David Raitt was a skilful, hard, yet not especially quick full back who played for Everton’s attractive but underachieving team of the early-1920s.
Raitt, who had played for the Scottish League’s representative team, signed from Dundee in the summer of 1922 for £2,200. Everton had tried to conclude a double deal with his former club that would have seen Alec Troup join Everton too, but they had to wait another six months before signing the winger. He made his debut in a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham but the new boy did not impress the watching press pack.
‘It was Raitt's debut in English League football, and he was naturally taken aback early on by the clever work of masters like [Jimmy] Dimmock and [Bert] Bliss,’ wrote the Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury reporter. Raitt's real fault was kept till near the end, when he dared to dribble and showed such a lack of pace that he was beaten at his own game. That was bad football, and it was characteristic of other of the Scottish members –[George] Brewster and [Hunter] Hart –and at times by the Wigan boy, [Joe] Peacock.’
The new boy eventually won over Everton’s exacting observers, although one correspondent noted ‘he is somewhat given to reckless kickings.’ Perhaps he didn’t kick hard enough. Everton’s Achilles through this era was their defence, and although they at times played sumptuous football their lack of mean streak cost them honours. Ivan Sharpe, the leading football journalist of the day, wrote after the 1923/24 season’s seventh placed finish: ‘Everton, by reason of their exemplary contribution to the season’s play, are in the honours list, if not among the rewards.’ The reason, he added, that ‘they are out of presentation of prizes [was] because of uncertainty in defence.’
This would become an increasing problem over subsequent seasons. In finishing 1925/26 eleventh they conceded 70 goals, including seven against Sunderland and five against Liverpool. 1926/27 was worse: twentieth place, 90 goals conceded.
The board had by then made significant attempts to redress this problem and made six significant signings in the second half of the season. These included Warney Cresswell, formerly the world’s most expensive player and England’s sometime right back. He took Raitt’s place and although the Scot made six appearances during the next season, which saw the League Championship come to Goodison, he was sold to Blackburn at that campaign’s conclusion for £325.