2 October 2006

Davy Cochrane

Who says that size matters? Davy Cochrane was a footballing star, at just five feet-four inches tall...

Name: David Andrew Cochrane
Born: 14 August 1920, Portadown
Height: 5.04 ft
Weight: 9.07 st
Died: June 2000, Leeds (England)
Position: Outside-Right

Representative Honours: Ireland: 12 Full Caps (1938-1949), Junior Caps; Northern Regional “War-Time” League: 8 Caps; League of Ireland: 4 Caps.
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish Cup Winner 1944/45, Runner-Up 1943/44; Northern Regional League Champion 1942/43, 1944/45; (with Shamrock Rovers) FAI Cup Runner-Up 1945/46.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
War-Time
Other
Portadown
-
1935
-
-
-
-
-
Leeds United
37/38-50/51
Aug-37
£2,000
175/28
10/2
10/7
3/0
Portadown
40/41
-
Guest
-
-
-
-
Shamrock Rovers
41/42
-
Guest
/ 9
/2
-
-
Linfield
42/43-44/45
-
Guest
-
-
-
-
Shamrock Rovers
45/46
-
Guest
/ 6
/1
-
-
TOTALS
-
£2,000
-
-
-
-

Biography:
Davy Cochrane - "a box of tricks" - caught the eyes of Leeds United while starring in the Irish League as a teenager with Portadown. Such was his diminutive stature, that when he arrived in Leeds in 1937 that they thought he was a jockey, not a footballer! He played just once in his first season at Elland Road – a 1-0 defeat of Brentford – before establishing himself during the 1938/39 season. Although he had only a handful of firstteam appearances behind him, Cochrane's skills and "blistering speed" brought the attentions of the Irish FA selectors, who included him, just a few months past his eighteenth birthday, in the line-up to face England at Old Trafford in November 1938. Despite a 7-0 defeat, he held on to his place for the following March’s match against Wales, Ireland losing 3-1 in what turned out to be their final International prior to the outbreak of World War Two.

Up to the outbreak of the War in 1939, and the suspension of the Football League, Cochrane had made a total of 33 League and FA Cup appearances for Leeds. He played a further 13 War-Time League and Cup games before returning to his native Portadown in 1940. He helped Portadown to runners-up spot in the Northern Regional League in 1941, but the club was then forced to fold for the duration of the War. Cochrane spent a season with Shamrock Rovers before he was convinced to move back north to join Linfield where his father had played at inside-right. Although he spent just three years “guesting” at Windsor Park, his performances and achievements remain embedded in Linfield folklore – two War-Time League titles, two Irish Cup final appearances, a Gold Cup success and a haul of 50 goals in a single season!

After another season with Shamrock Rovers, Cochrane returned to Leeds United for the resumption of League Football in 1946. It proved to be a disastrous first season back for Leeds who were relegated, finishing bottom of the First Division fifteen points from survival. That summer saw a mass clear-out of players, with Cochrane one of the few to survive the cull. Back on the international stage, Cochrane was just one of four players to return to the Ireland team after the War. Their first outing finished in a 7-2 hammering by England, but there then followed a remarkable four-game unbeaten run, which included a victory over Scotland and a draw with England (bringing to an end a run of 12 consecutive wins for the English).

Cochrane remained with Leeds until early in the 1950/51 season, but was unable to help them regain their top-flight status. It shocked many when he announced his retirement aged just 30, “I always dreaded coming to the end of my career… soccer meant so much to me and I always wanted to finish at the top.” With his playing days behind him Cochrane and his family settled in Leeds to run a newsagent close to Elland Road. He remained in the Leeds area until his death in June 2000.

Ireland Cap Details:
16-11-1938 England. (a) L 0-7 BC
15-03-1939 Wales... (a) L 1-3 BC
28-09-1946 England. (h) L 2-7 BC
27-11-1946 Scotland (a) D 0-0 BC
16-04-1947 Wales... (h) W 2-1 BC
04-10-1947 Scotland (h) W 2-0 BC
05-11-1947 England. (a) D 2-2 BC
10-03-1948 Wales... (a) L 0-2 BC
17-11-1948 Scotland (a) L 2-3 BC
09-03-1949 Wales... (h) L 0-2 BC
01-10-1949 Scotland (h) L 2-8 WCQ/BC
06-11-1949 England. (a) L 2-9 WCQ/BC

Summary: 12/0. Won 2, Drew 2, Lost 8.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely davy deserves a mention as one of the greats from northern ireland. i believe he was one of the few to have played for an all ireland team and northern ireland too! He would have had many more caps if it wasn't for the war. He was bought for £2000 when he was 16, a huge price for one so young in those days!

david armstrong said...

Davy Cochrane was my boyhood hero. He was born just round the corner from my home in Jervis Street, Portadown, and it was a great thrill when he returned home from Leeds for the summer and played kickabouts with the kids on the street. I recall seeing him walk into his home in Craigavon Avenue, where 'Granny' Cochrane always welcomed us, and one of the first things he did was to join the kids on a makeshift pitch where the YMCA now stands. The kids worshipped him and they still talk about Davy, the greatest player ever to don a Portadown shirt.

La Manga Net said...

What a lovely man, I knew him as one of my customers when he had the newsagents in Beeston. I used to visit him every 2 weeks for his cigarette order when I worked for Imperial Tobacco wholesale division. Very humble, great dry sense of humour. RIP Davy. David Archer

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