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Dave Halliday
Personal information
Date of birth 11 December 1901(1901-12-11)
Place of birth Dumfries, Scotland
Date of death 1 January 1970 (aged 68)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1920-1920 Queen of the South 0
1920-1921 St Mirren 13 (2)
1921-1925 Dundee 126 (90)
1925-1929 Sunderland 166 (156)
1929-1930 Arsenal 15 (8)
1930-1933 Manchester City 76 (47)
1933-1935 Clapton Orient 55 (33)
1936-1937 Yeovil and Petters United ?
Teams managed
1936-1937 Yeovil and Petters United
1937-1955 Aberdeen
1955-1958 Leicester City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

David "Dave" Halliday (11 December 1901 – January 1970) was a Scottish footballing prolific goalscorer and trophy winning manager. His 38 goals in 1923-24 made him top scorer in Scotland's top flight that season and 43 goals in 1928–29 gave him the same distinction in England's top flight that season. He scored 376 senior goals as well as scoring at two then non-league clubs. As a manager only Halliday and Alex Ferguson have guided Aberdeen to be Scottish champions.[1]




Early years and Queen of the South

Dave Halliday was born in Dumfries and started in local schools football where he featured on the left wing.[2] He attended Noblehill primary being going to 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 Queens until the end of the season in May 1920 Halliday played 19 games.[1]

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

A then record crowd of 4500 (many watching from the grandstand roof and other such 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 to bring up a 4-1 final score.[1]

Halliday scored 13 goals in his 19 games at outside left for the Doonhamers in 1920. Unsurprisingly he attracted the attention of other clubs. He was offered terms by St Mirren after the cup final win over Dalbeattie. Halliday 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.[1]

Along with Halliday and Dickson two others who played in the earliest years for fledgling Queens were Hughie Gallacher and Willie Ferguson.[3] All four would enjoy successful careers in England's top division.

Later in 1924 Halliday's 16 year old brother Billy Halliday joined Queen of the South.[1]

St Mirren

Halliday moved to St Mirren where he scored twice in 13 league games.[4]


Dave Halliday went then to Dundee in 1921 where the celebrated Alec Troup played on the left wing. Dundee moved Halliday to centre forward; and so a goal scoring phenomenon was unleashed.[1]

Finding goal scoring second nature he became one of the most prolific centre forwards in the game, finishing 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. With Dundee he reached the Scottish Cup final in 1924-25 eliminating the holders en route, the Airdrieonians side of Hughie Gallacher. Halliday in total scored 90 goals in just 126 appearances league appearances for the Dees.[1]

While he was with the Dens Park club he was capped for the Scottish League in the 1-1 draw against the English League at Ibrox Park in March 1924.[1]


In 1925 Sunderland paid £4,000 for his services. Replacing Charlie Buchan in the team, Halliday soon became equally prolific South of the border as North, scoring at least 35 league goals in each of the four full seasons spent at Sunderland. His 43 goals in 1928-29 made him top scorer in England's top division that season. This remains Sunderland's highest number of league goals scored by one player in a season in the club's history. Halliday hit his first 100 goals for Sunderland in just 101 games.[1]

Dave Halliday has the best strike rate (goals to games ratio) of any Sunderland striker in that club’s history: 165 goals in 175 games (156 league goals from 166 games, and nine in nine FA Cup outings) for an average of 0.943 goals per game. Only Charlie Buchan and all-time Sunderland top scorer Bobby Gurney have scored more goals for the club than Halliday. Halliday has scored more hat-tricks (12) than any other Sunderland player, and he hit four on three occasions.[1]

Despite Halliday's goals trophies proved elusive with Sunderland, and he managed no better than third place with the club, which was achieved in 1925-26 and 1926-27.

While at Sunderland in November 1927 Dave's brother Billy joined nearby rivals Newcastle United.[1]


In 1929 he was signed by Arsenal as an intended replacement for Jack Lambert, making his debut against Birmingham City on 9 November 1929. Halliday scored a comparatively modest number of goals in 1929-30 with 8 goals in 15 games (including four in a 6-6 draw with Leicester City). However, he was dropped towards the end of the season in favour of Lambert, and missed out on the 1930 FA Cup Final, which saw Arsenal claim their first major trophy.[1]

Manchester City

Dave Halliday signed for Manchester City only a year after joining Arsenal. At City Halliday regained his scoring form, hitting 47 goals in 76 league games as well as four goals from six cup appearances. At Man City he scored a hat-trick against former club Sunderland in just ten minutes in January 1932. Halliday missed the 1933 Cup Final, which City lost to Everton.[1]

Clapton Orient

He saw out his senior playing career with Clapton Orient between 1933 and 1935, where he was still a regular goalscorer, with 33 strikes in 53 matches.[1]

Yeovil & Petters United

After leaving Orient, Dave Halliday became player-manager of non-league Yeovil & Petters United. He also scored a further three goals in the FA Cup proper for Yeovil & Petters United before taking over as Aberdeen manager in 1938.[1]

Playing summary

Excluding Queen of the South figures as they were non league until 1923/24 Dave Halliday scored 92 league goals in Scotland in 139 appearances and a further 13 in 21 Scottish Cup appearances. In England he scored 244 league goals in 310 appearances and a further 19 FA Cup goals in an unknown number of appearances (16 while with league clubs) for a total of 376 first class goals. It is worth noting that a large chunk of his career was spent playing under the old offside rule and that all his league goals bar those two seasons with Clapton Orient in the Third South were scored in the top flight in both Scotland and England.[1]

He was never once picked for the Scottish national side, being consistently overlooked in favour of another player who started at Queen of the South, Hughie Gallacher.[1]

Dave Halliday goals at senior clubs:-

Season Club League appearances League goals Cup appearances Cup goals Total appearances Total goals
1920/21 St Mirren 13 2 0 0 13 2
1921/22 Dundee 28 23 3 2 31 25
1922/23 Dundee 26 10 8 5 34 13
1923/24 Dundee 36 38 3 1 39 39
1924/25 Dundee 36 19 7 5 43 24
1925/26 Sunderland 42 38 4 4 46 42
1926/27 Sunderland 33 36 1 1 34 37
1927/28 Sunderland 38 35 3 4 41 39
1928/29 Sunderland 42 43 1 0 43 43
1929/30 Sunderland 11 4 0 0 11 4
1929/30 Arsenal 15 8 0 0 15 8
1930/31 Man City 24 14 1 0 25 14
1931/32 Man City 40 28 5 4 45 42
1932/33 Man City 8 3 0 0 8 3
1933/34 Man City 4 2 0 0 4 2
1933/34 Clapton Orient 21 19 1 0 22 19
1934/35 Clapton Orient 32 14 2 3 34 17
(1921-36) (Totals) (449) (336) (39) (29) (488) (373)

Dave Halliday goals at then non senior teams:-

Season(s) Club Appearances Goals
1919/20 Queen of the South 19 13
1936-1938 Yeovil and Petters United  ?  ?



Dave Halliday returned to his native Scotland in December 1937 to become manager of Aberdeen. In April 1938 he 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 emerge as a player of real quality. However it was not until after the Second World War when national trophies started to arrive at Pittodrie for the first time thus securing Halliday's place in the Aberdeen Hall of Fame. Aberdeen won the 1945-46 League Cup (although this was a reduced version of the League Cup, and does not appear in all official records), and the 1946-47 Scottish Cup with the inspirational George Hamilton scoring in the final; Aberdeen also reached the League Cup final that year. As well as reaching two more Scottish Cup Finals in 1952-53 and 1953-54, Aberdeen won the 1954-55 First Division title. In Dave Halliday's eighteen-year stint in charge of the Dons he was the club's most successful manager before the arrival of Alex Ferguson.[1]

Leicester City

After leaving Aberdeen he spent three years at the helm of Leicester City, guiding them to a Second Division title and promotion in 1956-57. Although Halliday left the Leicester job in 1958 the 1957 promotion proved to be the start of the club's longest ever top division run ending in 1969.[1]

After football

Dave Halliday retired from football after Leicester City. He died in 1970, aged 68.


  • Harris, Jeff & Hogg, Tony (ed.) (1995). Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4.  
  • Webster, Jack (2003). The First 100 years of The Dons: The official history of Aberdeen Football Club 1903 - 2003. Hodder & Stoughton, London. ISBN 0-340-82344-5.  


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