Inside forward Russell Wainscoat was a renowned goalscorer and former England international when he joined Hull City in October 1931. Wainscoat had fallen out of favour at his previous club Leeds United and the move to Hull City was designed to reignite his career in his mid-30s. The outcome was startling – after two goalless games at the start of his City career, Wainscoat scored 17 goals in the next 17 senior games, including a mid-November brace against Doncaster to open his account and a February 1932 hattrick against Stockport County. He scored in eight of 11 consecutive games between mid-November and mid-February that yielded seven victories. His form tailed off at the end of the season as City ended the season in the middle reaches of the Division Three North table.
In August 1932 City manager Hayden Green signed a centre forward that had been released by recently promoted Gateshead – Londoner Bill McNaughton and Russell Wainscoat combined to devastating effect in the 1932/33 season with McNaughton scored 41 times in the League and Wainscoat adding a further 21 league goals, plus another five in the FA Cup. In November 1932 Russell scored a hattrick in the League against New Brighton then a fortnight later netted 4 goals against Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Cup. Wainscoat’s goals, plus McNaughton’s, propelled City to the Division Three North title come May 1933 – in two seasons Wainscoat had scored 45 goals in 69 starts. However City’s elevation to the Second Division, plus Wainscoat’s advancing years, both affected Russell’s form and by early December 1933 he was out of the first team after scoring five goals. A brief return in February 1934 lasted only two games and as City ended the season in mid-table Wainscoat announced his retirement from the professional game (though he continued to play for his pub team in the Grimethorpe Thursday League for a couple more years).
William Russell Wainscoat was born in Retford, a railway town in Nottinghamshire. His father was a railwayman in the nearby shunting yard and by 1911 Russell and his father, by now widowed, had moved to Worksop. Wainscoat served in the First World War as a Private in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment and a Sargeant in the Highland Light Infantry. By 1919 he had been demobilised and was working at Maltby Main Colliery near Rotherham and scoring numerous goals for the colliery football team. In March 1920 Wainscoat was signed by Division Two side Barnsley and two days later he announced his arrival in the grandest way possible, scoring a hattrick on his Football League debut against Fulham. In the next three seasons Wainscoat was a regular first teamer for the Tykes who scored regularly and often attracted the attention of First Division clubs. However at the start of 1923/24 season Russell’s form had waned, when he left Oakwell in December 1923 he had made 153 senior appearances for Barnsley and scored 56 goals.
Wainscoat joined Middlesbrough in December 1923 for a fee later reported as being £4,800. Middlesbrough were struggling at the foot of the Division One table and Wainscoat’s signing was intended to kickstart a revival. Alas it never happened, Russell started regularly for Boro but scored only twice as the Teessiders finished bottom of the table and slipped into the Second Division. Russell began the season in the Boro first team but as he continued to struggle for goals he drifted out of the first eleven after Christmas 1924. In March 1925 he transferred to Leeds United, another team struggling at the foot of the Division One table, for a £2,000 fee.
This move to Elland Road was the making of Wainscoat’s career. Leeds struggled towards the lower end of the First Division for three seasons, finally being relegated in 1927, but Wainscoat was installed as team captain and scored at a regular rate. A dislocated elbow and broken arm kept him out of the game for three months in 1925/26 season but he returned and toured Canada with the FA XI in the summer of 1926. When Leeds won immediate promotion back to the top flight in 1927/28 season Wainscoat missed just one league start and netted 18 goals. Back in the First Division, Wainscoat scored another 19 senior goals in 1928/29 season, leading to international recognition. He stayed a further two seasons at Elland Road but fell out of favour in the 1931/32 season, leading to his move to Hull City. Wainscoat left Leeds United having scored 93 goals in 226 starts.
Wainscoat retired in 1934 with an impressive senior record of 204 goals in exactly 500 starts – 70 of those goals were scored in First Division fixtures. In September 1932, while still playing for Hull City, Russell had taken over as licensee of the Manor Hotel in Grimethorpe, north of Barnsley, and he ran the pub for many years while also having an interest in a Barnsley shoe shop. In October 1952 he took over the Norfolk Hotel in Worthing and he remained on the Sussex Coast until his death in August 1967.
Wainscoat was awarded an England international cap in April 1929 when he started a Home Championship game against Scotland at Hampden Park, which England lost 0-1. England also fielded Sheffield Wednesday’s ex-Tiger Ernie Blenkinsop at left back in that match.
Date/Place of Birth: 28 July 1898, Retford
Hull City First Game: 31 October 1931, York City H (Division Three North), 33 years, 95 days old
Hull City Final Game: 10 February 1934, Brentford H (Division Two), 35 years, 197 days old
Maltby Main Colliery Welfare (1919-1920), Barnsley (1920-1923), Middlesbrough (1923-1925), Leeds United (1925-1931), Hull City (1931-1934)
Hull City Record
Career: 85 apps, 50 goalsRussell Wainscoat