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David Gardner (1899/00 to 1901/02)

David Gardner
Bth31/03/73 Glasgow
P/H/WLeft-Back5ft 8in
Jnd05/99Third Lanark£200
Deb02/09/99 West Brom (A)D1
Dep05/02 Grimsby£250
A/G78 2

David Gardner was a left-back who was signed from Third Lanark in May 1899 for £200. He was regarded as one of the best backs in Scotland and had played for his country against Wales in 1897. He had been the recipient of many flattering offers from English clubs.

He took the departed Jackson’s place in the side and immediately impressed with his polished methods, great resource and skill. Newcastle people proclaimed that he was the equal of Donald Gow, the old Wearsider, and unquestionably he was a great back.

He was also as fast as most forwards and a good leader, taking over from Lindsay as captain soon after his arrival.

His first season on Tyneside (1899/00) was undoubtedly his best and when he signed on again there was great satisfaction among the supporters.

He was well-known for a patent kick that he employed on a regular basis. His back-heel while on the run was one of the cleverest things seen; it astonished spectators and nonplussed forwards fearfully. When United played Sunderland in 1901/02 he “astonished even M'Latchie by his patent side-foot kick, which spurns the ball in the opposite direction to that in which he is travelling, as it is a kind of back-kick”.

Another reporter described his trick as him getting the ball whilst going full speed towards his own goal and sending it back over his shoulder, although this seems a less likely description.

In the following two campaigns he was rather hampered by injury and illness and in 1901/02 he was not always guaranteed his place in the side. Finding this rather irksome he refused to resign and signed for Grimsby.

Season by Season

1899/00 (35 - 1)

Made a great start to his career on Tyneside and took over from Lindsay as captain. In February the club’s medical advisor Dr Vickery revealed that Gardner was very bad with a severe throat and chest infection and was unable to get out of bed. In March he was selected, along with Alec Gardner and Jock Peddie to play in the Scots verses Anglo-Scots trial in Glasgow. Unfortunately he had a poor game.

1900/01 (30-1)

Although Gardner continued at left-back he also made a couple of appearances at right-back. He also cleverly scored from the spot in the home game against Everton. In December it was revealed that Gardner, had for some time been suffering from a painful and somewhat serious illness. It was taken to be neuralgia in the face. He had another attack almost immediately before the match against Sheffield Wednesday and so painful did the face become on the day after that medical advice had to be called in. It was diagnosed as paralysis of the right side of the face, and the right eye, in consequence, was closed. It was thought probable that he would be confined to the house for a few weeks. When a number of weeks passed with no improvement he was referred to Professor Drummond and underwent a course of massaging and electrolysis.

1901/02 (13)

Gardner had another season impacted by both illness and injury. In his absence Bennie and Davidson developed a fine full back pairing and Gardner struggled to get back into the side. And, in the second half of the season he appeared unusually weak in both tackling and kicking at times and then, just as he appeared to be getting back to his best, he was seriously crippled during the match with Grimsby in March.


Painting by Piotr