Aberdare born outside right David “Dai” James joined his hometown Third Division (South) club Aberdare Athletic in 1921 making his Football League debut for them at Queen’s Park Rangers in November the same year, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win over Luton Town in May 1922 as he made just 6 appearances during his debut season. A regular from the end of October 1922, he missed just two matches a season in 1923-24 and 1925-26, and was an ever present for Aberdare in 1924-25.
He was sold to Brighton & Hove Albion in December 1926 after 16 goals in 185 appearances for Aberdare, scoring 9 goals in 32 appearances for The Seagulls through to his last appearance for them in April 1929, all but four of his appearances for Brighton coming in their 1927-28 campaign after he broke into their eleven in October 1927, when he scored a career best 9 goals and helped Brighton finish fourth in the Third Division (South). It is probable he was forced to retire through injury.
NB it is possible, after inconclusive photo comparisons (but somewhat illogical) that this image, published in 1922 and purporting to show G. James, is not Dai James but Griffith James. Griffith James was born at Cwmaman, near Aberdare, and was a goalkeeper (the player in photograph is not wearing a goalkeeping shirt), who made 16 appearances for Aberdare between October 1923 and May 1924. The fact that Dai James was a first team regular for Aberdare in 1922 suggests it is far more likely to be him, than a player who wasn’t in the first team picture at all in 1922-23. The Aberdare team group image from 1924-25 in the Vintage Footballers library shows Dai James, but the quality isn’t high and although there are similarities, it is somewhat inconclusive.