worked as a an electrician before joining Notts County in
1967 as a Centre Forward, but it was under Tommy Dochertys
Rotherham that he became more of a utility player. In December
1970 he moved to Sunderland where his career really came
Roker Park he earned his first England cap and was an
important member of the 2nd Division team that shocked
Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup final. The performance caught
the eye of the bigger clubs and the following year first
Dennis Tueart and then Dave were signed by Manchester
City. The fee at the time was substantial - over £200,000,
and wisely they signed him on a 6 year contract.
immediately became one of City's most popular players.
The fanatical City crowd loved his rugged qualities and
fighting spirit. The media often described him as a negative
player and some of his opponents claimed he was "dirty".
The truth was that Dave was a battler and determined to
see the Blues succeed. He gave the game all he could every
time, as in the 1976 League Cup final when he played with
blood pouring out of a head wound. The cameras even filmed
him in the dressing room after the game receiving stiches
while being interviewed, needless to say his tough guy
image improved after that game.
voted player of the year in 1976/77 and became captain
of the team the following year. He was injured during
training before an international against Luxembourg, but
still insisted he could play. He lasted 70 minutes and
returned to City and the treatment table. The following
Saturday he showed up before the Nottingham game and again
insisted he could play, but Manager Tony Book refused
to let the injured Watson get on the pitch.
played 65 times for England and 30 of those caps were
earned while at City. Despite his many abilites he did
not survive the Malcom Allison clear-out of 1979. At the
time experience did not seem to count, and he was transferred
to Werder Bremen. Shortly after, he returned to England
and Southampton where he earned 18 more international
caps. While at Southampton he played in a team with 5
previous or future England captains: Mick Channon (2),
Alan Ball (6), Kevin Keegan (31), Mick Mills (8), and
Peter Shilton (15).
Dave moved to Stoke City before he had spells with Vancouver
Whitecaps (voted into the NASL all star team of 83) and
Ft. Lauderdale Sun (USL Champions) in the USA. While he
was at Stoke he set a record of becoming the first man
to make England international appearances while in the
books of five different clubs.
was one of City's - and England's - greatest central defenders
of all time, some would say the greatest. He was a granite-like
figure who simply made it impossible for his opponents
to play. He was a rock in defence and a vital member of
Tony Book's impressive side from 1976 to 1979. City have
never since managed to find a defender to replace him.
his footballing career Dave started a marketing business
in Nottingham, where he lives with his wife Penny. Their
son Roger (aka Dj
Hal) is a successful dj, musician, and producer.