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David Narey
Personal information
Full name David Alan Narey
Date of birth 12 June, 1956 (age 52)
Place of birth Dundee, Scotland
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Playing position Central Defender
Youth career
St Columba's BC
1972–1973 Dundee United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1994 Dundee United 612 (22)
1994–1995 Raith Rovers 021 0(1)
National team
1977–1988 Scotland 035 0(1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

David Alan Narey, MBE (born 12 June, 1956 in Dundee) is a former Scottish international footballer, who spent 21 years with Dundee United F.C., coinciding with United's most successful era, under the management of Jim McLean. Many considered Narey to be the most naturally talented member of the side during these years. Although best remembered as a central defender, he was equally comfortable in a midfield position.

Contents

Club career

Dave Narey was 15 years old and playing for St. Columba's Boys Club in Dundee when he first signed schoolboy forms for Dundee United in January 1972, just a month after McLean had become manager. He joined the club professionally in May 1973, and such was his progress that he was promoted to the first team squad within months, making his debut against Falkirk in November that year.

Ironically, the first appearance of the man who would become one of the most revered players in Dundee United's history was made in front of the club's lowest post-war attendance. The original match against Falkirk had been abandoned due to fog, and the power restrictions resulting from the Three-Day Week forbade the use of floodlights for the replay, which went ahead on a Wednesday afternoon. Only 1,250 people were inside Tannadice that day.

Narey's career may have begun inauspiciously, but he soon established himself as a regular in the United midfield, one of a group of talented youngsters groomed by McLean that also included Andy Gray and Paul Sturrock. International recognition came Narey's way with his inclusion in the Scotland Under-23 side (and later the Under-21 team which replaced it). By 1976 Narey had been moved to a more defensive role and when McLean experimented by fielding striker Paul Hegarty alongside him at the back, an effective partnership had been found that would help lead Dundee United to unprecedented success over the following decade.

Narey's form meant that there were numerous clubs interested in acquiring his services. Most notably, Derby County assistant manager Frank Blunstone was fined for making an illegal approach to Narey in 1978. Settled in his home town, and with McLean building one of the best teams in Scotland, Narey showed no interest in leaving Tannadice, and his loyalty to Dundee United was rewarded when he helped the club to their first ever major trophy, lifting the Scottish League Cup in (1979–1980) after victory over Aberdeen.

More success followed a year later, United defeating local rivals Dundee to retain the trophy. In 1983, Narey was a virtual ever present as United won the Scottish League title for the only time to date. Another career highlight came with Dundee United's run to the final of the UEFA Cup in 1987, despite their eventual defeat. With Paul Hegarty often absent through injury, Dave Narey captained the team for most of the campaign, including the second leg of the final against IFK Göteborg at Tannadice.

The following year, Narey's service to United was recognised when he received a testimonial match against Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite some injury problems in his later years, Narey continued to be an important player up until his release by Dundee United in 1994. For the 1994-95 season, he joined Raith Rovers, helping them to the First Division title and also, unexpectedly, adding another League Cup winners medal to his collection after Raith's shock final victory over Celtic on penalties, where his performance was rewarded with the Man Of The Match award.

These successes allowed Narey to end his career on a fitting high as he announced his retirement in 1995.

International career

Dave Narey made his full international debut as a substitute against Sweden at Hampden in April 1977. This was the first time ever that a Dundee United player had represented Scotland at full international level, an occasion the club marked by flying the Lion Rampant over Tannadice.

Although Scotland manager Ally MacLeod named Narey in his provisional pool of players for the 1978 World Cup he didn't make the final squad. Although Narey would regularly be selected for international duty over the next decade, competition for places meant he was never an automatic starting choice. Many of his appearances were out of his regular club position, either at right back or in midfield.

United fans were disappointed that the Hegarty-Narey partnership was never given the opportunity to thrive at international level, being utilised only once by the national team, against Northern Ireland in 1983.

Narey was fielded at right back during the 1982 World Cup where he played in all three of Scotland's matches, including his most celebrated appearance. Against Brazil in Seville, Narey gave Scotland an unexpected lead with a superb long range shot, and, although they ultimately lost 4-1, the goal was infamously described as a 'toepoke' by commentator Jimmy Hill. It proved to be his first and last international goal. Narey also played in two of Scotland's matches at the 1986 World Cup. His 35th and final appearance for Scotland was against Cyprus in February 1989.

Narey was awarded the MBE for services to football in 1992.

Career statistics

Club Season League Cup Lg Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dundee United 1973-74 12 0 - - - 12 0
1974-75 31 6 3 0 6 0 4 1 44 7
1975-76 33 0 1 0 6 1 3 2 43 3
1976-77 32 2 1 0 6 0 - 39 2
1977-78 35 0 4 0 8 1 2 0 49 1
1978-79 36 5 1 0 2 0 2 0 41 5
1979-80 35 1 1 0 9 0 4 0 49 1
1980-81 32 0 7 1 11 1 4 0 54 2
1981-82 34 1 5 0 11 0 8 2 58 3
1982-83 36 5 1 0 10 3 8 1 55 9
1983-84 34 1 4 0 9 0 7 0 54 1
1984-85 29 1 6 0 5 0 6 0 46 1
1985-86 35 0 5 0 5 0 6 0 51 0
1986-87 33 0 7 0 4 0 10 0 54 0
1987-88 39 0 9 0 3 0 3 0 54 0
1988-89 34 0 6 0 4 0 3 0 47 0
1989-90 31 0 5 0 2 0 3 0 41 0
1990-91 4 0 - - 2 0 6 0
1991-92 25 0 - 2 0 - 27 0
1992-93 28 0 1 0 2 0 - 31 0
1993-94 6 0 2 0 3 0 1 0 12 0
Total 612 22 69 1 108 6 76 6 865 35
Raith Rovers 1994-95 21 1 N/A N/A - 21 1
Total 21 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 21 1
Career total 633 23 69 1 108 6 76 6 886 36

Honours

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Dundee United

1982-83
1979-80, 1980-81

Raith Rovers

1994-95
1994-95

External links


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