Bill McNaughton was a sturdy centre forward with express pace who will likely remain in Hull City’s record books for ever. He joined the Tigers in June 1932 having just scored 22 Division Three North goals for Gateshead that propelled the Tynesiders to promotion. In paying £1,000 for McNaughton’s services, City manager Hayden Green was hoping that striker could have a similar effect on the Tigers’ promotion prospects – and he was left entirely satisfied by that decision. McNaughton failed to score in the first three fixtures of the 1932/33 season, his first City goal coming in a midweek 1-3 defeat at Wrexham. That goal kickstarted his goalscoring form and he added a further 15 goals in the next 13 games, including a hattrick in a 4-0 win over Southport and a four goal haul a week later against Barnsley (this is the only occasion in Hull City’s history where a player has scored hattricks in successive first team matches). After missing the game against Crewe the week before Christmas, Bill returned to the first team on Christmas Eve 1932 and resumed his fine form. In ten games between a 3-1 win over Halifax Town on Boxing Day and a 4-1 win over Mansfield Town in early March, McNaughton netted sixteen times, hitting his third Tigers hattrick in that Mansfield game. The goals continued to flow for the rest of the season and a brace of goals in a last day of the season defeat at Rochdale left McNaughton with 41 League goals for the season, a City record. The Tigers finished as Division Three North champions having scored exactly 100 goals in 42 matches and winning 18 of their 21 home matches (and drawing the other three).
McNaughton bought that incredible goalscoring form into the 1933/34 season as City consoldated a place in the mid-table area of the Second Division. Bill scored in eight of the first ten league fixtures that yielded four wins and four draws, but as City’s form faded badly (three wins in 11 games between mid-November and early February) so did McNaughton’s goals. Bill’s last two goals of the season came in a March 1934 4-1 defeat of Manchester United, but a few days later manager Green was relieved of his duties and replaced by experienced former England international centre half Jack Hill, who had been the mainstay of the City defence for the last two years. At the start of the 1934/35 season Hill preferred to use young Irishman Davy Jordan in the centre forward role and McNaughton was consigned to the Reserves. After making a brief comeback in mid-October, during which he scored his final City goal in a 2-0 win over Bradford Park Avenue, McNaughton was sold at the end of October 1934.
William Frederick McNaughton was born in Poplar in the heart of London’s East End docks. He took his first steps in senior football in 1924 with Athenian League side Barking Town, and Bill’s goals from the inside right position helped Barking to second place in the final table. He joined Division Three South side Millwall Athletic in May 1925 but in his one season at The Den he was unable to progress beyond the reserve team. He joined Southern League side Peterborough & Fletton United in June 1926 and in two seasons he struck an impressive 110 goals from the inside right position. This encouraged Northampton Town to sign Bill in May 1928 but the Division Three South side again used him as a reserve striker, in two seasons he started only 12 senior matches and scored two goals.
In August 1930 McNaughton joined Division Three North side Gateshead, where he finally found his goalscoring form at the Football League level. A switch to centre forward from inside right precipitated this improvement and in the 1930/31 season he scored 27 goals in 43 starts. In 1931/32 he missed two months with injury but still managed to score 22 times in 25 starts as Gateshead finished second and won promotion to the Second Division. He scored four goals in each of two matches played four days apart in September 1931, his only two hattricks for Gateshead. He also scored in the January 1932 win over Hull City, a goal that attracted the attention of City manager Hayden Green who signed Bill five months later.
McNaughton joined Stockport County in October 1934 and despite missing two months of football in December and January he netted 17 times in 20 starts. In the 1935/36 season his scoring prowess began to fade, although he did enjoy a last swansong in December 1935 when he struck five goals past Mansfield Town in a 6-1 victory. McNaughton was transfer listed in May 1936 and he attracted the interest of his former club Gateshead – however the Redheugh Park side were not willing to pay the fee demanded by Stockport so he joined Newcastle-based Northern Eastern League side Walker Celtic as a stopgap while Gateshead negotiated the release of his Football League registration from Stockport. Alas that release never came and Bill spent the whole 1936/37 season at Walker. He began the 1937/38 season at City of Durham after a summer move to Blyth Spartans was abandoned, but by October 1937 he was injured and dropped out of the game. Between 1928 and 1936 McNaughton started 240 senior games and scored 135 goals – an impressive record from which Hull City was a significant beneficiary.
By 1939 McNaughton and his wife Gladys were running a hotel at Wrekenton in the suburban hills above Gateshead. He later settled in the Fletton area of Peterborough, living in a neat Victorian terraced house. He died in Fletton in August 1980.
Date/Place of Birth: 8 December 1905, Poplar
Hull City First Game: 27 August 1932, Walsall A (Division Three North), 26 years, 263 days old
Hull City Final Game: 20 October 1934, Bolton Wanderers H (Division Two), 28 years, 316 days old
Barking Town (1924-1925), Millwall Athletic (1925-1926), Peterborough & Fletton United (1926-1928), Northampton Town (1928-1930), Gateshead (1930-1932), Hull City (1932-1934), Stockport County (1934-1936). Walker Celtic (1936-1937), City of Durham (1937)
Hull City Record
Career: 92 apps, 59 goalsBill McNaughton