Lochore, Fife born centre half David Pratt began his football career with Lochore Welfare in 1912 playing for Lochgelly United in 1914, before the First World War. During the War he served in the Army and won the Military Medal in France. After the conflict he played for Hearts O’Beath in 1918 before joining Glasgow Celtic in June 1919 originally as an outside left. He made his Scottish League debut in a 1-1 draw at home to Falkirk on 8th November, but he couldn’t retain a first team starting spot and went on loan to Bo’Ness for a time in 1919. After 22 appearances for The Bhoys he was transferred to First Division Bradford City in November 1921, making his debut immediately in a fixture at Chelsea. He established himself at centre half with The Bantams who were unfortunately relegated to the Second Division in his debut season. Reports said he was “the mainstay of the defence” and “a coming international.” Pratt signed for Liverpool in January 1923 after 5 goals in 55 appearances for City.
He immediately became known for his mighty throw-ins as the Liverpool Echo revealed in the report on Pratt’s Liverpool debut in a 3-0 home win against Blackburn Rovers on 17 February 1923:
“Pratt was amazing the crowd with some of his throw ins, I swear some reached the middle of the field. If he could develop this “Long Throw” it could be a useful asset if further up the field and would almost be like a corner.”
He played 7 times in the run in to Liverpool’s successful League Championship defence come the end of the season, the following season he was an understudy to right-half Tom Bromilow and added 15 games to his total. The highest number of League games Pratt played in during a single season was 26 in the 1924-25 season when he profited from Bromilow’s absence due to injury and Walter Wadsworth’s lengthy ban for a dismissal. After five seasons at Anfield, Pratt left for First Division Bury in November 1927 after a single goal in 85 appearances. He then played 2 further seasons at Gigg Lane making 57 appearances and leaving after their relegation in 1929.
His management career was an interesting one. In 1929 he became player-manager of Yeovil & Petters United, holding the post until 1933. He then became manager of Clapton Orient in May 1933, holding the post until December 1934, before joining Notts County. David Pratt holds an unenviable record being the Notts County manager with the shortest spell in office. He joined Notts on 28th April 1935, already relegated to Division Three. He resigned on June 28th after just two months in office. He had taken charge of just one match. He soon replaced Willie McCartney as Heart of Midlothian manager later in 1935, holding the post until 1937, before becoming manager of Bangor City later in 1937 where he stayed until the outbreak of the Second World War. He served in the RAF during the conflict before taking his final managerial role, with Port Vale, in December 1944, a position he vacated six months later.