Dally Duncan

This man is certainly an immortal with Hull City but the reason I have included him was because of the fantastic way he treated me when he signed me for Blackburn Rovers in 1959.  Following the Gillette Cup Final at Craven Cottage, Fulham, when I played for Lancashire Boys Clubs against Hampshire Boys Clubs, Dally Duncan approached me and asked me to attend a trial game at Darwen for Blackburn Rovers.  It was a game between young boys of around my own age, 17, and an “A” team played a “B” team.  Darwen’s ground as I remember it was on a slope and not in the best of condition which wasn’t unusual in those days.  I was in the “B” team and at halftime Dally, in the company of club captain and English international Ronnie Clayton, came over to us all and chatted to one or two boys, myself included.  He said, “Terry, I want you to play in the same role, inside right, in the second half but for the “A” team”.  Ronnie Clayton also offered advice to two or three of us and we began the second half.  I didn’t know anyone on either team but football was often like that when you played at a professional club.  The switch of team worked well for me as I set up a goal for our centre forward and added another one myself to add to the one I had scored for the “B” team in the first half.  Both Dally and Ronnie Clayton seemed pleased after the game as a few of us were told to report on Saturday to play Burnley “A” at home.  He could not have made me feel more welcome and I never forgot that treatment especially when I read how managers behave today (2016) with little class and even fewer manners.

I never met Dally or Ronnie after this as they were both focused on the first team.  At this time, I was working for Storeys of Lancaster at their Moor Lane Mills site as an administrator.  I was required to work alternate Saturday mornings but my boss, Norman Mount, would not give me time off to play at Blackburn so it soon became obvious that any dreams I had of being a professional footballer were going to be quashed.  By a variety of means I managed to play about 9 or 10 games by either going sick or changing the work rota with one of my colleagues.  Trips to play Manchester United “A” team at the Cliffs still stand out in my memory as well as going to Liverpool to play Everton “A” but travelling to Blackburn in those days, no car or even a father who could drive, meant a two train journey so even attending training on a Tuesday and Thursday night was impossible.  So ended a young boy’s dream and I played instead for the Lancaster Lads Club Old Boys and helped them to win the Division I title and the Memorial Cup by beating Galgate 2-1 at Christie Park, Morecambe.  Norman Mount, my boss at Storeys, was on the Lads Club football committee and I sometimes wondered if he had an ulterior motive in not allowing me to miss work on Saturday morning - I will never know the answer to that question.

Fabulous memories for me although many small details like where we played in Blackburn or even some of the names of the other lads in the team have completely disappeared from my memory bank.

Douglas "Dally" Duncan (14 October 1909 - 2 January 1990) was an Aberdeen-born football player and manager.  A left-winger, Duncan joined Hull City from Aberdeen Richmond in 1928 and spent his entire professional career in England.  He joined Derby County for £2,000 in 1932 and remained contracted to the club until 1946.  During this period, he earned 14 caps for the Scottish national team, scoring 7 goals between 1932 and 1937.  He also received an FA Cup winners medal with Derby in 1946.  The game was goalless until the 85th minute, when Jackie Stamps and a Charlton defender jumped up to head a centre from the right.  As the ball was nodded out it went straight to Dally Duncan, who shot goalwards.  Bert Turner tried to clear the ball, but only managed to turn it into his own net.  When Stamps shot for goal in the closing minutes of normal time, the ball burst en route.  Stamps went on to score twice with the new ball as Derby beat Charlton Athletic 4-1.  A week earlier, when the same sides had met in the League, the match ball had also burst.  The players in the 1946 Cup final were awarded two medals each.  Due to a shortage of gold following the Second World War, the two teams were initially presented with bronze medals (winners and runners-up) on the day, and subsequently awarded the proper gold versions when gold became more readily available later that year.

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Dally Duncan pictured when he was player/manager of Luton Town

After "guesting" for Reading, Notts County and Nottingham Forest during World War II, Duncan moved to Luton Town as a player-coach in October 1946.  He was appointed manager in June 1947 and retained the position until October 1958.  He then managed Blackburn Rovers for two seasons, helping them to the FA Cup final in 1960.  Duncan ran a guest house in Brighton after his football retirement.  He died in 1990, aged 80

Dally’” Duncan’s testimonial from Hull City, also known as “The Tigers” was penned as follows:

A Tiger is an animal of graceful and majestic movement and Duncan epitomised these characteristics fully. In addition, he combined them with such talent. Christened 'Dally' by the fans for his apparent nonchalance, it was merely a ploy to hypnotise his opponent. Then, like a Tiger sensing a kill, he would pounce, swiftly moving inside from the touch-line to unleash a shot of enormous power. Although his artistry was often too rich a dish to be served up as Northern Section fare (not sure what that means), he made his mark at Hull and there is no doubt his goals were of the highest quality. He played a key role in the Tigers cup run of 1929-30, appearing in every game and scoring the second goal in the first semi-final match against Arsenal.  His talent continued to blossom but with debts mounting, the club were forced to sell him to Derby for £2,000. There his star continued to shine. He gained international recognition, deservedly so, and played with Raich Carter in the Derby team that won the 1946 FA Cup Final.  Throughout their history, the Tigers have been blessed with many players of talent and skill. In the front row of that esteemed group will stand Dally Duncan”.

Dally earned his ranking among the select with some of the finest wing football seen for a generation.  A famed English fullback commented, “Of all the international wingers I have faced, I’ll admit, without a blush, that I feared most our games against Derby County and against Dally Duncan.  He wasn’t a tricky ball player the way the crowd see it but by brilliant control of the body swerve he could bring the ball under your nose and then disappear.  Then he was away and could he hit a ball!  All that artistry made Dally Duncan the greatest international winger of the 1930s”.

Derby County, 1946 FA Cup winners

Back row (L-R):
Jim Bullions, Jack Nicholas (captain), Vic Woodley, Leon Leuty, Jack Howe, 'Chick' Musson

Front row (L-R):
Stuart McMillan (Manager), Reg Harrison, Raich Carter, Jack Stamps,
Peter Doherty, 'Dally' Duncan, Dave Willis, (Trainer)

As a footnote it should be remembered that Peter Doherty and Raich Carter both played in the North Lancs League during WWII.

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