The remarkable career of Hull City's Andy Davidson
Anniversary of record holder's debut
8 September ~ Sixty years ago today a 20-year-old Scotsman made his debut at centre-forward for Hull City, beginning a remarkable one-club career. Andy Davidson, a brash and hard kid from Lanarkshire, went on to make 520 League appearances for the Tigers until 1967. There are a number of notable things about Davidson's career that make his eventual tally of games, a club record that will probably never be beaten, a momentous achievement. A Celtic-mad boy, he only ended up a Hull City player because his older brother David, a lorry driver, asked for a trial with the club while making a delivery near Boothferry Park.
Successful with the trial, he immediately suggested that his 14-year-old brother was summoned too. By the age of 16, Davidson minor was a non-playing observer travelling with Raich Carter's first-team squad.
Davidson suffered two broken legs in his teens and a third shortly after making his first-team debut. That he came back from one such injury during a period when medical prognoses were less assured was laudable; to do so three times was nigh-on miraculous.
His debut as a centre-forward was purely due to a severe shortage of other options for manager Bob Brocklebank and he settled into life as an outstanding right-back without ever actually enjoying his role. Davidson arguably remains the greatest right-back the club have ever had but in the days of 2-3-5 he loathed the lack of usefulness to the side he felt he had, much preferring to be at wing-half.
Having survived broken legs it was a simple pulled muscle that ended his career at 35, when he felt like he could have gone on for a few more years. By then the Tigers had their record-breaking strike duo of Chris Chilton and Ken Wagstaff – 252 League goals for the club as a partnership, 366 on aggregate – and Davidson could have adopted a laid back stance in his reluctant defensive role, should he have ever wished to.
In November 1967 he pulled a muscle at Aston Villa and, after several weeks of trying to shake it off, he was told that the previous breaks to the leg in question had weakened the healing process too much. Davidson retired from playing, joined the coaching staff and stayed with the club until 1979.
One-club men are rarer than you imagine. Of all those players who did 15 and more years with Leeds United in the 1960s and 1970s, only Jack Charlton and Paul Madeley actually played for nobody else. Davidson is 80 now and has lived a very quiet retirement in a village to the west of Hull ever since he left Boothferry Park. He is unique to his club and his very special anniversary this weekend should be noted by English football as a whole. Matthew Rudd
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