Goalkeeper Arthur Davies had dropped out of league football, having previously appeared on the books of New Brighton, when he was picked up by Everton after impressing in a trial match in the summer of 1926. Within months he was making his Everton debut, lining up alongside his fellow Wirralian, Dixie Dean, and within two years he had collected a League Championship winner’s medal.
It marked a dramatic turnaround for a player whose career had seemed to be petering out, but Davies impressed from the off in an Everton shirt. His Everton debut came in a goalless draw versus Huddersfield Town in October 1926 and he attracted the notice of the watching Liverpool Post and Mercury correspondent. Under the headline ‘DAVIES MAKES GOOD’ he reported: ‘Davies, who appeared in the Everton goal in place of [Ben Howard-] Baker, inspired confidence by his safe handling of several difficult shots, and early on he made a capital clearance that showed he had a safe pair of hands.’
The new signing supplanted Howard-Baker between the Everton posts and was, according to a contemporary report, ‘cool and safe in the Everton goal’. But Everton struggled through the 1926/27 season, eventually finishing 20th, just four points and a place off relegation. The Everton selectors also tried Harry Hardy and Ted Taylor in the Everton goal but without great success.
For the start of the famous 1927/28 campaign the Everton board preferred Taylor, who appeared in most of Everton’s first 30 games of the season. But when injury struck him down, Hardy and Davies were picked for the season run-in. A Dean-inspired Everton had propelled the club to the top of the league and with Davies appearing in eight of the last nine games – including the occasion of Dean’s 60th league goal – they moved over the finish line as League Champions.
THROUGH the deeply disappointing 1928/29 season, Davies was ever-present but Everton finished 18th. He retained his place for the subsequent campaign, but Everton’s form failed to pick up and by Christmas they were in the relegation places. At a fateful away match to Arsenal on 8 February, Everton started well but a Davies mistake let in the home side for a goal and it shattered Everton’s fragile confidence. ‘The air of misfortune spread around the team,’ wrote Ernest ‘Bee’ Edwards in the Liverpool Post and Mercury. ‘The players went from good to bad from bad to worse, till finally the visiting side packed up and realised that this was not their day out.’ Arsenal won 4-0 and Davies never played for Everton again.
IN AUGUST 1930 Exeter City inquired about taking the goalkeeper on loan. Everton responded that they could have him for £250 and Davies moved south. He played league football for a further decade, also appearing for Southport and Plymouth Argyle, before the Second World War intervened, ending his career.