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Dave was just 17 when he and Peter Eastoe led the Town attack over 40 years ago and at 19 he nearly made it to the top flight - but a clerical error put paid to a golden opportunity.

Having gone to Molineux on loan in September 1975, he was due to be called up for Wolves' visit to Tottenham. But Swindon failed to send the forms through to extend his loan for a second month and Dave had to return to the County Ground !

Dave had been signed by Town on schoolboy forms by the late Fred Ford, having been spotted playing for Laverstock - near his native Salisbury. Dave Mackay had taken over by the time he signed on as an apprentice in July 1972.

Swindon enjoyed a successful season in the F A Youth Cup in 1972/73, playing eight games to reach the Fifth Round, with young David scoring four times.
Cheltenham and Bristol Rovers were beaten before Aston Villa were swept aside 4-0 in a replay. Bournemouth were also dispatched before Ipswich - who went on to win the trophy - finally halted the run with a 1-0 win.

Dave's efforts were rewarded when Les Allen gave him the substitute's shirt (there was only the one then !) for the opening Second Division fixture of 1973/74 against Sheffield Wednesday.

His full debut came at Forest in September and by December - soon after he signed pro forms - he and new signing Eastoe had become Town's preferred strikers. Unfortunately, they were unable to prevent the club from propping up the division for the remainder of that season.

In the Third Division, Dave struggled to find the net regularly at first and lost his place to Trevor Anderson in November 1974. But after returning from Molineux he matched the Irishman goal for goal and the two were joint top scorers in 1975/76 with 15 goals. A similar tally for Dave in the following campaign included six in seven F A Cup games.

But in 1977 Danny Williams decided to sign big centre-forward Chris Guthrie, so Dave joined Mansfield - who had finished 19 points ahead of Swindon as champions. Back in Division Two, he netted 16 goals as the Stags' top scorer and stayed at Field Mill until March 1979, when he joined struggling Walsall in a 'swap' deal with Terry Austin.

It was to be a brief stay , however, as Peter Morris - who had taken Dave to Mansfield - signed him for Peterborough just five months later. He netted 24 goals in 75 appearances for Posh before moving on again, to Northampton, in 1982. This proved to be Dave's last move in League football as, in his second season there, he suffered a serious spinal injury, culminating in the insertion of a six-inch metal plate in his back.

But Dave kept in trim as a milkman in Towcester for three years, before he moved back to his family roots in south Wiltshire. He underwent an operation on his back and made a very brief come-back when Salisbury boss Geoff Butler invited him to put his boots on again.

"I had been out of the game for almost five years," he said, "but Geoff talked me into it ! I player half a dozen game and scored three or four goals."

In 1990, Dave became groundsman at Warminster school. He was married to Yvonne and had four daughters.

First Published in the Evening Advertiser October 1998