David Dunmore can be considered as one of City’s first home grown heroes. Born in Whitehaven, he moved to York at a very young age. He first caught the eyes of City scouts at Cliftonville, a strong breeding ground for future City stars in the 1940s and 1950s.
The former Canon Lee pupil signed professional for City in early 1952 and made his first team debut, scoring in a 3-0 win, on the last day of the 1951/2 season. He was a squad player during the following season before establishing himself as a first choice striker in the 1953/4 season. A hat trick against Mansfield in October confirmed his pedigree in a struggling side. An ever present, he celebrated his 20th birthday in February and days later he was transferred to Spurs for £10,500, a club record, having scored 21 goals in 32 games that season. He remained in York for a while to complete his machinist apprenticeship and continued to train with City whilst playing for Spurs. He later said that his transfer fee was later spent on summer signings (Bottom, Forgan, Howe, Phillips and Wilkinson) that formed the back bone of City's 1954/5 Happy Wanderers FA Cup side, in reality, probably less than half the Dunmore fee was re-invested.
Known for his finesse and grace, he spent 6 years at Spurs, one year with West Ham before joining Leyton Orent. Highlights included a Hammers' hat trick in a 6-0 win over Arsenal and playing in an England Under 23 trial game. In total, he scored 39 goals in 111 games for Spurs and WHU. In 1961, he joined Leyton Orient, scoring another 47 goals in 154 appearances. He helped them to gain promotion into the top flight in his first full season and followed up by being their joint top scorer with 22 goals in the 1962/3 season, The O's only ever top flight season. Dunmore rejoined City in 1965 for £5,000.
He spent 2 more seasons with City before moving into non league football.
Dunmore made 123 appearances during his two spells with the Minstermen, scoring 41 goals.
Many believe the money from his sale in 1954 helped to fund our successful 1955 FA Cup semi final side.
He is equally well revered in east London and his 4 years at Leyton Orient. In 2012 to mark his 80th birthday, Alan Chandler, an ambassador for the East London team’s Supporters’ Club, made a 270-mile round trip from his Solihull home yesterday to wish Heworth-based Dunmore many happy returns ahead of his landmark birthday.
Dunmore, who was still active on the golf course into his 80s, had been top scorer in the only O’s team to ever win promotion to the top tier of English football in 1962, netting 22 times. Chandler presented the O’s legend with a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne on his pilgrimage to North Yorkshire and, explaining his journey, he said: “Dave is one of the most iconic players in our history and arguably one of the best. I believe he should have got an England cap but, when you play for an unfashionable Cinderella club, like ourselves or York City, that doesn’t happen. I remember his debut against Charlton when we lost 2-0. Dave doesn’t, because he’s told me he only remembers the games he scored in. I was a teenager then and he was a very elegant player. I can also remember him leaping like a salmon and heading against the bar in a cup replay against Burnley, when they were the league champions. He used to score fantastic goals and had a terrific shot. He was also fast and brought people into the game. At Leyton Orient, we revere our former players and Dave is a great character who is still very active for his age.”
On that occasion, Chandler and Dunmore recalled many memorable games, recalling the time Dunmore ran Ron Yeats ragged at Anfield game and subsequently Bill Shankly had told his Liverpool side if they stopped Dunmore, they stopped Orient. Who knows what might have happened if Shankly had followed up his interest in Dunmore and made him a Liverpool player.
Other products of the 1950s Cliftonville academy included Barry Jackson, who made record 539 appearances for City, Mick Grainger, City’s best ever reserve keeper and winger Charlie Ware. Dunmore worked in a garage as a panel-beater on his retirement from the game but can gain satisfaction from the fact that he is still remembered fondly for his achievements in a Leyton Orient shirt.
Having celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary, David and his wife, Barbara, were still living in the same house they moved into on their return to York in 1965. For many years, he worked at Leedhams Vauxhall as a panel beater and was a stalwart of Heworth golf club. Sadly he passed away on 11th July 2021, aged 87.