Davies Bill “Tinker” Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1907

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Davies Bill “Tinker” Image 1 Blackburn Rovers 1907


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Wrexham, Flintshire born centre forward Bill “Tinker” Davies originally trained as a tinsmith, thus earning the nickname “Tinker”, which he was to retain for the rest of his life. He played football as an amateur with Wrexham St Giles in 1900 joining Wrexham Victoria of the Chester and District League in 1901, and whilst he was with them he gained a reputation as a prolific goalscorer.

He was signed by Wrexham, then playing in The Combination, in 1902. Davies was described as a “short, dogged player, full of dash and determination”, who had a reputation for charging the goalkeeper; in one Welsh Cup match, he bundled the goalkeeper into the net five times. In his first season with Wrexham, he helped the club reach the Final of the Welsh Cup, where they defeated Aberaman 8-0, with Davies being one of four players who scored twice. Two years later, Wrexham again won the Welsh Cup, with Davies once more being on the scoresheet in a 3-0 victory over Aberdare Athletic. Shortly before the 1903 Welsh Cup Final, Davies was called up to represent Wales against Ireland at Solitude Ground, Belfast in the last Wales match in the 1903 British Home Championship, the match ended in a 2-0 victory for the Irish. His second match for Wales came two years later, in a 2-2 draw with the Irish, again at Solitude.

In the summer of 1905, he was signed by First Division club Blackburn Rovers for a fee of £150. Davies had been keen to join Liverpool who were anxious to acquire his services, but his former Wrexham team mate, Bob Evans, who had joined Blackburn two years previously, persuaded him to join Rovers. He made his debut for Blackburn in a reserves match in typical fashion, scoring a hat-trick; a local report said “Tinker got three goals and in two of them put the goalkeeper in as well”. His Football League debut came against Aston Villa in September 1905. In the 1906 edition of “Association Football and the Men Who Made It”, Davies was described as “a snapper up of trifles (who) snatched at goals with greedy delight”.

In November 1908, he scored four goals in two consecutive matches; the first occasion came at Goodison Park on 21st November when Everton were 4-1 up with twenty minutes left to play, when Davies’ “whirlwind” scoring brought the scores level by full time. He also scored all 4 goals in a 4-1 win at Bristol City in April 1909, finishing the season with 8 goals in the final 4 matches as Rovers finished in fourth place in the League. He was Blackburn’s top scorer in three of the eight seasons he spent at Ewood Park: 1907-08 (11 goals), 1908-09 (20 goals) and 1910-11 (19 goals).

Davies was recalled to the Welsh team for the 1908 British Home Championship; in the match against England at The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham on 16th March. Davies scored his first international goal, a consolation goal scored in the 90th minute of a 7-1 defeat. In this match, the Wales goalkeeper, Leigh Roose, left the field after being injured in the 15th minute following a shoulder charge by Vivian Woodward; Charlie Morris took over in goal until half-time, when Dai Davies came on as a substitute ‘keeper. The following season, Davies scored twice in a 3-2 victory over Scotland, again at Wrexham; this was his first win for Wales. In total he won 11 caps, scoring 5 goals for his country.

Davies was seriously injured midway through the 1909-10 season causing him to miss the latter half of the season as Blackburn came third in the League, including the international matches, but he returned the following season and continued to be a regular member of the Blackburn team. He played in Blackburn’s 1911 FA Cup semi final defeat to eventual winners Bradford City at Bramall Lane. During the 1911-12 season, he was now reaching the end of his career but still made eleven appearances, scoring twice, to help Blackburn win the League Championship for the first time. In total he scored 69 goals in 143 appearances for Rovers, his last match coming against Newcastle United in April 1912.

Davies was married to the daughter of a director of Blackburn. In 1910, with the proceeds of a benefit match, he went into partnership with his Blackburn team mate Bob Crompton as motor engineers. Davies retired from football in April 1913 to concentrate on his business.

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