David Halliday, Matt Gillies and Alex Dowdells

The Managers: David Halliday, 1955-1958

Leicester City’s manager from July 1955 until November 1958 was the Scot David Halliday, who had a proud playing record.
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Between 1920 and 1935, as player for Queen of the South, St Mirren, Dundee, Sunderland, Arsenal, Manchester City and Clapton Orient, he scored 365 goals in 488 competitive games.

At Dundee he scored over 100 goals in four seasons. At Sunderland he not only became one of only two players in history to be the leading scorer in the top divisions in Scotland and England, he also became the fastest player to score 100 top flight goals in England, which he did in 101 games. He was also the only player to score at least 30 top division goals in England for four successive seasons, scoring over 35 goals in each.

Halliday’s move to Arsenal was not so prolific, although in his last game for the Gunners in April 1930, he scored four goals in a 6-6 draw against Leicester City.

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David Halliday
David Halliday

He was also the only player to score at least 30 top division goals in England for four successive seasons.

Peter Hodge, who twice managed Leicester City with distinction, signed Halliday for Manchester City in 1930, where he scored 47 more goals. He scored another 33 times for Clapton (later Leyton) Orient before becoming manager of non-league Yeovil and Petters United in 1935.

In 1938 he was appointed manager of Aberdeen, from a field of over 100 applicants. He held this post for 17 years. He won the Scottish Cup in 1947 and in 1955 he became the first manager to steer Aberdeen to be champions of Scotland, a feat only matched by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Leicester City, newly relegated to the Second Division, appointed Halliday as their manager in July 1955.  

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Leicester City 1956/57
Leicester City 1956/57

Leicester City won the Second Division in 1957.

He introduced a strong Scottish element to Filbert Street – 19 of his 31 signings were from Scotland, earning Leicester City the nickname of ‘Leicester Thistle’.  These included Frank McLintock, Dave McLaren, John Ogilvie and the prolific goalscorer Willie Gardiner.

In Halliday’s first season Leicester City finished a creditable fifth in the Second Division. The following season was a record breaking one. Halliday’s team won the Second Division title with seven points to spare at a time when there were only two points for a win. They were top of the table from December onwards, rewriting the Club’s record books in the process.

His team struggled in the First Division in 1957/58 but avoided relegation on the last day of the season. He left Filbert Street in November 1958, to take over a hotel in Aberdeen, because the Club was still struggling.

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David Halliday
David Halliday

The Scot signed several players that proved to be crucial for Leicester City in the 1960s.

However, his legacy was a strong one. His signings Frank McLintock,  Len Chalmers, Richie Norman, Ian King,  Howard Riley, Jimmy Walsh and Ken Keyworth all went on to become crucial members of the successful Leicester City era of the 1960s.

Halliday is already included in the Managers’ Hall of Fame in the Directors’ Lounge at King Power Stadium, and the Club is currently supporting the campaign for him to be admitted to the Scottish FA’s Hall of Fame.

He died, aged 68, in 1970.

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