A Tribute To Ralph Davis
Ralph Davis : 1921 - 2006

Ralph Davis at Fairmead School
Ralph spreads the Yeovil Town name to a new generation.
Ralph Davis, one of the last two links with the Yeovil Town F.A. Cup run of 1948-49, passed away suddenly on Monday 13th of March. He was 84. Ralph had still been watching his beloved Glovers right to the end, his final appearance at Huish Park being the previous Saturday for the 0-0 derby draw against Swindon Town.

Ralph was Somerset born and bred, living his whole life in Stoke-sub-Hamdon. He was working there for Southcombe Brothers, fittingly a gloving business, when signed by Alec Stock shortly before the end of the 1945-46 season. Although he'd played a few games for Hereford United during the war when he was serving in the R.A.F. Davis was to be a one club man. The appearance records for Yeovil Town are not complete for that period, but Davis clocked up close to 300 first team games for the Glovers. He was a left back, good in the tackle, but with the main asset of speed - hence his nickname amongst his team mates of 'The Rabbit'. In February 1953 he was advised to give up the game as mounting injuries took their toll. Although he did attempt a come back fallen arches in both feet proved too much and that was the finish for Ralph on the pitch.

Ralph celebrates Yeovil's League Two Championship, 2005
Ralph celebrates the latest triumph of his beloved Glovers.
Of course for the Yeovil players of that era, all part-timers with day jobs, it was the Cup run of 1948-49 that saw Yeovil Town knock out First Division Sunderland in the Fourth Round and make the trip to Maine Road to meet Manchester United in the Fifth that brought them fame World wide and immortality in Yeovil. Ex-Yeovil chairman Bryan Moore, who watched the win over the Roker Park outfit, remembered :

"Ralph was the only local boy who played for Yeovil in that Sunderland match and the great thing about him was that he continued supporting the club for the rest of his life. I will always remember him for some of his sliding tackles when he was a player. Weymouth had a player called Sammy McGowan who was the same build as Ralph and when they came up against each other they used to have some great battles."

Ralph Davis at Huish Park with Gary Johnson, 2002
Ralph and Gary meet ahead of the F.A. Trophy Final.

Davis himself recalled the day of the Sunderland match, recently voted as the greatest F.A. Cup giantkilling of all time, as the most important of his life :

"It was the greatest day of my life. But twice I thought the match would be abandoned and it would all count for nothing. First, with just five minutes remaining, the whole ground was covered by this incredible fog. No one could see a thing. I felt sure the referee would call it off. But then the fog disappeared as quickly as it had come. To this day I'm convinced the crowd were so excited by the prospect of a famous victory that they blew it away. Then, with two minutes to go, the ref blew up for a foul and the crowd, thinking it was all over, invaded the pitch. But we pleaded with them to go back and they did.

"Eric Bryant and Alec Stock scored the goals. Alec was a great manager, a father of 11 boys if you like. In the fifth round we got beaten 8-0 by Manchester United at Maine Road - Old Trafford was still not ready after the war."

However, although rightly proud of that achievement as a player, Davis was a true supporter of the club and keener to spread the message of Yeovil's recent successes than recall the past when approached by the media, usually when the Glovers were on another cup run. Unfailingly courteous and pleasant, he was a man who lived and breathed Yeovil Town, and it was touching that it was as a simple fan that he wondered if he might be allowed to meet Gary Johnson ahead of the F.A. Trophy Final against Stevenage Borough.

Mr Davis leaves a son, Brian, daughter, Margaret, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. Ralph was an absolute gentleman and will be much missed by all who knew him.

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Last Updated : 18th March 2006
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