David D’Auria is one of only a handful of Welsh born players to have represented Scunthorpe United in the last 25 years.
|During the coming days, we'll republish past interviews with legendary former Iron players from our matchday programme.|
He began his professional career with local side Swansea City in the late 1980’s before spending a short period as a non-league player.
D’Auria was offered a route back into league football when he signed for Scarborough in 1994 before then Iron manager Dave Moore swooped for the midfielder in December 1995.
Speaking about his move to the club, D’Auria said: “I went to Scarborough and did quite well which obviously just drew the attention of Dave Moore.
“Wayne Bullimore was moving on and Dave had picked me out as a potential replacement for him in midfield. I always seemed to score against Scunthorpe for Scarborough funnily enough and the club ended up paying £40,000 for me which was a big honour.
“The move to Scunthorpe was a no brainer really because they were a much better team, they had a far more organised set up and it was just about stepping up the ladder in professional football.
“I’ve always been the sort of guy that gets on well with almost everybody but I did get a bit of a ribbing from my teammates for being the only Welshman in the dressing room!
“I knew Alan Knill and Stevie Thornber from my time at Swansea which helped but I got to know everyone almost straight away so I did settle in really well.”
D’Auria scored 19 times in 125 games for United during a two-and-a-half year spell at the club, spanning from late 1995 to the summer of 1998.
He is under no illusions as to what part of his time in North Lincolnshire stands out from the rest.
He continued: “We played Everton in the League Cup at the start of the 1997-1998 season which was the biggest game I played in and certainly the biggest home crowd that I played in front of for Scunthorpe.
“The Sky TV cameras were there and Everton brought a good following of fans so it was a fantastic occasion for the club in terms of revenue.
“I remember the likes of Gary Speed and Duncan Ferguson played in the game so it was a great challenge and it was an amazing opportunity to test ourselves against that calibre of opposition.”
As well as having the chance to play against an established Premier League club during his time with the Iron, D’Auria also captained the team for a portion of his stint at United.
Few would have expected the midfield maestro to have gone on and skippered the side upon signing for Scunthorpe but that’s another proud moment in his career which David still looks back on fondly.
“Coming from a team like Scarborough and being the only Welshman in the dressing room, I never expected to go on to captain the club but looking back on it now is very satisfying,” he continued.
“Captaining an English team as a Welshman was quite an honour and even though I didn’t think too much of it back then, it’s definitely something that I’m proud of.
“I have the upmost respect for Brian Laws and the fact that he handed me the captaincy shows that I had a great relationship with him and also Russ Wilcox, who was an ex-teammate of mine.
“I had a good rapport with the supporters and the respect of everyone in the dressing room which is always important.
“People often ask me where I played my best football and I always say Scunthorpe United because I felt I was at my best in terms of fitness there and it was just a very well ran and very well organised club.
“It’s quite a close knit set up but I just fitted into that really well and once I was given the captain's armband I started to progress and score more goals.”
It was during that time that David’s performances inevitably attracted interest from other clubs.
After more than a century of games in claret and blue, D’Auria joined Hull City in 1998 as he explains: “When you get to the age of 28 and you’re with a lower league club, you realise that you’ve probably missed the boat with regards to playing in the Premier League or the Championship.
“So when an offer comes around that significantly increases your income you simply can’t turn it down, as most supporters can surely appreciate.
“Scunthorpe had a much more organised set up but at the age that I was and the level that I was playing at, I wasn’t in a position to say that money wasn’t an object.
“My time at Hull turned out to be a bit chaotic and I definitely felt more settled at Scunthorpe but it was the right decision for me to move on at that stage of my career.”
He added: “I’ve still got some of my goals on video at home and when I find time to watch them or show them to my kids, I get goose pimples.
“There’s nothing that compares to playing football, no matter what level you’re at or how much money you’re earning, there’s nothing like being out on a football field in front of a big crowd and scoring a goal.”
David went on to add: “I’ve never really had the chance to thank the fans for their support during my time at the club so I would just like to take this opportunity to do so. I don’t think I ever heard a bad word said about me and I always got on with them so thank you for making my time at Scunthorpe as friendly and welcoming as you did.”