David Herd will be 82 today and perhaps is one of the forgotten men of Scottish football. David came from a footballing family as his father played for Manchester City and his Uncle Sandy was capped once for Scotland as Hearts player in the thirties. David gained five caps for Scotland from 1958 to 1961, whilst playing for Arsenal. His debut cap came in Scotland’s first game after the 1958 World Cup against Wales at Ninian Park. Scotland fielded four new caps that day in November, ’58 with John Grant of Hibs and Willie Toner of Kilmarnock making the first of both their two caps. The lad chosen to play upfront with Herd was none other than 18 year old Denis Law. Scotland won 3-0 with Denis bagging his first International goal with Graham Leggat and Bobby Collins supplying the other.
However, David would open his goals account in the next game as he scored the first v Northern Ireland in a 2-2 draw at Hampden in November with Bobby Collins supplying the other goal. He would play in the final game of the Home Internationals as Scotland lost 1-0 to England at Wembley in April, 1959.
David was left out of the Scotland set-up for two years and returned to the line-up after the disastrous 9-3 defeat at Wembley. David lined up alongside Ralph Brand of Rangers upfront against the Republic of Ireland at Hampden on World Cup duty in May 1961. Scotland won 4-1 with Brand hitting a first half double and Herd a second half one.
David would miss the second of a double header against the Irish 4 days later as the Scots won 3-0 with Brand scoring one and Everton’s Alex Young hitting a double. However, a week later he was back in the line-up as Scotland lost 4-0 to Czechoslovakia in their third World Cup tie in Bratislava. This would prove to be David’s last game for Scotland.
He would leave Arsenal in July 1961 having scored 107 goals for them in a seven year period and currently lies 15th in their all-time goal scorer list. So did David’s career take a nose-dive after leaving the Gunners; thus why he never gained another cap? It certainly did not.
Arsenal were not a particularly successful team in this period and David moved to Old Trafford. This is where David could be seen as the forgotten man of Scottish football. Scotland teams were generally built around Denis Law at this time and often the question would be who would play up front alongside of him. It does seem surprising that his Man. Utd, teammate was never chosen again.
David continued to score a lot of goals during his time at United. He scored two goals in the 1962-63 FA Cup final with Denis scoring the other as United won 3-1 over Leicester City. He would also be a big part of the Championship winning teams of 1964-65 and 1966-67. David would break a leg in March ’67 and like a lot of players from this era did not really recover from this. He would not feature in United’s European success and soon moved on to Stoke City. David scored a remarkable 145 goals in 265 games for Manchester United and is currently 13th on their all-time goal scoring list.
So Happy Birthday David and all the best.