Away From The Numbers

FOLKLORE LEGENDS:

DAVIE DUNCAN

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Davie Duncan
On Friday 11th January 1991, East Fife Football Club sadly lost one of it's greatest ever players with the death of Davie Duncan. It really says something about a player when he is still fondly remembered by those older fans at Bayview many years after his East Fife career ended and years after his death. You have to be a special player for this to happen and Davie Duncan certainly was.

Davie was born in 1921 in Milton of Balgonie. He started his senior career with Raith Rovers in 1939 and two seasons later he signed for Celtic. Davie joined East Fife during wartime and made his debut for the Fife on August 14th 1943 in the local derby against his former club Raith Rovers. Davie scored on his debut, instantly endearing himself to the Fife faithful and signalling to them what was to lie ahead in seasons to come from the ever-dangerous outside-left and expert penalty taker.

The early post-war years which produced those great East Fife sides, saw Davie Duncan as a very important member, with the famous forward lines of Adams, D. Davidson, Morris, J. Davidson and Duncan, and Fleming, Morris, Brown and Duncan terrorising defences throughout Scotland.

Davie Duncan from a cigarette card
The 1947/48 season was undoubtedly Davie's best season.

On October 25th 1947, 52,781 fans at Hampden watched as East Fife and Falkirk fought out a 0-0 draw (after extra time) in the League Cup Final. Seven days later, 30,664 fans watched the replay and saw Davie tear Falkirk apart on his way to scoring a hat-trick in that famous 4-1 triumph. Not only did Davie help East Fife become the first (and only) Second Division side to lift the trophy (matching our Scottish Cup claim to fame), he also became the first of only eight players to score a hat-trick in a Scottish League Cup final.

Davie's fine form for the Fife during this season saw him gain International recognition. This first came with an Inter-league "cap" in the annual Scottish League v English League match, with Davie playing at St James' Park, Newcastle in a match which ended 1-1, in front of 64,000 fans.

Full International honours were to follow for Davie just a few months later in May 1948. Davie made his full International debut at Hampden against Belgium and scored a goal in a 2-0 win. Two further caps were soon to follow. He made his second appearance for Scotland in Switzerland, in a 2-1 defeat. His final appearance in a Scotland jersey came in a 3-0 defeat away to France. Although Davie was never to make another full International or Inter-league appearance, he was in the Scottish League reserve side in 1949/50, alongside Fife team-mates Sammy Stewart and George Aitken.

That season was to be another excellent season for both Davie and East Fife.

Davie picked up his second League Cup Final Winners' medal on October 29th 1949. 38,897 fans were at Hampden to watch East Fife lift the trophy for the second time in three seasons, hammering Dunfermline 3-0. And what a legendary trio it was that scored that day, with Charlie Fleming opening the scoring, Davie netting the second and Henry Morris rounding off the goals.

Six months later, the Fife and Davie were back at Hampden, this time in the Scottish Cup Final, collecting a runners-up medal in the 3-0 defeat to Rangers, in front of a staggering 118,262 fans.

Davie Duncan
Davie continued to play an important role for the Fife well into the 1950's, scoring many goals in the process. He made his final first team appearance in an East Fife jersey in season 53/54, against Clyde on October 3rd 1953.

The next three months saw Davie still turning out for East Fife, for the reserves in 'C' Division. At the turn of the year, Raith Rovers came in for him and he returned to Starks Park for the next one and a half seasons. Davie certainly hadn't lost any of his skill and was soon to leave the Rovers to go to England for a short spell at Crewe Alexandria in season 55/56.

Davie's career in England wasn't to prove very successful and before the season was out, he returned to Scotland to play for Brechin City, spending three and a half happy seasons at the Glebe Park club before finally hanging up his boots at the age of 39 at the end of the 58/59 season.

When his football career was over, Davie returned to Fife and worked at Williamson's Sawmill in Milton of Balgonie before having a bad accident resulting in him cutting off a finger. He then went on to work for the furniture company McIntosh in Kirkcaldy before retiring.

During his eleven seasons at Bayview, from 1943/44 to 1953/54, Davie Duncan made 248 appearances for East Fife (including 37 during war-time. These appearances led to 97 goals: 11 during war-time, 51 in the League, 9 in the Scottish Cup and an amazing 26 in the League Cup. An impressive record of a goal every 2 games showing just what an important player Davie Duncan was and leaving him deeply embedded in East Fife Folklore.

So much so in fact that in 2008 the fans voted Davie into the left midfield position in AFTN's East Fife All Time Greats Pre 1970 side.