Dai Davies (footballer, born 1880)

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David Davies
Personal information
Full name David Davies
Nickname Dai
Born 1880
Llanelli, Wales
Died June 1944 (aged 63–64)
Manchester, England
Playing information
Weight 12 st 2 lb (77 kg)
Rugby union
Position Half-backs
Years Team Pld T G FG P
≤1899–99 Llanelli RFC
Rugby league
Position The halves
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1899–02 Swinton
1900–02 Salford 43 10 7 44
1910–≥10 Swinton
≤1913–13 Leigh
Total 43 10 7 0 44
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1900–01 Lancashire 3 1 3
1910 Wales 1
As of 10 May 2012
Personal information
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1902–1910 Bolton Wanderers[1] 123 (0)
National team
1904–1908 Wales 3 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

David "Dai" Davies (1880 – June 1944) born in Llanelli, was a Welsh rugby union, professional rugby league, and association football player of the 1890s, 1900s, and 1910s, playing club level rugby union (RU) for Llanelli RFC, playing representative level rugby league (RL) for Wales, and Lancashire, and at club level for Swinton (twice), and Leigh, and playing representative level association football for Wales, and at club level for Bolton Wanderers, as a goalkeeper.[2] Dai Davies is the only person to have appeared in both the rugby league Challenge Cup Final and the association football FA Cup Final,[3] and is one of the very few, perhaps the only, footballer to play for Wales at both international association football and international rugby league. Davies died in Manchester.

Rugby union club career[edit]

Davies was part of the Llanelli team captained by Owen Badger that lost only once in 31 matches in the 1896–97 season; he scored a try in the win over Newport in February 1897 that was described by the Daily Chronicle as being for "the club championship of the United Kingdom".[3]

Rugby league club career[edit]

The Swinton club secretary, J. W. Scholes, had gone to Llaneli to try to encourage the disenchanted Owen Badger to return to Swinton, while there, he saw Dai Davies play for Llaneli RFC, and contracts were signed on a Llanelli shop window.[3] Davies received £20; £5 in advance, and a further £15 on arrival in Swinton.[4] (based on increases in average earnings, this would be approximately £7,380 in 2013)[5]

International honours[edit]

Davies won caps for Wales (association football) in 1904 against Scotland (1–1),[6] and Ireland (0–1),[7] and in 1908 against England (1–7)[8] as a half-time substitute for the injured Stoke City goalkeeper Leigh Richmond Roose who was replaced until half-time by defender Charlie Morris. Roose had been injured in the fifteenth minute following a shoulder-charge by Vivian Woodward; Davies was attending the match as a spectator and at half time, with Wales four goals down, the Football Association officials and Woodward, the England captain, allowed Davies to play in goal for the remainder of the match.[4]

He also won a cap for Wales (RL) while at Swinton in the 13–39 defeat by England at Coventry on 10 December 1910.[9]

Challenge Cup final appearance[edit]

Davies played, and scored a try, in Swinton's 16–8 victory over Salford in the 1900 Challenge Cup Final during the 1899–1900 season at Fallowfield Stadium, Manchester.[3]

County Cup final appearance[edit]

Davies played, and was captain, in Swinton's 3–4 defeat by Oldham in the 1910 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1910–11 season at Wheater's Field, Broughton, Salford on Saturday 3 December 1910.[3]

Bolton Wanderers[edit]

Davies joined Bolton Wanderers of the Football League First Division in the summer of 1902, having only attended one Association Football match and never having handled an association ball.[4] Davies was a "tough individual" and in a contemporaneous report it was climed that he "excelled in the dangerous and difficult task of diving headlong at an incoming forward's feet and whisking the ball away as he curled up and rolled to safety". A later report said that "in his indifference to cuts and bruises he was characteristic of the age he was playing in".[4] At the end of Davies' first season with the Burnden Park club, they were relegated to the Second Division.

A year later, in April 1904, Davies played in goal in Bolton's 0–1 defeat by Manchester City in the FA Cup Final at Crystal Palace, London. Despite being on the losing side, Davies "had a good match" and made a number of fine saves;[4] he was only beaten once, by fellow Welsh international, Billy Meredith.[10]

Bolton returned to the First Division in 1905 for three years, before spending 1908–09 back in the Second Division. In 1909, they again returned to the top flight as Second Division champions, but were again relegated in 1910; by then, however, Davies had brought his soccer career to an end, returning to Rugby League with Swinton in December 1909.[4]


Davies was the brother of the Swinton rugby league footballer, Daniel "Dan" Davies.[3]

Outside of sport[edit]

Davies retired from rugby age 33, and served with his brother in the 2nd Salford battalion (Swinton Pals), the 19th Lancashire Fusiliers during World War I, spending time in a French hospital due to an illness unrelated to the fighting.[3] Davies organised the sporting activities for the 'Swinton Pals' at their First World War training camp in North Wales. After the war Davies assisted Swinton Park ARLFC.[11]


Bolton Wanderers


Dai Davies played at Swinton in the same era as, but he was not related to, David B. Davies.


  1. ^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: Tony Brown. p. 69. ISBN 1-899468-67-6. 
  2. ^ Williams, Graham; Lush, Peter; Farrar, David (2009). The British Rugby League Records Book. London League. pp. 108–114. ISBN 978-1-903659-49-6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Dai Davies – All Round Sportsman". World War I Talk. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2010. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Davies, Gareth; Garland, Ian (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Soccer Players. Bridge Books. pp. 35–36. ISBN 1-872424-11-2. 
  5. ^ "Measuring Worth – Relative Value of UK Pounds". Measuring Worth. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Scotland 1–1 Wales". Welsh Football Data Archive. 12 March 1904. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Wales 0–1 Ireland". Welsh Football Data Archive. 21 March 1904. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Wales 1–7 England". Welsh Football Data Archive. 16 March 1908. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "FA Cup Final 1904". www.fa-cupfinals.co.uk. 23 April 1904. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Lions' Tales – Documenting the Voices of Swinton RLFC". swintonlionsrlc.co.uk. 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2010. 

External links[edit]