Alan Davidson began his playing career as a junior at Altona City and made his debut for the senior team in 1977. He transferred to South Melbourne Hellas in the National Soccer League in 1978 and broke through into the seniors the following year. He helped the club win the NSL championship in 1984. Stand-out performances for Australia against England in 1983, and against touring giants Manchester United, Juventus and Nottingham Forest in 1984 brought Davidson’s name to international attention. He was invited to trial at Bayern Munich but was eventually signed by Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest. Just as he was establishing himself in the first team, a series of injuries truncated his career. He fractured three vertebrae and was in plaster for months and with his career in England over Davidson effectively retired from football aged just 25.
He returned to Australia and after a period of rehabilitation resumed playing with South Melbourne. In 1987 he moved to Melbourne Croatia where he had six excellent seasons. In 1992 he joined Pahang in Malaysia. He was acclaimed as the best player in the Malaysian League (the first foreigner to do so) and helped his club win both the League and Cup. He continued to play in Malaysia until 1996 but had spells as a guest player back in Australia with South Melbourne and Collingwood Warriors in its only season in the National Soccer League. He returned to Australia with the Melbourne Knights in 1997-98.
Alan Davidson’s representative career began with the Young Socceroos in 1979 and he received his first Socceroo cap against Czechoslovakia in 1980. He took part in the World Cup qualifying campaigns in 1981, 1985 and 1989 and appeared 76 times for his country including 51 full caps and scored two goals. He also played at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988 and represented Victoria five times in matches against visiting teams from overseas between 1979 and 1989.
Since he retired from playing at the top level he has continued to contribute to the game including coaching the then Bulleen Zebras in the Victorian Premier League and in the women’s game at top level. In 2011 he coached the South Melbourne women’s team to the Women’s Premier League title. Alan Davidson was recognised in South Melbourne’s team of the century in 2000 and inducted into the Football Australia Hall of Fame in 2001. He was named as one of the Greatest Ever Australian Footballers in July 2012. He is a member of the FFA Independent Match Review Panel. He is respected by everyone involved in the game both as a player and a person.
His son Jason, has had an established career for both club and country, where he tasted success winning the Asian Cup on home soil in 2015. They hold a unique place as the most capped father-son duo to have represented the Socceroos.