Dave Easson by Fraser Clyne
At the end of season 1958-59 Chelsea’s Jimmy Greaves topped the English First Division scoring charts with 32 goals while Middlesborough’s Brian Clough was the Second Division’s top striker with 42. But the biggest goal grabber in British senior football was Arbroath’s Dave Easson who notched an amazing 52 league and cup goals during a campaign which started with the Lichties reaching the League Cup semi final and ended with promotion to the First Division. Easson got 45 of Arbroath’s 86 league goals – and that’s a record which is unlikely ever to be broken.
Dave, who was an ever-present in the Lichties line-up, recalls one epic game from that memorable season. He said: “We beat Dumbarton 5-4 and I scored all five of our goals while Hughie Gallacher, an ex-Arbroath player, got all four of Dumbarton’s. That was quite an amazing outcome.”
Easson’s earliest memories of football date back to his days at Parkhouse primary school at the tail end of World War Two. “I remember playing Ladyloan in the final of the Watters Cup. We won 4-1, and that was a great game,” he said. My father was really into football at that time. He founded the Arbroath Lads’ Club and went on to give a lot of help to Arbroath over the years.”
Dave joined Dundee as an apprentice in the early 1950’s. “I was just 15 at the time and the following year they took me on tour to South Africa where I played with the great Billy Steel. I even met the Queen Mother when we were out there.”
He made his senior first team debut for Dundee in a 1-0 victory over Celtic at Parkhead in the 1954 League Cup. “That was another great occasion. I recall Jock Stein was in the Celtic team that day, and Albert Henderson, later to become Arbroath’s manager, was playing with me in the Dundee side.
Easson remained on Dundee’s books until August 1958 when he joined Arbroath. He had only made a handful of appearances for the Dark Blues, so was delighted with the chance to sign on at Gayfield. He recalled: “I really enjoyed my time at Arbroath. It was a great club and there were some very good players there. Jim Fraser, our centre half, is probably one of the best I remember playing with, but there were many others.”
Easson’s goals propelled Arbroath into the First Division, but it was a short stay. “We really found it hard going. I think I only got ten goals all season and we came straight down”, Dave said. At the end of the season he moved on to Raith Rovers, then Morton. I liked these clubs, but I wanted to remain part-time. I was staying in Arbroath and eventually all the travelling back and forwards to Greenock got to me. When I got the chance to return to Gayfield, I jumped at it.”
Easson rejoined the Lichties in 1962 but just two years later he suffered a double leg break in a game against Cowdenbeath. It was to mark the end of his career. Easson said: “It was the third time I had broken the leg and the doctors advised me it was time to stop. It was disappointing, but that’s the way it was.”
Dave stayed on to help manager Albert Henderson for a while, but didn’t really enjoy being involved in a coaching capacity, so he eventually drifted out of the game.
Now aged 65, and enjoying his retirement, Dave still likes watching football. “I go to most of Arbroath’s home games. There’s some very good players at Gayfield at the moment and I’ve really enjoyed this present season. They’ve done very well. ”
Article contributed by Fraser Clyne author of The History of Arbroath Football Club