By: Tom Wright on 15 Aug, 2016 12:20
The Hibernian family lost a much valued member last week, when the sad news filtered through of the passing of the much loved left-back Joe Davis, who played for the side in the 1960’s.
Born in Glasgow on 22 May 1941, after service with Shettleston Juniors and Third Lanark, Joe was signed for Hibernian by manager Jock Stein during the 1964-65 season to replace the Irish international John Parke who was transferred to Sunderland on the very same day.
Ironically Joe would make his debut against his former side just a few days later, a 5-0 home win for Stein’s side on 14 November 1964, with Neil Martin scoring a hat-trick and Willie Hamilton helping himself to a brace.
The teams that day were:
Hibernian: Wilson, Fraser and Davis, Stanton McNamee and Baxter, Cormack Hamilton Martin Quinn and Scott.
Third Lanark: Williams, Connell and Mackay, Little Baillie and Geddes, Keith Finlay Cullen Jackson and Murray.
Unfortunately the following week he would go down with appendicitis but, miraculously would miss only three games before returning to the side in a 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle at Easter Road.
It would be the start of a quite remarkable run of 272 consecutive games in all competitions, with many of them as captain. During this time he would score an amazing 47 goals from the left back position, most, but not all from penalties.
His first ever goal for the club though did come from the spot during Hibs tour of North America in the summer of 1965 in a 9-2 victory against the British Columbia All Stars.
During the 1964-65 season, his first at the club, Davis became an integral part of a Hibernian side under Stein that just narrowly failed to win the league and cup double after the manager’s sudden and premature move to Parkhead.
At Easter Road, Davis would go on to form a particularly productive goal scoring partnership with outside left Eric Stevenson, whose trickery made him an obvious target for tackles inside the penalty area, and the newspaper bye-line ‘Davis scored from the spot after Stevenson was brought down in the box’ was born.
So productive were his goal scoring exploits that in season 1966-67 he had the distinction of sharing first place in the league goal scoring charts with Peter Cormack, a tremendous claim to fame for a full back.
During his time at Easter Road Davis would take part in many big games including a League Cup Final, the 1-0 victory against Hearts at Tynecastle on the first day of 1965 when Willie Hamilton scored the winner from almost on the bye-line, Hibernian’s record 11-1 league win against Hamilton Academicals, and many European ties including the famous 5-0 victory against the Italian side Napoli, Dino Zoff and all. His jersey from the Napoli game is currently on display at Easter Road.
His last goal for the club was scored from the penalty spot in a 1-0 home victory against Aberdeen on 29 March 1969. His last ever appearance in a green and white jersey was a 3-0 defeat the following season by the recently promoted Ayr United in Ayrshire, on 30 August 1969, an event that would soon lead to the resignation of manager Bob Shankly and the end of Davis’ tremendous unbroken run playing in the first-team.
The player however had been unsettled at Easter Road for some time, already having posted several requests for a transfer, and he would move to English second division side Carlisle United not long after.
The sides for his last game for Hibernian were:
Ayr United: Stewart, Malone, Murphy, Fleming, Quinn, Mitchell, Young, Ferguson, Ingram, McCulloch, Rough. Sub: Hood
Hibernian: Marshall, Shevlane, Davis, Wilkinson Black, Stanton, Marinello, Grant, McBride, Cormack, Stevenson. Sub O’Rourke.
The Turnbull’s Tornado’s side of the early to mid-70’s has a special place in the history of Hibernian Football Club, and rightly so, but the team of the mid to late 1960’s that featured the likes of Pat Stanton, Jim Scott, Eric Stevenson and others was not all that far behind, and gave the Club’s supporters many happy hours of entertainment.
The long serving Joe Davis who featured in many of the games will always have a special place in the memories of those who were fortunate to see him play, and all at Hibernian Football Club send our condolences to his family and close friends at this difficult time.
His memory marches on.