Dave Halliday

David Halliday (11 December 1901 – 5 January 1970)[1][2] was a Scottish association footballer and manager. He achieved numerous distinctions and high rankings as a prolific goal scoring forward with six senior clubs; St Mirren, Dundee, Sunderland, Arsenal, Manchester City and Clapton Orient. He bookended his senior career playing at then non-league Queen of the South and Yeovil and Petters United. Halliday's three goals in the FA Cup proper for Yeovil give him a career total of 368 senior goals. From being player / manager at Yeovil, he went on to win trophies managing Aberdeen and Leicester City.[1]

Dave Halliday
Personal information
Date of birth 11 December 1901
Place of birth Dumfries, Scotland
Date of death 5 January 1970(1970-01-05) (aged 68)
Position(s) Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1920 Queen of the South
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 53 (33)
1936–1937 Yeovil and Petters United
Total 449 (336)
National team
1924 Scottish League XI 1 (0)
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

He is the most recent of only two players to be outright top scorer in both Scottish and English football's top divisions with 38 Dundee goals in 1923–24 and 43 Sunderland goals in 1928–29. He is the quickest player in history to 100 goals in English football's top division, taking 101 games when at Sunderland. He is the only player to score 30 or more goals in four consecutive seasons in English football's top division (achieved again when at Sunderland). He scored at least 35 league goals in each of those four seasons. He is Sunderland's most prolific goals-per-game striker with 165 goals from 175 games. His 211 goals in English football's top division with Sunderland, Arsenal and Manchester City ranks him the 19th highest scorer at that level. Of the 27 players to have scored 200 or more goals in English football's top division, only Dixie Dean scored at a more prolific rate at that level.[1]

Managing Aberdeen, he won the 1946–47 Scottish Cup and the 1954–55 Scottish Football League. He managed Leicester City to promotion to the top division in England from winning the 1956–57 Football League Second Division.[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.[3] He firstly attended Noblehill Primary School and thereafter Dumfries Academy. Halliday then worked with car manufacturer Arrol-Johnston and played for the company's team. This side was one of three who merged to form Queen of the South in 1919. However, despite having played in the new club's trial matches, Halliday did not join Queens until 17 January 1920 as he had a brief spell with Tayleurians. After joining the club, Halliday played 19 games until the season's end in May 1920.[1]

In Queens's first season their fixtures consisted of challenge games and local cup competitions, including the Dumfries Charity Cup which was played over three weekends in May. On 8 May in the first game, Queens thrashed Dumfries 7–1. A week later they saw off Solway Star 4–0 in the semi-final. They then faced up in the final against side Dalbeattie Star.[1] A then-record crowd of 4,500 (with many others situated upon the stadium's roof) watched the game. An early Halliday shot went wide following good link up play with Ian Dickson. However it was Dalbeattie with their physical style of play who took the lead. Queens equalised through Willie McCall before Halliday's play became fruitful. One shot hit the post, another went inches wide before he put Queens ahead five minutes before half time. Connell hit a third a minute into the second half before Halliday beat Borthwick to cross for McCall who scored a fourth goal.[1]

Halliday in all scored 13 goals in 19 games for the Doonhamers while playing at outside left. In 1924 Halliday's 16-year-old brother Billy Halliday joined Queen of the South.[1]

St Mirren

Halliday was asked to sign by St Mirren after the cup final win over Dalbeattie. He requested time to consider the offer before agreeing, with a stipulation that he continued working with Arrol-Johnston and traveled to Paisley on match days. In season 1920–21, as a part-time member of the playing staff, he scored two goals in 13 league games.[1]


Halliday next joined Dundee in 1921, for whom Scotland internationalist Alex Troup played on the left wing. Halliday was thus moved to centre forwards and quickly became one of the most prolific players in the game. He finished as Scottish top scorer in 1923–24 with a return of 38 goals from his 36 top division appearances; remains the club record all-time seasonal league goalscoring record. Halliday scored in the 3-0 1924-25 Scottish Cup tie victory over Airdrieonians whose team contained Hughie Gallacher, Bob McPhail and Willie Russell. Dundee progressed to the 1925 Scottish Cup Final in which, after leading at half-time, they lost 2–1 to a last minute goal by Celtic's Jimmy McGrory.[4] Halliday scored 90 goals in 126 league appearances for the Dees, with another 13 goals from 21 Scottish Cup games in four seasons.[1]

While at Dens Park he was capped for the Scottish League XI in a 1–1 draw against the English League at Ibrox Park in March 1924.[1][5] In end-of-season tours with Dundee, Halliday scored doubles against each of Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid, Valencia CF and FC Barcelona.[1]


In 1925 he joined Sunderland who paid £4,000 for his services. Replacing Charlie Buchan in the team, Halliday instantly became even more prolific south of the border than in the north. He hit his first 100 goals for Sunderland in just 101 games, and remains the quickest player to s century of English top division league goals. His 43 goals in 1928–29 made him top scorer in England's top division that season, making him the most recent of only two players to have been outright top scorer in the top divisions of both Scotland and England (the other was David McLean). He scored at least 35 league goals in each of the four full seasons he spent at Sunderland, and is the only player at any club to score 30 or more league goals in four consecutive seasons in England's top division. His lowest full seasonal league tally of 35 goals is higher than any other Sunderland player has achieved in their best season. Hence Halliday has the top four season-by-season league goal scoring tallies at Sunderland.[1][6]

Halliday has a Sunderland goals to games ratio of 0.943, the highest of any striker in the club's history. He struck 165 goals in 175 games for the Black Cats comprising 156 league goals from 166 games and nine in nine FA Cup outings. He scored 12 Sunderland hat-tricks, more than any other player. He hit scored 4 goals in a game on three occasions. He is also Sunderland's third highest goalscorer of all time. His 165 Sunderland goals were all in his first 168 games at Roker Park before scoring in none of his last seven games.[1]

Despite Halliday's goals feats with Sunderland, he managed no better than third place in the league with the club, achieved in the 1925–26 and 1926–27 seasons.[1] While at Sunderland in November 1927, Halliday's brother Billy joined nearby rivals Newcastle United.[1]


In 1929 Halliday was signed by Arsenal. He debuted against Birmingham City on 9 November 1929. Halliday endured a relatively goalless start for him, playing in an Arsenal team off-form largely attributed at the time to injury affecting key playmaker Alex James. Manager Herbert Chapman tried different combinations in attack before James, and subsequently the rest of the team, began to find form in late January. Jack Lambert had been recalled at centre-forward. With Arsenal's form in upswing, Lambert remained Chapman's first choice for the number 9 jersey for the rest of the season with Halliday only an occasional first teamer, though he played in the 6–6 record scoring game against Leicester City on Easter Monday 21 April 1930. Halliday scored four putting him on six goals from his four most recent first team games at that point.[1]

Arsenal's next game after the Leicester match was the 1930 FA Cup Final. Chapman recalled Jack Lambert at centre-forward for the final, and the decision was vindicated with James and Lambert scoring in the 2–0 win over Chapman's previous club, Huddersfield Town. Chapman started the league campaign the next season with the five forwards from the cup final. Arsenal scored 127 goals in 42 games winning the league by seven points in the era of the two points for a win. Halliday scored regularly playing for the reserves (39 goals in 29 reserve games in his year at Arsenal), but with Lambert top scoring for the first team with 38 goals in 1930–31, Halliday stayed out of the first team.[1]

Halliday's four-goal game against Leicester was his last Arsenal first team appearance. He scored 8 goals in 15 games for Arsenal (and also played in a game against Middlesbrough which was abandoned after 55 minutes and hence is not counted in official statistics).[1][7]

Manchester City

Halliday signed for Manchester City in November 1930, a year after joining Arsenal, for a fee of £5,700.[3] At City, Halliday hit 47 goals in 76 league games as well as four goals from six cup appearances that took City to the 1931–32 FA Cup semi-finals when they lost to a last-minute Arsenal goal. He scored a hat-trick against former club Sunderland in just ten minutes in January 1932. Halliday though missed the 1933 FA Cup Final, which City lost to Everton.[1]

Clapton Orient

He saw out his senior playing career with Clapton Orient between December 1933 and June 1935. He top scored for Orient in both seasons in which he played there despite arriving in late December. In his 18 months there he hit 36 strikes in 56 competitive first team games.[1]

Yeovil & Petters United

After leaving Orient, Halliday became player-manager of non-league Yeovil & Petters United. He top scored in both his full seasons there with 22 and 47 goals respectively. He also scored a further three goals in the FA Cup proper. In that run they defeated Ipswich Town and Gainsborough Trinity to reach the third round playing against Manchester United at Old Trafford. He had already reached agreement between Yeovil and Aberdeen that he would take over as Aberdeen manager immediately after the Manchester United tie.[1]

Playing statistics, records and rankings

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 368 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 the season and a half with Clapton Orient in the Third South were scored in the top flight in both Scotland and England.[1]

  • In the IFFHS list of the most successful top division goalscorers of all time (updated in 2008 from their previous list published in 1996), Halliday was 54th in the world with 303 from 396 top flight games in Scotland and England (at least four players have since exceeded Halliday's top flight goal tally including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi).[1]
  • Fastest player to 100 English Top Division Goals: 101 games[1]
  • Only player to score at least 30 English top division goals in 4 consecutive seasons: 1925-1929 at Sunderland[1]
  • 19th highest scorer in English football's top division: 211 goals at Sunderland, Arsenal and Manchester City[1]
  • Second most prolific English football goals per game strike rate of the 27 players to score 200 or more English top division goals at that level: 0.82 goals per game behind Dixie Dean's 0.86 goals per game[1]
  • In 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.[1]
  • Sunderland highest all time season by season league goal scoring positions, Halliday takes all 4 top slots: 1) 1928-29, 43 goals; 2) 1925-26, 38 goals; 3) 1926-27, 36 goals; 4) 1927-28, 35 goals[1]
  • Sunderland most prolific goals per game striker: 165 goals from 175 = 0.943 goals per game[1]
  • Sunderland all-time highest goal scorers: 3rd[1]
  • Sunderland player with the highest number of scoring three goals in a game: 1st (12 three goal games). He also scored 4 goals in a game 3 times[1]
  • His 211 English top division goals make him the highest scorer at that level never to receive a full international cap. He was consistently overlooked by the selectors for the Scottish national side, usually in favour of another player who started at Queen of the South, Hughie Gallacher. The only other player to score 200 English top division goals and never receive an international cap is Leicester's Arthur Chandler.[1]
  • Dundee highest all time seasonal league goals record: 38 (1923–24)[1]

Dave Halliday goals at senior clubs:-

SeasonClubLeague appearancesLeague goalsCup appearancesCup goalsTotal appearancesTotal goals
1920–21St Mirren13200132
1930–31Manchester City2414102514
1931–32Manchester City4028544532
1932–33Manchester City830083
1933–34Manchester City420042
1933–34Clapton Orient2119102219
1934–35Clapton Orient3214233417

Dave Halliday goals at then non-senior teams:-

1919–20Queen of the South1913
1935–1938Yeovil and Petters United ? ?
  • Halliday's three goals for Yeovil in the FA Cup proper give him a career total of 368 senior goals



Halliday was appointed manager of Aberdeen on 22 December 1937 but did not take over the reins until after Yeovil's FA Cup tie at Manchester United in January 1938. He led the Dons to a 3–2 victory against Rangers in the 1945–46 Southern League Cup Final; this a national competition in all but name and predecessor to the Scottish League Cup launched the season after. Halliday then guided Aberdeen to 1946–47 Scottish Cup success, defeating the emerging Hibernian team who were on course to become Scottish league champions in three of the next five seasons. This was the first major trophy won by the club. He returned to the Scottish Cup Final again in 1953, losing a replay 1–0 to Rangers, then in 1954 was Scottish Cup runner-up again, this time losing 2–1 to Celtic. He led Aberdeen to their first-ever Scottish Football League title in 1954–55. Only Alex Ferguson has since taken Aberdeen to the Scottish League title.[1][3]

Leicester City

After leaving Aberdeen in 1955 he spent three years at the helm of Leicester City, guiding them to the 1956–57 Second Division title. Although Halliday left in 1958, the 1957 promotion was the beginning of Leicester's longest run to date in the England's top division, 12 seasons.[1]

After management

Halliday returned to the Aberdeen area and scouted for Leicester City in northeast Scotland. He died on 5 January 1970, aged 68.[1][2]



Queen of the South

  • Dumfries Charity Cup: 1919–20[8]



Yeovil and Petters Utd[9]


Leicester City[1]


  • Scottish Top Division Golden Boot: 1924[1]
  • English Top Division Golden Boot: 1929[1]
  • Most recent of only two players to have been outright top scorer in both the Scottish and English top divisions
  • Sunderland AFC Hall of Fame Inductee 2020

Managerial statistics

As of 6 December 2013
Team Nat From To Record
Yeovil and Petters United England 1936 1937
Aberdeen Scotland 1937 1955 3861886513348.7
Leicester City England 1955 1958 14564275444.14
  • no statistics available for Yeovil and Petters United.

See also


  1. Dave Halliday full career profile on www.qosfc.com
  2. Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Soccerdata. ISBN 1-899468-67-6.
  3. "1937–1955 Dave Halliday". Manager Profile. Aberdeen Official Site. 5 February 2007. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  4. 1924–25 Scottish Cup Final line ups and stats at Scottish FA Archive
  5. "[SFL player] David Halliday". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  6. "The Queens" by Iain McCartney on Creedon Publications, 2004
  7. "Dave Halliday". Arsenal.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  8. "Legends - Dave Halliday". QOSFC. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  9. "Halliday, Dave". YTFC Digital. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  10. "PART TEN SEASON 1937-1938: PETTERS 'PEPPER' SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY". Glover's Cast. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  11. "PART NINE SEASON 1935-1936 : DAVID HALLIDAY TAKES OVER AS MANAGER". Glover's Cast. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  • Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony (ed.). 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.