Sunday, 5 February 2012

Jim's column 21.1.12

Jamie Scott was in touch recently seeking some information about his great grandfather, George Anthony Davison who he believed played for Coventry City in the years preceding World War One. Jamie did have information on his relative’s First World War career though.

With the help of fellow City historians Martin and Paul O’Connor and Stephen Byrne I was able to give Jamie some details about his great-grandfather. According to the birth, deaths and marriages information there was a George Alexander Davison born in 1890 in Tynemouth, near Newcastle. If this is him (which seems more than probable), it would suggest that the entry in the 1891 census is also him: aged one, living at 21 Stoney Row, Wallsend, with his parents William Albert Davison (37, carpenter, born London) and Mary Eleanor Davison (19, born Northumberland). I have asked the family if this tallies with their account, as it might clear up the confusion with the middle name.

Before joining Coventry City in the close season of 1913 Davison had played for  North East side Bedlington United, Watford and Blyth Spartans. He played just one season for City and made 38 appearances in their Southern League side, scoring 18 goals plus one FA Cup game (and one goal). He was leading scorer for the club that season but could not stop City being relegated to Southern League Division Two.

Apparently he had been a 'prolific' scorer for Blyth before his arrival at Highfield Road. In his penultimate game he scored a hat-trick against Watford.
In the summer of 1914 he joined Bristol Rovers and continued to score goals in Southern League Division One netting 20 goals in 57 games.

Jamie, who despite being born in the North East now lives in Coventry, takes up the story:

‘After moving to Bristol Rovers George joined the Durham Light Infantry and at some stage went to the Western Front, where he was wounded at the Battle of the Somme. He got caught by some shrapnel, which injured one of his legs, with worse damage being averted by a 1915 penny in his trousser pocket which deflected some of it. My mother still has the penny which is bent in half and has a hole plumb in the middle of it. This explains why he dropped out of professional football after the war but continued to play.

My granny told me a story of how, when she was a small child she was in the crowd at a match – she’s not sure if it was at Coventry or Bristol Rovers. She was in her mother’s arms and was waving  her arms about and knocked the hat off a man in front of her. The chap got nasty and George jumped into the crowd and chinned him. An early Cantona?

Interestingly, my father was an exceptional keeper and apparently got offered a contract by Tottenham when he was in the Royal Marines, but declined. He played in an inter-forces cup competition and claimed to concede only one goal, a penalty in the final, and got his nose popped by his captain for letting the side down. My oldest nephew  was a schoolboy with Forest, but now opens bat for Yorkshire CC and England Lions ( wearing Michael Vaughan's which he gave him when he retired as he grew up with their dad in Sheffield), and his younger brother has a place at the M.C.C. academy starting in the coming season. Joe and Billy Root. Keep an eye out for them. Unfortunately, it seems that the gene pool saved all the good ones up for the lads as I am the clumsiest, most dyspraxic unco-ordinated idiot you've ever met. There you go.’

After the war he must have moved back to the North East as he is recorded as playing for West Stanley FC, a now defunct club who played in the Northern League.

No comments:

Post a Comment