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Gordon Davies, Fulham to the (s)core

Gordon Davies – or Ivor as he is known affectionately to all at Fulham – is the club’s all-time leading goal scorer and a real Fulham legend. His final tally of 178 goals (159 in the League and 19 in cup competitions) came in two spells at Craven Cottage. A late starter in the professional game, Ivor joined Fulham in 1978 from Merthyr Tydfil for just £4,000. He scored the winner on his debut at Blackpool and, by rattling in the goals, soon caught the eye of the Welsh management, winning 18 caps overall.

Having notched 114 goals in 247 games over six seasons, Ivor decided to try his luck in the top flight with Chelsea in November 1984 (only Ivor could do this and still remain in our good books!). He played mainly in the reserves (although he did manage a first-team hat-trick in a 4-3 win at Goodison Park) before moving to Manchester City a year later.

Ivor returned to the Cottage in October 1986 and set about overhauling both Bedford Jezzard’s (154 goals) and Johnny Haynes’ (158) goalscoring records. Ivor always seemed to play with a smile on his face and it was that, along with the sackful of goals, that made him such a firm favourite with the Fulham faithful with whom he had such a wonderful rapport. He scored several memorable goals, including one in front of the Cottage from near the corner flag against Chesterfield; his own favourite showing was netting three goals in a 4-3 victory at Birmingham in 1979 – “a close call between that and the terrific 4-1 win at Newcastle in October 1982”, he recalls.

One great ‘goal’ that was wrongly chalked off for offside could have changed the course of Fulham history – his strike against Leicester City in the spring of 1983 was incorrectly chalked off and it was Leicester, not Fulham, who ultimately went up to the top flight. Instead, Fulham’s excellent side was broken up and an almost terminal downward spiral began.

Ivor bowed out of Fulham following a testimonial match against Wales at the Cottage in May 1991. He was a little cheesed off at the suggestion of Chairman Jimmy Hill that his “legs had gone”. On moving to Wrexham, Ivor was able to demonstrate that there was still life in the old legs by helping the Welsh side cause a major upset in defeating Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup, and he was able to gesture that his legs were okay to the Match of the Day presenter... Jimmy Hill!

Fulham fans, in fact, played their part in the cup shock – a good luck card signed by many of the Thamesback Travellers was circulated in the dressing room beforehand as Ivor recalls: “Mickey Thomas, Joey Jones and I were busy trying to lift the youngsters’ morale at the time – playing Arsenal was a daunting prospect. Then in came the good luck card. Some of the ‘polite’ messages were great fun to read, as were those you simply couldn’t repeat. It gave me a great lift personally, and it gave the lads a bit of a laugh and certainly helped to diffuse some of the pre-match tension.”

From Wrexham, Ivor moved to Vauxhall Conference side Northwich Victoria, where he finally hung up his boots in 1993 aged 37. He later formed his own pest control company and has combined this with a return to Fulham where he’s involved in matchday corporate hospitality. Rumour has it that he still tries to claim any contentious goals!

Another fantastic Paul Johnson strip, this time celebrating our Ivor.

Hmm, must get that subscription to the mag sorted out!

Oh yes, he’s the dog’s!

SMILE PLEASE! Gordon, second from left, front row in Malcolm Macdonald’s 1982-83 squad.

Ivor’s testimonial report from the Hammersmith and Fulham Gazette, written by TOOFIF Editor DL. Note the mis-spelling throughout of Johnny Haynes (Haines!!!) – so much for the proofreading  at the newspaper back then!

Ivor’s specil testimonial issue.

Ivor celebrates yet another goal courtesy of a classic Ken Coton image.