John E Davies
Date of Birth:
23 July 1931
Place of Birth:
Date of Death:
09 November 2011
Place of Death:
(1952/53 - 1954/55)
Having played for Caxton Juniors, Johnny joined the Dons after a successful trial and made his debut for the Strollers at the start of the 1949/50 season, soon after his eighteenth birthday, and played for a joint reserve / Stroller XI against the Wimbledon & District League representative side the following Easter, retaining his place in the reserves the following weekend.
The following two season were spent flitting between the Strollers 'B' side and the reserves while he completed his National Service, but he was in the Probables side that took on the Possibles in the pre-season public trial game at the start of the 1952/53 season, switching sides at half time. He made his senior début the following midweek when several players were unable to get away from work, and did well enough to retain his place for the weekend game, scoring twice. In only his third game (in five days) he played in the held over 1951/52 London Charity Cup Final against Walthamstow Avenue at Dulwich Hamlet, securing a winner's medal. After a few more appearances he dropped back down into the reserves, although he was called on to fill in vacancies in the front line on several occasions.
The following campaign he staked a regular place in the first team, playing 24 times, and signed amateur forms for Tottenham Hostpur. For a while he played regularly for Wimbledon at the weekend and Spurs 'A' team midweek, but he didn't enjoy his football in North London as the team, like many others at that level, was full of individuals trying to impress rather than playing to win as a team. After starting only 8 games in 1954/55 he resigned from the club and joined Kingstonian. He played eight further games for K's that season, including their infamous 12-3 Amateur Cup defeat by Bishop Auckland. After suffering an injury the following week he was in plaster for six weeks and to help regain his fitness he spent time running in Battersea Park, which began his interest in athletics.
He joined the Belgrave Harriers and made the elite ranks within a year. The running soon took over from the football, although he continued to play occasionally, making a total of 22 appearances in the Kingstonian first team spread over six season. For a while he was considered one of the best half-milers in the country and ran in many international meetings, even running as a pace-maker for the famous miler Chris Chataway, but his late start in the sport and a couple of untimely injuries deprived him of an appearance in the Olympics. He met and married Pam Davies (née Evans) and helped coach her to four national cross country titles and a third place in the world cross country championships.
He continued to run for Belgrave Harriers beyond retirement age and was running sub-3 hour marathons in his late 40s. In the 1990s he was made an Honorary Vice President of the club
Johnny trained as a quantity surveyor while at Wimbledon, a job he carried out until he retired - the last eighteen years for the Sports Council.
He retained an interest in Wimbledon and attended the 1988 Cup Final with his two sons.
Johnny passed away in late 2011 at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
[with thanks to Max Davies]
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