Happy Birthday to David Harvey, who turned 68 on February 7th. David waited a long time for his chance to become Leeds United first choice goalkeeper, having joined them in 1965. Gary Sprake was the man in place but Sprake began to make some high profile mistakes and David was given his place, first in the 1970 FA Cup final replay and then again in the 1972 Final, which Leeds won. After this, David was given the first team berth.
Although, Leeds born and bred, David qualified to play for Scotland through his father and in November, 1972, Tommy Docherty chose him to play in the World Cup Qualifier against Denmark at Hampden. Scotland won 2-0 with goals from Kenny Dalglish and Pater Lorimer; this would be Docherty’s last game in charge.
For his first few matches in charge, Willie Ormond went with Aberdeen’s Bobby Clark, then Peter McCloy of Rangers and also with Ally Hunter of Celtic. Following his mistake for the Czech goal in the vital World Cup Qualifier in September, ’73 and despite Scotland winning the game and thus qualifying for the ’74 World Cup, Hunter was dropped and in his place came David Harvey, who would more or less retain the No.1 spot through to the World Cup in Germany.
David started in goals for away Qualifier in Bratislava against the Czechs, which Scotland lost one nil in October ’74 and also played in a friendly against West Germany at Hampden that ended all square with Jim Holton, scoring the Scotland goal early on, only for Uli Hoeness to net the equaliser with a few minutes remaining.
Ormond opted for Thomson Allan of Dundee for the second friendly against Germany, which took place in Frankfurt in March 1974, however Harvey was back in goals as the Home International series began in the summer of ’74. Scotland lost the first game at Hampden with Tom Cassidy scoring the Northern Irish goal to give them the victory. Both Wales and then England came to Hampden within the following week and Scotland won both games 2-0.
Ormond would give Thomson Allan another shot in goals for one of the pre-World Cup warm up games; the 2-1 defeat of Norway in Oslo with Dalglish and Jordan netting the Scotland goals but when it came to the World Cup games there was never any doubt Harvey would start.
David had a good World Cup only conceding one goal against Yugoslavia but he contributed some good, vital saves in all the games including those against Zaire and Brazil. However, like the rest of team despite being able to hold their heads up high, David headed home after the group stages in disappointment.
After, the World Cup David played in Scotland’s first three games. A 3-0 friendly victory over East Germany, that was followed by a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Spain at Hampden despite taking the lead and being given the chance to score again through a penalty, giving Scotland a nightmare start to their Euro ’76 campaign from which they never recovered. Always seemingly, playing catch up to the Spaniards and missing out by the points they had given away on that night at Hampden.
David also played in the return tie v Spain in Valencia in February 1975, in which the Scots came away with a creditable 1-1 draw. Unfortunately David was then involved in a car crash which led to him missing out on the tail end of the season and indeed the European Cup Final against Bayern Munich in Paris, which Leeds were to lose 2-0 with Davie Stewart taking over in goals.
Harvey did recover and indeed played again for Scotland, who had went with Stewart Kennedy of Rangers in his absence and we all know how that finished.
Harvey returned for the Euro double header against Denmark in the winter of 1975 with the Scots winning 1-0 in Copenhagen with a goal from Joe Harper in September followed by the 3-1 victory over the Danes at Hampden with goals from Dalglish, Bruce Rioch and Ted MacDougall. This game also marked John Greig’s final game for Scotland. John had been recalled to the team for the first time in four years; perhaps with long term team captain Billy Bremner being given a life ban following the game in Copenhagen, Willie Ormond was looking for a leader in the Scots team and saw John as this.
As for David he found his place at Leeds becoming more contested with Davie Stewart vying for the first team spot, however it would be the rise of Alan Rough to “Scotland, Scotland’s No1” as Thistle fans sang for years (of course, by 1978, a lot of opposition fans would retort with chants of “Argentina, Argentina”) would herald his departure from the international scene.
David did have a last forty five minutes replacing Rough at Half-Time in a friendly against Finland at Hampden in September, 1976. The Scots were already coasting 4-0 by the time David earned his 16th and final cap in a game which finished 6-0.
And that was that for David who came to prominence in a Scotland team on the rise and reaching that pinnacle of the World Cup 1974, for which David will always be remembered as being an integral part of a side that contained players like Bremner, Holton, Law and Dalglish among notable others.
So Happy Birthday David and all the best.