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Alfie Boyd part 3
The true story will probably never be known now, but there was probably a bit of truth in both accounts. Alfie would like to stay in Scotland and play at a higher level, if it meant he could have his family in the area he was brought up in, also if this was not possible he’d like to return back to his wife’s adopted country. The reason for St. Johnstone dropping Alfie is another matter, was it a matter of "principle" as reported by one reporter, or for monetary reason’s as reported by another, stating Alfie’s side?
Knowing Alfie’s reputation for being an honourable gentleman, I don’t believe he wouldn’t want to play and give his all, but I can understand St. Johnstone’s reluctance to play him for their own reason’s. Principle’s, I don’t believe were any part of this, more the fact they didn’t want to reduce his value, or play a dissatisfied player. The facts were, Alfie was soon to start on the next step of his football career the only matter to be settled was where?Dundee FC
A number of clubs had been after Alfie, both Scottish and English. The latest English side to post an interest were Bradford Park Avenue, they had placed a bid of £4,000 for his services early in season 1946-47. When Dundee’s undisclosed offer was accepted, but suspected to be £4,000, an English side were reputed to have offered £1,000 more. It may have been Bradford coming back no one will ever know, the facts were Alfie had no interest moving south of the border, so any team with a chance of beating Dundee to his signing would have to be Scottish.
It would take exceptional circumstances for another Scottish side to tempt Alfie though if Dundee were in the running. Alfie was Dundee born and bred, he was a programme seller for the Club, who had rose to the proud position of net boy as a youngster. It was always his hope to play for his local side. He currently worked in Dundee and actually trained at Dens whilst playing for St Johnstone. It would also take some exceptional selling power to outdo the charismatic George Anderson who was in the process of building a team to compete in the Scottish ‘A League’. Dundee had won the league the previous season, but failed to be elected into the top flight and were vying for top spot again, so any ambitious player would certainly want to sign for Dundee at this time.
So come February 1947, Alfie became a Dundee player, his first job was to telegram his wife in South Africa to get on a boat to England with his 7 month old daughter Heather, this was a message she had been waiting to hear. He only missed a couple of appearances as Dundee went onto win the ‘B league for a 2nd successive year and were granted access to the higher echelons of Scottish Football again. Alfie also won his first trophy with Dundee when they won the 1946-47 Season’s, Dewar Shield against Falkirk. They had lost 1-0 at Brockville, but ran out easy winners in the 2nd leg winning 4-0 at Dens, with Boyd scoring a 20 yard screamer. It was also shortly after Alfie’s arrival that Dundee recorded their two record 10-0 victories, more incredibly they were back to back wins, over Alloa away then Dunfermline at home.
Come Season 1947-48 he was an ever present in the starting eleven and Dundee finished a credible 4th on their return to the top flight. There was a scare though when he injured his shoulder by crashing into the wooden surrounding fence at Dumfries in a 5-2 defeat to QOS, he was taken to Dumfries R.I. for an X-ray as the game carried on without him, fears of a broken collar bone were eased on the results proving negative. Although Alfie was a cultured half back, he was capable of playing further forward, he even made a couple of appearances at inside left that season against Clyde in a 7-0 victory and against Motherwell at Dens, he scored in a 2-0 victory.
Hibs won the league that year and Dundee played them in the last game of the Season and defeated them 3-1, the paper headings were "It was Dundee who looked like the Champs", it was further reported "Alf Boyd, far and away the best wing half on view, cool reliable in defence, swift and incisive in attack, you could always look for Alf where the fray was thickest".
1948-49 was the nearly season in so many ways. Dundee reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and faced Rangers in the Semi Final at Hampden, but were soundly beaten 4-1. They were playing well and were battling with Hibs and Rangers at the top of the league for most of the season. They reached the semi final of the Scottish cup also, but were beaten by Clyde in the Hampden replay 2-1. During this Cup run Hibs had fallen away and Dundee and Rangers were left to fight it out. Dundee, were 1 point clear and only had to win their last four games to win the Championship. They failed at the last hurdle and were defeated by Falkirk 4-1 at Brockville and Rangers went onto win the league by 1 point.
In the lead up to the Cup matches Alfie earned his first and only Senior Scottish Cap for the Scottish League against the English League as did team mate Tommy Gallagher, both players were given pass marks in what was a sound 3-0 defeat at Ibrox. Charlie Buchan one of England’s top forwards wrote. "Gallagher and Boyd, the Scottish wing half backs were the cleverest players in the Scottish team." That’s where Alfie’s honours finished. Alfie believed that perhaps some players in Glasgow clubs had a much better chance of catching the selectors’ eye, but he didn’t brood over it.
Alfie was interviewed in 1950 about his period at Dens and it went as follows.
"You have had a few odd disappointments Alf?"
"More than our fair share, I would say. You know what happened last year when we looked so good for our first League Championship. Behind the scenes we were only too aware of what our trouble was."
"Rangers were after us. We had to win our last four games and just because the prize was so valuable, we were inclined to be too much on edge. The strain began to show on the faces of the boys."
"In our last match with Falkirk at Brockville, a win would have made us Champions, but everything went wrong. We were all over them in the first half, but when Alec Stott failed with a penalty close on half time. We felt that the fates were against us. If Alec can’t score who can, was the thought that came to our minds and you know how a thing like that can let you down when you are fighting against the collar."
"We got into the semi final of both the League Cup and Scottish Cup and I think our defeat by Clyde in the replay of the Scottish was as hard a blow as any. We had gone to Tynecastle in the round before the semi and won handsomely. I had visions of a Cup medal, the one thing we all dream of winning, but Clyde put an end to that dream."
At the start of 1949 Season Alfie took part in the SFA’s Trainers’ and Players’ Coaching course. He was one of the assistant coaches along with Reggie Smith of Dundee and Sammy Kean of Hibernian who would be part of Dundee’s Championship backroom staff of 1961-62 Season. Notable names in attendance were Willie Ormond of Hibs and a certain Jock Stein who was unattached at this time. Alfie also completed the English equivalent coaching course in 1950, he was the first ever player to hold both coaching certificates in Britain.
Season 1949-50 was pretty uneventful for Dundee and they only finished mid table. Season 1950-51 was the Season Dundee signed Billy Steel and Dundee’s fortunes improved as they finished 3rd, but equal on points with 2nd placed Rangers. The real surprise was Alfie Boyd actually finished Dundee’s top scorer this year with 8 goals. This wasn’t the only time Alfie was top scorer that season, he was also Dundee FC Cricket team’s top batsman against a Forfarshire XI scoring 40 runs.
Source: Dundee Mad
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