Football: Ex-All White honoured in Dundee

By Stuart Whitaker

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Former All Whites goalkeeper Sandy Davie has been inducted into the Dundee United Football Club Hall of Fame. Photo / John Borren
Former All Whites goalkeeper Sandy Davie has been inducted into the Dundee United Football Club Hall of Fame. Photo / John Borren

Goalkeeper Sandy Davie faced football royalty in his playing days - George Best, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Geoff Hurst.

He also faced off against the best goalkeepers of the day - Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton and Pat Jennings.

The Scotsman, who came to New Zealand in the mid-1970s, played professionally in Scotland and England, and was also All Whites goalkeeper in the late 1970s after sitting out the eligibility waiting period while plying his trade in the then National League.

Davie, who now lives in Bethlehem, recently returned to his native Dundee to be inducted into the Dundee United Hall of Fame.

It was in April 1962 that, as a 16-year-old, he made his debut for the club after spending his youth supporting the city's other, more illustrious, team - simply Dundee.

"I can remember a little bit about it - I remember we lost the game 4-2 [to Partick Thistle]," he said.

A local newspaper report from the time said he had no chance with any of the four goals and, that aside, he was confident and handled well.

"I always used to go and watch Dundee play because Dundee were the dominant side. Dundee United were like the poor neighbours in the lower division," he said.

"I actually tried out for both Dundee and Dundee United when I was 15 - I also tried out for West Ham United. It was the time when Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst - all those guys who won the World Cup in 1966 - were getting into the team.

"For me it was like going to another planet - so I decided, okay I'm not going to do that."

He had offers from both Dundee clubs, but picked United as they would put him straight into the second team.

"I thought - 'I'm 15-and-a-half, lets see if I'm any good', so I went and played with them for the season - and at the end of that season, that's when I got into the first team because of an injury to the first team keeper."

He spent time at Luton Town, then an up-and-coming club with comedian Eric Morecambe as chairman, and Southampton where he struggled to break into the first team, before rejoining Dundee United at the start of what proved to be a golden age for the club.

"I was fortunate to be there when we got a [Scottish FA Cup] run going and I played in the final, which was the club's first ever cup final [losing 3-0 to powerhouses Celtic]. There was also the first time club went on tour [to Africa] and I played against Barcelona in the Inter-cities Fairs Cup."

Incredibly Dundee United beat the Spanish giants in both the home and away legs.

In all, Davie spent nine years at Dundee United, playing almost 200 games.

He was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame in recognition of his professionalism, loyalty and significant contribution to the club.

Davie arrived in New Zealand in 1974, after deciding it was a better place for his children, making his All Whites debut in 1979 in a 3-0 win over Fiji. Domestically he played for North Shore, Mount Albert and Napier City Rovers.

"And then the body said 'enough'."

He then went into coaching in Australia, the US and then with New Zealand Football.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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