RIP John Davies - fine player, terrific coach
JOHN Davies, the successful coach to the WA State team, Spearwood Dalmatinac and Perth Azzurri during the 1980s, has died at the age of 67.
He had been ill for some time with cancer and passed away at his home in Brisbane on Thursday, June 4.
John was the younger brother of the celebrated Wales and Newcastle United player Reg Davies - and teamed up with Reg at Bayswater United when he emigrated to Australia at the age of 23 in 1971.
A pacy left winger with King's Lynn in the English Eastern Counties League before heading Down Under, John quickly slotted into the Bayswater side that had just won promotion to the State League. Along with Reg, he became a key contributor as United won the Top Four Cup and finished runners-up in their first year in the State League.
John won selection in the WA State team in 1972, turning out against Hertha 03 Zehlendorf and Wolves.
He then moved to Sydney, and later New Zealand, before returning to Perth in 1976 to play for Inglewood Kiev.
State team coach Alan Vest was quick to restore John to the representative side - and he turned out in the squad that won the Marah Halim Cup in 1976 and also faced touring sides Tottenham and Sunderland that year. In all, he played nine times for the State.
He added to his trophy collection with Kiev in 1977, helping them win the D'Orsogna Cup - a 5-1 thumping of Dalmatinacs - the Top Four Cup and finish runners-up in the State League to champions Floreat Athena, who prevailed by one point.
The following year John turned to coaching with Gosnells City and, in 1980, he led an Australian X1 in the King's Cup in Bangkok. The representative side was made up of WA players. The team beat selected sides from China and Brunei, drew with Singapore and lost to Thailand B.
He became Spearwood Dalmatinac coach in 1982 - and led the team to a record-breaking State League championship victory, being unbeaten in 22 games and taking the crown by a whopping 13 points from runners-up East Fremantle Tricolore.
The following season Dalies were second in the State League but won the D'Orsogna Cup, beating Tricolore 4-1 in the final with Frank Smerelli getting a hat-trick.
In 1984, Davies again had to be content with runners-up in the State League but another victory in the D'Orsogna Cup was consolation.
That year, John took over as State team coach for a trip to India and led the side to second place in the prestigious DCM Trophy. They lost 1-0 to top Chinese side Liaoning FC in the final.
He moved to Perth Azzurri in 1985, taking the Sky Blues to runners-up in the D'Orsogna Cup. He coached Azzurri for two years before returning to Dalmatinacs.
A high-flying job with Japan Airlines restricted his coaching duties, and he bowed out of the game in 1990 after tasting success at amateur level with Morley Districts.
John went to live in Queensland, but was in WA recently to visit his sons and former State team colleagues like Nick McCallum.
"I could see he wasn't well and I kept in touch with him when he returned to Brisbane," said McCallum.
"John was a fine player and did really well as a coach. He had great man management skills and a terrific eye for talent. He brought many fine players over from England to play here in WA. His achievements with Dalmatinac, in particular, were remarkable."
McCallum added: "It's hoped to have a wake for John in Perth in the next week or so when some of his old State team-mates will get together to pay tribute to him."
PIC ONE: The late John Davies. PIC TWO: John (second from right front row) in the 1976 State team line-up. PIC THREE: John (third from right back row) after Inglewood won the D'Orsogna Cup. Pic courtesy of Brett Klucznik. PIC FOUR: John flanked State team-mates Steve Stacey (left) and Gordon McCulloch.