non-flying Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp

* Chapman penned a column in the Sunday press elevating Arsenal's profile and increasing their audience outside London

* The arc on the edge of the penalty area, two referees and goal judges are all claimed by Arsenal as Chapman ideas

In June 1929 Chapman signed Alex James to be the pivotal player to bring Arsenal their first trophies. In what was to be one of the great moves in history of footballing strategic genius, James was asked to play deeper than his previous inside forward role at Preston and Raith. For all James' hypnotic ball control, his greatest playing asset was arguably his football intelligence (comparable to more a modern player in Pep Guardiola. Guardiola is a particularly reasonable comparison due to his deep lying on-field positioning whose footballing brainpower and passing range and execution were outstanding). Chapman wanted James' combined footballing skill and brains to be the lynch pin to super-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 points for a win throughout Halliday's career). Chapman signed 27 year old Halliday for £6 500 to compete with Jack Lambert for the number nine jersey. Chapman had doubts about Lambert at this point from Lambert being an irregular scorer in the seasons before.

Chapman had a huge impression of Halliday. Comments he dedicated to Halliday in his Sunday press columns are featured in a small chapter in the posthumously published book, Herbert Chapman 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 38 league games over the previous three seasons).

Halliday and co. hit some bad luck the week after his Arsenal debut. 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. The next game was the rescheduled Middlesbrough match that had been abandoned at Highbury. This time the Gunners lost 2-1. This was the beginning of a second bad run; seven defeats in nine games. Halliday's goal at Sheffield United on 16 December was little consolation in a 4-1 defeat.

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 game though was the abandoned match v Boro so doesn't count in official records. He had two goals to show for his 10 games thus far.

The league title by this time was out of the question for 29/30. For Chapman to fulfil Arsenal's first trophy to his five year plan meant it was now all or nothing for that season's FA Cup. The FA Cup had been a breakthrough trophy for him at Huddersfield. He now wanted the same at Arsenal to ingrain conviction to his squad that they were England's best team. 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 recall 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 his anticipation helped his acceleration making him quick over the first 10 yards in many a chase to a loose ball. If closed down, his wonderful first touch and abundant skill was sufficient to unbalance and shake loose his marker to find a yard or two space. His passing was impeccable, long or short, to speedily release four charging counter-attackers. With James now finding his way in Chapman's master plan, the Arsenal juggernaut started to gain momentum. Lambert 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. 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.

Now in very good form, 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 make the Wembley team sheet.

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. Lambert's goal was a planned move of Chapman's devising.

Chapman delivered Arsenal's first ever trophy exactly on the five year timeline he had set himself and the club. 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 unlucky. 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. With the supply chain to the forwards now fully functional, the likelihood is Halliday would have flourished prolifically had he been given a recall. Lambert though to his credit didn't give an opportunity for Chapman to consider dropping him. Lambert top scored with a superb 38 goals from 34 league games. Lambert had neither the footballing craftsmanship 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 30/31 league win at Arsenal 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 Arsenal had won that 1931/32 league title and all else stayed the same, they would have 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 professionalism, vision, enterprise and leadership of Herbert Chapman. Chapman died from pneumonia in January 1934. Such were the methods, structure and organisation he had engineered 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 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.

Manchester City

Manchester City had been promoted to England's top division in 1928 and had strong ambitions to win major trophies. Dave Halliday signed there for Peter Hodge  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 hit another two goals at Filbert Street. This time though his team were outscored as Leicester won 3-2. He scored another double on January's last day beating Derby 4-2 at home. The Saturday after he scored the third in the 3-1 win at Old Trafford in the Manchester derby. Two weeks later he struck both goals sending Sheffield Wednesday 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. In August just before the season started Halliday senior and Mary had David, a second son who would survive to adulthood. This was to be Halliday's best season at Maine Road. City started a three year spell as a very formidable FA Cup side improving year on year to win the trophy. 31/32 was lit up by the excitement of City's best FA Cup run for six seasons easily outshining the league campaign.

In the league 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 there against Sunderland in just ten minutes in an entertaining 5-2 win. Halliday hit yet another league double in Manchester when Blackpool were thumped 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 tanked 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 in the stand had already made arrangements for the replay to be played 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 keeping it in play. Bastin following up was rewarded for the hopefulness of his run. He 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 end of season tour, Halliday scored two against Racing Club de France (winning 4-3). Halliday also scored two in Brussels against 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 secretarial 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 important 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 Everton. When City's captain, Sam Cowan, was presented with a runners-up medal, he said to the Duke of York he'd return the next year to win the trophy.

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 draw 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 minute 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 Portsmouth goal not to wear gloves in wet conditions. Then came Tilson's literally finest hour. Normally known as a quiet thinker, the Yorkshireman now copied Cowan from the final before by prophecising events. At half-time Tilson 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 profited to score an equaliser. Tilson then done the business again with two minutes remaining to fulfil his half-time promise and also the one by Cowan the year before. Something Cowan hadn't predicted was the drama being too much for Swift who fainted at the final whistle. 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 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 for totals of 51 goals from 82 league and FA Cup games.

Clapton Orient

Orient signed a player with a proven goalscoring record. Just turned his 32nd birthday, they also obtained a player of considerable experience. Thanks go to Neil Kaufman, Honourary Historian at Leyton Orient for the following info and team 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 and 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).

Despite his goalscoring with the Londoners, Halliday had further pain in his personal life. Mary died from tuberculosis in October 1934. Halliday was approaching 33 at the time with Mary slightly younger.

Yeovil and Petters United

Halliday spent two and a half years at then non-league Yeovil as player manager. In June 1935 he replaced former England internationalist, Louis Page, who also played while managing there. Page had done well at Yeovil and moved up the football ladder to manage Newport County in the Football League. Halliday top scored in both of his first two seasons at Huish 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. This was considered an incredible performance by non-league Yeovil. They dominated the replay but went out to a solitary goal scored yet again in the last minute. Yeovil had financial issues that season. At the season's end a friendly was arranged against Halliday's former club, the all conquering Arsenal side of the 1930s. Gate receipts from such a prestigious game at Huish 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 to add to the gate receipts from the Arsenal game. In the style of Herbert Chapman leaving Huddersfield and Arsenal, when Halliday departed he left the club in decent shape for his successor. With the departures of Page and Halliday, Yeovil were beginning to build a reputation as a breeding ground for managerial talent.

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

To give some measure of Halliday’s ability, as at October 2023, 28 players have scored 200 or more goals in England’s top division. Halliday is in that list along with some other names mentioned elsewhere in this article; Jimmy Greaves, Bill ‘Dixie’ Dean, David Jack, Charlie Buchan, Hughie Gallacher, Harry Hampton and Bobby Gurney. Another is former Arsenal and Manchester United forward, David Herd, the son of Alec Herd mentioned above on the playing staff beside Halliday at Manchester City. Alan Shearer, Ian Rush and Denis Law are other more contemporary names in that list as is Tony Cottee (Cottee has a relatively low strike rate compared to his peers in that group. His listing is testament to the longevity of his career in England's top flight). Wayne Rooney joined the list on 21 August 2017 when he scored his 200th goal from 462 English top flight appearances. Harry Kane joined the list in 2022-23 in which his total of 213 displaced Halliday at 19th on the list.

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 (246 goals place him 10th) and Dave Halliday (211 place him 20th). 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 to the phenomenal 0.86 strike rate achieved by Bill 'Dixie' Dean. Gallacher for his part has a strike rate at this level of 0.69.

As an indication of their durability, Halliday and Gallacher are also near the top of the list of footballers with the combined highest number of league goals in England and Scotland from all senior divisions. Halliday is 10th with 336 goals from 449 games. Gallacher is 4th with 387 goals from 545 senior league games (time at Queen of the South does not contribute to these tallies since QoS were not in the Scottish senior league set up when either Halliday or Gallacher played for QoS). While in absolute terms Gallacher scored more goals, in relative terms it is Halliday who again has the higher goals per game ratio of the two (0.75 v 0.70). While of course any team values goals, not too much should be taken from that particular comparison. e.g. Gallacher played 98 more games in England's top tier than Halliday where due to the greater strength in depth, goals will likely have been harder to come by than other divisions in England and Scotland.

(When the IFFHS in 2008 updated their list of the most successful top division goalscorers of all time, Pelé remained unchanged in 1st position compared to their pevious list in 1996)

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 Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo). Once more when comparing strike rates between Halliday and Gallacher, it is Halliday who is more prolific per game (0.76 v 0.72). To put some context on that 2008 list by picking out a few other names; 1st is Pelé, 2nd is Josef Bican, 3rd is Ferenc Puskás, 4th is Romário, Zico is 9th, Gerd Müller (10th), Alfredo Di Stéfano (14th), Jimmy Greaves (16th) and Eusébio (27th). Further down Johan Cruyff is placed 63rd and 97th is Diego Maradona.

The IFFHS published a revised list on 12 November 2017 following an update to their methodology. Many players dropped out of the list such as Bican and a bunch of Brazilians including Pele, Romario and Zico. This was since only national league top division goals were counted for the list; goals scored in regional / state leagues were discounted. Where Halliday fits into the revised ranking is unclear since only the top 25 scorers were listed. Given Gallacher moved up 5 places to 24th equal despite having been overtaken by Messi and Ronaldo, it may be Halliday has also moved up.

(Lionel Messi is one of at least four players to subsequently overtake Halliday's position in the 2008 IFFHS updated list of the most successful top division goalscorers of all time)

Non-selection for Scotland

In the above mentioned list of players scoring 200 or more top flight goals in England, Halliday is the highest ranked not to receive a full international cap (the other uncapped player in that list is Leicester's Arthur Chandler). All of Halliday's fabulous goal stats demand the question; why was Dave Halliday, a bona fide 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 (as advised directly to qosfc.com by the SFA despite the SFA website currently stating 23), from 20 full caps.

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 in England.

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 been 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 simply fantastic; 16 wins, one draw and one defeat. 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 the other available eye-poppingly prolific Scottish striker of the day was given the full international debut rather than Halliday, the now 23 year old Jimmy McGrory. Scotland lost 1-0 at Firhill in Glasgow to Northern Ireland, a team Gallacher tore apart when he played against them. McGrory became something of a scape goat for the defeat waiting over three years for his full international recall.

By the time Gallacher played for Newcastle that ill fated April day in 1930 rather than in the Scotland trip to Wembley, Halliday was no longer an Arsenal first team regular. In a moment of immense irony though, Halliday played for Arsenal for the first time in 10 games. This was the match that pretty much finished off Halliday's chances of full international honours. This match has yet more but little surprising irony given he started the game; Halliday scored to give Chapman's team a 1-0 half-time lead in Newcastle. Gallacher then set up Joe Devine's equaliser to give Newcastle a 1-1 draw, again antagonising Arsenal in the club v country dispute. Arsenal's grievance was compounded further in that they had released not just Alex James to play at Wembley but also England's David Jack. Jack showed what Arsenal were missing when his goal put England 4-0 up after 33 minutes. Jimmy Fleming of Rangers was the Scottish selector's choice at centre-forward for the England clash and scored twice. Scotland again though lost without Gallacher this time in a bad 5-2 defeat. The Scots end of season trip to Paris had no league fixtures to conflict 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 twice). 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). Jimmy McGrory was still very much around in the 1930s and very much still scoring. From his full international recall in 1931, he was never given an extended run in the Scotland team. McGrory's durability started to become affected by the ruthless treatment meted out to him by defenders. In the 30s though his Scotland scoring record was superb when he played; six goals from six games.

Possibly the Scots selectors felt that combined with the ban affecting Anglo-Scots, Halliday at six months short of his 30th birthday was now too old for a full international debut on the tour. The two players played at centre-forward on that tour were both given full international debuts on that trip; Clyde's Billy Boyd and the afore mentioned Jimmy Easson. They were both four years younger than Halliday. They both scored once on the tour against Switzerland when Easson played in his more usual inside forward role. Neither of the two provided a long term centre-forward solution for Scotland. Boyd never collected a full cap again after the tour. Easson picked up one more in October 1933 in the 3-2 defeat in Cardiff, the first game when Anglos began reappearing regularly in the Scotland team during the league season. Easson again played inside forward that day.

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 QoS, 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 Halliday said he rated Gallacher very highly.


Dave Halliday was appointed Aberdeen Manager in December 1937. He took up the post after Yeovil's FA Cup third round defeat to Manchester United on 8 January 1938. Halliday replaced Pat Travers who had moved to Clyde.

Halliday's management was not of the loquacious, attention seeking, crowd-pleasing wit exemplified by the unconventional Bill Shankly or the maverick Brian Clough at their indomitable, 'smart alec' best. Halliday did without that impressed by Chapman's methods of engineering football success; planned, structured, organised, scientific, innovative and enterprising. This is not to say those adjectives didn't feature in the style of the two extroverts mentioned. However, the verbally economic Halliday prioritised quality rather than quantity of spoken word. Chapman style, Halliday mostly delegated player training and conditioning to his coaching staff; Dave Shaw, Donald Colman and Bob McDermid who had played an important part in QoS history in the mid 1920s in his inspired, career rejuvenating loan from Rangers. Match days aside, Halliday focused on administrative and other organisational activities and player recruitment, other than his weekly sole appearance at training for the full practice match on Thursdays.

In April 1938 Halliday signed 19 year old George Hamilton from his former club, Queen of the South. This would be as shrewd a signing as Halliday would ever make. Gentleman George as he became known would show himself as a player of real class. His attacking danger with either foot offered in abundance the individual creativity Chapman spoke of to be channelled into a team plan.

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 operated 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 with 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 Ibrox 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. The official attendance was another of Hampden's gargantuan crowds, 130 060.

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 in Aberdeen in a quarter-final replay. 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 QoS 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 QoS goalkeeper, Alan Davidson.

Five days after the Scottish Cup semi replay exit to Clyde, the Dons visited Clyde in the league. Archie Glen’s successful penalty was the game’s only goal against Travers’ side. The Dons clinched the title that day with two games to spare and finished the season three points ahead of Celtic. Halliday's title winners were a team engineered as per the Chapman template; well organised playing methodical football based on tough defence and uncatchably quick forwards. Halliday was the first manager to lift the Scottish Championship with Aberdeen. The 1954/55 top five standings in the Scottish League finished as follows (goal average tie breaks teams level on points):

Hearts placed 4th in that table were an outfit on the up who after Alex Young became a regular first teamer became Scotland's team to beat. Young has gone down in English football folklore as The Golden Vision, adding league and FA Cup wins with Everton to the 2 league and 3 cup titles Hearts won with him. Despite his sublime football creativity, Young's modesty (likely from his self-admitted personal shyness), gave his football opinions a value of credibility and objectivity. Young commented:

"To be honest we feared Aberdeen. They were that good. Make no mistake we had a good side ourselves as we went on to prove, but in 1955 Aberdeen were awesome. They scared teams before games as we knew just how quick they were up front."

All appeared to be looking good for Halliday at the Dons but this was not the case. Firstly there was conflict when the club refused to pay his players an additional bonus for winning the league. Secondly, the first season of competitive European club football was about to begin. The competition was officially named, "The European Champions Clubs Cup". It became better known more informally as the European Cup. The tournament had been devised to be played midweek under floodlights. Aberdeen had not such infrastructure in operation until October 1959. Two of the stadiums of teams who finished in the top five in Scotland had floodlights operational at this time. These were Rangers with Ibrox Park in Glasgow and Hibs with Easter Road in Edinburgh. However Djurgårdens played a 'home' tie elsewhere when the Swedish winter made serious football unplayable in Stockholm. Djurgårdens played that 'home' game at a second floodlit Glasgow stadium, Partick Thistle's Firhill. Thus if required a Scottish entrant could potentially have played their games at a choice of three stadiums in Scotland. Similarly the season after, Manchester United played European Cup games at Maine Road while Old Trafford was still un-floodlit.

Some articles state Aberdeen declined an invitation to participate. An article on the Aberdeen (AFC) official website in contrast states Aberdeen were both keen and expecting to be involved. That same AFC article observes a long time active proponent of European club competition was Harry Swan. In 1954 Swan started a stint in highly senior office across Scottish football administration. He used that to further champion European competition and ensure Scottish participation within it. Swan was also the chairman of Hibs for now 20+ years. It was Hibs who were intimated to UEFA as Scotland's entrant. See the league table above for details on where Hibs had finished in relation to Aberdeen and also Rangers who like Hibs had floodlights. The triple league winning Famous Five Hibs team around the start of the 1950s had been a genuinely terrific side, fully justifying the way they are still revered at Easter Road. By this stage though as per that league table, Hibs were undeniably in decline and three years into what became 20 seasons without a major trophy. Indeed with Hearts aleady on trajectory to be Scotland's team to beat (7 major trophies in 9 seasons including 2 league titles at the end of the 1950s, Hearts put an excellent side together just as Young said above), as per that league table Hibs weren't just no longer the best team in Scotland; by this stage they weren't even the best team in Edinburgh.

Hibs in Europe in 1955/56 were in their first full season after a departure of one of their Famous Five (master craftsman Bobby Johnstone had left for Man City the previous March to score in consecutive FA Cup finals). They generally acquitted themselves well eliminating Germany's Rot-Weiss Essen and then Djurgårdens (with Hibs helped by playing that away game at Firhill instead of in Sweden). Hibs reached the semi-final where uncharacteristically poor finishing by their forwards meant they lost out 3-0 over two legs to Raymond Kopa and Stade de Reims.

That same AFC article describes those two factors at Aberdeen as the main reasons why Halliday moved on. Dons keeper, Reggie Morrison, is reported as saying:

"Halliday was a man of great integrity and a true gentleman. I was convinced that those difficulties had a bearing on his decision to leave. The fact that he was also refused a modest pay rise after winning the championship had a lot to do with his decision. It was a great disappointment to all of us who looked upon Dave Halliday for guidance and he was someone we respected."

The AFC article also reports Halliday two years later preferring to describe the positives. "My best friends were shocked to learn that I was leaving Aberdeen. I was well established at Pittodrie, we had come through some difficult times and I had helped put Aberdeen on the football map by taking them to the championship. What more could I want? A lot of this was true and I was happy in Aberdeen, but he is a poor man who ceases to have ambition and is not prepared to take a risk. I did not apply for the post but when I was invited south to discuss the matter, I mentioned this to Aberdeen chairman William Mitchell who agreed I should go and talk to Leicester."

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. Once more like Chapman with Huddersfield and Arsenal he left the club in good health. Halliday had appointed Davie Shaw as coach. On Halliday's departure, Shaw was promoted to manager. Three months after Halliday left, Aberdeen won the 1955/56 League Cup and also went on to finish second in the league. While not playing in Europe Aberdeen did play England's champions in a friendly at Pittodrie in September. They beat Chelsea 4-3. Reading too much into friendlies is fraught with risk. It seems reasonable though that this result combined with the semi-final achieved by Hibs indicates Aberdeen would very likely have been highly competitive had they played in that first European Cup. Ironically Aberdeen's first league game of the 55/56 season was at home to Hibs who they horsed 6-2 leaving those associated with Aberdeen wondering what might have been in Europe.

Leicester City

The Leicester City hot seat had been vacated by Norman Bullock in February 1955. We thank John Hutchinson, Club Historian and Archivist at Leicester 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. 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." Chapman would likely have approved.

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 he suffered a stroke at the age of 68. Again supporting the birth year listed above, The Herald on 6th January 1970 published a piece titled, "Death of Mr David Halliday". The main text began with, "Mr David Halliday, the former manager of Aberdeen and Leicester City, died yesterday in Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen. He was 68". He was survived by his second wife, Lillian, and four children, Nigel, David, Ian and Ann.

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