Bobby Davidson’s first match for Arsenal 20 February 1935

By Tony Attwood

Bobby was first spotted in 1931, playing for local club a Fife team called Bowhill Rovers.  He moved on to St Bernards in Edinburgh, who, according to the site St Johnston Legends was thought to be “the next Alex James”.

In March 1933 Saint Johnston bought him, although local commentaries noted he was only five feet five inches tall.  The St Johnston site also notes that he had “outstanding skills.  In addition, he had a kick like a mule and long-range shooting was a speciality which made him particularly popular with the Muirton fans and not very popular with opposing goalkeepers.”

Bobby played against Arsenal in the friendly at Muirton in September 1934 and was selected for the Scottish League team against the Irish League a few weeks later.

Arsenal offered £4,000 and on 1st February 1935 he moved to Arsenal.

He made his first appearance on 20 February 1935 against Stoke and his last appearance on 30 October 1937 against Middlesbrough.  (This last was a bit of a clear-out game for Herbie Roberts also made his last appearance that day as did Ray Bowden.

All in all Bobby played 63 games and scored 15 goals for Arsenal during his short spell with the club and played his part in the 1935 league championship side under George Allison.  The high point of his career at Arsenal was four goals in the 5-1 victory over Portsmouth in December 1936.

He was transferred to Coventry City in exchange for Leslie Jones.

We may wonder why such a promising player was transferred so readily.  The answer may be in his personality.  The St Johnston site notes that he had quite a mouth on him, and that he was constantly in trouble with refs.  Maybe Arsenal had the same problem with him.

The line up for the first match Bobby Davidson played for Arsenal:

Goalkeeper Frank Moss

Full back George Male

Left back Eddie Hapgood

Right half Jack Crayston

Centre half Norman William Sidey

Left half Wilf Copping

Wing half Frank Hill (1 goal)

Outside right Ralph Birkett

Centre forward Ted Drake

Inside forward Robert Trimming Davidson (1 goal)

Inside left Peter Dougall


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