Outside right William Mackay joined Hull City in May 1937 having enjoyed a journeyman career in Northern England, Northern Ireland and, latterly, South Wales with Swansea Town. Manager Ernie Blackburn introduced Mackay to the City first team from the start of the season but after 11 goalless starts he was dropped into the Reserves and replaced at outside right by Cliff Hubbard. Mackay started two Division Three North Cup ties against Hartlepools United then made one final start at Rochdale in late April 1938. He was handed a free transfer in May 1938 and left the club.
William Alexander Mackay was born in Togston, a small coal mining village between Amble and Morpeth in Northumberland. A prodigious footballer during his school years, William joined his local side Broomhill Institute in 1926 while working as a builder’s labourer. As well as a footballer he was a notable local spinter who competed in many races across the county, his speed complemented his footballing skills on the wing.
In November 1928 he signed for Bedlington United and served the first team in the North Eastern League. By August 1930 he had transferred to Ashington, a former Football League side that was now rebuilding following relegation and a rapid descent down the North Eastern League structure. A year later he switched to Tyneside-based Football League team Gateshead, where he played in the reserves for a season but made no first team appearances. In February 1932 he joined Pegswood United and within five months his form was sufficient to be offered a contract by Division One side Sheffield Wednesday.
Mackay was unable to break into the Wednesday first team and in May 1933 he transferred to Tranmere Rovers. He made his Football League debut against Southport in August 1933 and scored his first senior goal the following month in a 3-1 win at Darlington. However in October 1933, after seven senior appearances for Tranmere, he moved again to Division Three North side Barnsley, a transfer that was cancelled within a few weeks. In December 1933 William joined Belfast-based Irish League side Linfield and he quickly transformed from journeyman to top flight player. With Linfield he won both the 1933/34 Irish League and Irish Cup title, scoring eight goals in 30 appearances including a goal in the 5-0 Cup Final defeat of Cliftonville. He made a further 23 appearances in the 1934/35 season, scoring ten goals and earning a second Irish League winners medal.
In June 1935 he transferred from Linfield to Division Two side Swansea Town. Despite his rich form in Ireland, Mackay strggled to earn a first team place at Vetch Field and made only eight starts in his first season, contributing one goal in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United. He added six further appearances in the 1936/37 season, scoring goals against Newcastle United and Southampton before his move to Hull City in May 1937.
Mackay left Hull City in May 1938 and joined Ashington three months later. However within a few weeks he had moved again to Amble, returning to his Broomhill and Togston roots. In 1940 he joined the 7th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers and served in locations across the UK, playing regimental football for three years. He saw hostile action in 1944 during the Battle for Caen in Northern France, during the weeks after the Normandy landings. His Army life later saw him settle in Folkestone, Kent, where he played wartime fixtures for the local team, and he later served in Germany assisting in the rebuilding of war-torn cities. After his Army service he returned to live in Broomhill near Amble in Northumberland, working as a locomotive fireman for the National Coal Board. He had a long life and died of a heart attack in November 2001.
Date/Place of Birth: 19 March 1910, Togston
Hull City First Game: 28 August 1937, Wrexham H (Division Three North), 27 years, 162 days old
Hull City Final Game: 26 March 1938, Rochdale A (Division Three North), 28 years, 7 days old
Broomhill Institute (1926-1928), Bedlington United (1928-1930), Ashington (1930-1931), Gateshead (1931-1932), Pegswood United (1932), Sheffield Wednesday (1932-1933), Tranmere Rovers (1933), Barnsley (1933), Linfield (1933-1935), Swansea Town (1935-1937), Hull City (1937-1938), Ashington (1938), Amble (1938-1939)
Hull City Record
Career: 14 apps, 0 goalsWilliam Mackay