'Big Dave Ewing', as he was always known, was born in Logierait, Perthshire in May 1929. He was spotted playing for Luncarty Juniors by Manchester City, and signed for the Mancunians on 10 June 1949. However, it was another four years before he made his first team debut, against Manchester United on 3 January 1953. Dave was not only big in stature but had a generosity of spirit about him as well. I remember him when I was a child as a ferocious defender. For Dave the player, marking an opponent usually meant exactly that.
In 1953-54 he was ever-present in the league and went on to be one of the club's most consistent players of the 50ies. Dave played in both the 1955 and 1956 FA Cup Finals. in 1955 Newcastle United beat City 3–1, but the following year Dave was on the winning side against Birmingham City when City ran out 3–1 winners. His playing days at City ended when he joined Crewe Alexandra at the end of the 1961–62 season and he played two seasons for the Cheshire side, adding another 48 appearances to his career total before leaving for Ashton United in the summer of 1964. He played one season with Ashton in the Midlands League before retiring from playing altogether. Dave went on to have coaching spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Bradford City and Crystal Palace. He was Manager at Hibernian before returning to Manchester City.
l was fortunate enough to get to know Dave well whe during his coaching spell with the Reserve team in the seventies. The players at the time all gave him plenty of respect because he was quite capable of knocking the sh*t out of all of them, including Big Joe Corrigan when required. However, Dave was also respected for his grasp of the game and his tactical awareness, and many of the reserve team games were changed round after his half time team talks. I have a lovely memory of Dave at Gigg Lane Bury during a reserve game; it was a dreadfully cold winter afternoon and City were struggling and he had decided to make a substitution. The sub that day was Derek Jeffries, a brilliantly gifted if somewhat erratic midfield player. When Dave looked across the bench to tell Derek to strip, he was faced with sight of Derek wrapped around a meat pie and cup of Oxo which he had grabbed from a vendor who was selling to the crowd! As you might imagine, the air turned blue as Dave bollo*ked him up hill and down dale, but he did have the last laugh by making Derek go on with his full stomach.
In 1978 City won the Central league for the first time ever and this in the days when Liverpool had won it for the past 8 out of nine years, including the previous 4 years. City virtually clinched the title by beating Liverpool by a single Paul Power goal in April, and a measure of the victory was that City could have won by 4 or 5 goals. Dave's strategy was the opposite to his playing style; he told the players to go out, play it right, to go forward and win with positive football! Some of the younger players Dave was managing in those days included Dave Bennett, Ray Ranson, Ronnie Evans, Russell Coughlin, Ged Keegan,Tony Henry, Paul Power, and Roger Palmer, all of whom progressed at some stage to the first team. In addition to these players, Colin Bell, Mike Doyle and Keith McCrae had fairly extensive runs whilst recovering from injuries or attempting to get back to first team fitness!
Over the recent years I had been kept in touch with Dave and his wife Sylvia through his son Mike. It had become apparent that Dave was in a bad way, and at times could not recognise even his wife and family. I find it immensely sad that someone who was so close to his immediate family should have to end his life in this confusion. My prayers are for his family and hopefully Dave will now rest in peace and be remembered for his terrific contribution as a Player, coach and gentleman, not as big daft Dave, because daft he never was.
Dave died in 1999 at the age of 70.
Provided by: Leo Fewtrell