Prolific centre forward Ken McDonald joined the Tigers in June 1928 to add experience and firepower to Bill McCracken’s squad of promising youngsters. Having scored over 110 goals in the last three seasons for his previous club, it was hoped that McDonald would be ready to contribute from the off and a debut goal against Southampton suggested that was the case. In his third start he scored a hattrick in a 4-2 win over Wolves and set the scene for a run of 20 Second Division matches in which Ken scored 21 goals including a brace against Barnsley and all five goals in a 5-1 thumping of Bristol City in November 1928. A Christmas Day brace against Preson North End completed his impressive run of goalscoring, after which his form dropped and he scored just twice in his next nine starts. McDonald dropped out of the City first team in March 1929 as the youthful talents of Ronnie Starling and Sam Weaver came to the fore, though he did return in the last three fixtures and scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Swansea Town.
McDonald was restored to the City first team at the start of the 1929/30 season and scored five goals in seven starts. Despite this form McDonald was again dropped to the Reserves and made only two further starts for the club in November 1929 against Chelsea and January 1930 against Preston, during which he scored his final City goal in a 2-1 away victory. McDonald left Hull City in March 1930.
Kenneth “Ken” McDonald was born in Llanwrst, a small rural community on Telford’s Holyhead Road, now the A5, in North Wales. His father was a coachman from Shropshire and accustomed to travel, as was evident by the fact that Ken’s childhood was spent living in North Wales, the Wirral Peninsula (at Egremont, looking across the Mersey to Liverpool) and Inverness in Scotland. He began his footballing career after World War One with Inverness Clachnacuddin but moved to South Wales in 1921 to join Caerau, a Welsh League side from Maesteg. After scoring 29 goals for Caerau in three months Ken attracted to the interest of Football League scouts and in December 1921 he joined First Division side Cardiff City. Ken scored on his debut against Preston North End in February 1922 and had a run of first team games in the winter months of 1922, scoring five goals in six starts including a brace against Manchester City. Despite this promising form, in February 1923 McDonald dropped down a division and signed for Second Division side Manchester United. Two starts for the Red Devils in March 1923 yielded a goal against Derby and he made seven starts for the Red Devils at the start of the 1923/24 season, scoring once against Bristol City. In October 1923 he again dropped down a division and signed for Division Three North side Bradford Park Avenue, a move that was to transform his career.
McDonald immediately found his feet at Park Avenue, after blanking on his debut against Wolves he scored 10 times in the next eight consecutive fixtures and by the end of the season had taken his tally to 17 goals. Yet in the 1924/25 season he was again a peripheral figure, missing a large chunk of the season and scoring 7 times in 12 starts. Despite that relatively fallow season, over the next three seasons McDonald’s goalscoring feats were remarkable as he returned 46 goals in 1925/26 season, 39 goals in 1926/27 season, then 29 goals in 1927/28 season as Bradford finally secured promotion to the Second Division having twice missed out narrowly. In 1925/26 season he scored an opening day hattrick against Rotherham United and added three further trebles that season. Four hattricks in 1926/27 season and three hattricks in 1927/28 season followed and his reputation as a powerful goalscoring threat was secured. When he left Bradford Park Avenue in the 1928 close season he had scored 138 goals for the club in just four and a half seasons and 152 starts.
McDonald joined Halifax Town in March 1930 but left the club that summer having scored only once in eight starts. He tried his luck in Ireland with Coleraine at the start of the 1930/31 season but returned to England and joined North Eastern League side Walker Celtic in January 1931. He rediscovered his goalscoring form at Walker and briefly joined Spennymoor United at the start of the 1931/32 before returning to Walker then signing for Blyth Spartans in December 1931. His made his Croft Park debut on Christmas Day 1931 but his time at Blyth was short-lived amid accusations of his lack of fitness, and he stopped playing by the summer of 1932. McDonald remained living in the Walker area of eastern Newcastle Upon Tyne, where by 1939 he worked as a painter and decorator. After World War Two he moved to the East Cleveland area of North Yorkshire, where he died in 1966.
Date/Place of Birth: 24 April 1898, Llanwrst
Hull City First Game: 25 August 1928, Southampton H (Division Two), 30 years, 123 days old
Hull City Final Game: 18 January 1930, Preston North End A (Division Two), 31 years, 269 days old
Inverness Clachnacuddin, Aberdeen (1919-1921), Caerau (1921), Cardiff City (1921-1923), Manchester United (1923), Bradford Park Avenue (1923-1928), Hull City (1928-1930), Halifax Town (1930), Coleraine (1930-1931), Walker Celtic (1931), Spennymoor United (1931), Walker Celtic (1931), Blyth Spartans (1931-1932)
Hull City Record
Career: 43 apps, 31 goalsKen McDonald