Tall striker Robert Roderick McDonald came through the ranks at Hull City while he studied at Hull Grammar School, signing professional terms in 1977. He debuted in the first team not long after his 18th birthday in March 1977 and made three more starts at the end of the 1976/77 season, but by the time he played again – in the final game of 1977/78 season – CIty were relegated to the Third Division. City signed Keith Edwards for the 1978/79 season and the presence of the Stockton marksman meant McDonald got few first team opportunities. When he did get a run of games in April and May 1978 he was used as a defender, though he did score goals against Southend in April and at Sheffield Wednesday on the last day of the season in mid-May – these were to be McDonald’s only senior goals for the Tigers. Manager Ken Houghton stuck with McDonald’s defensive qualities for the opening games of the 1979/80 season but soon looked elsewhere as Rob again drifted out of the side. He played just once under new boss Mike Smith, in the second leg of an August 1980 League Cup tie against Lincoln that was a dead rubber after City were duffed up by 5 goals to nil in the first leg. McDonald drew an end to a long association with Hull City in the 1980 close season, three years after his debut.
In February 1980 McDonald was loaned to SportClub Cambuur, a Dutch club from the town of Leeuwarden. This loan spell evidently went well for both McDonald and for Dutch football, because in August 1980, days after his final appearance for the Tigers, Rob signed a permanent deal for FC Wageningen, following the coach that had managed him at Cambuur a few months earlier. This move began a remarkable six year spell in Dutch football that saw McDonald score regular goals and climb the league ladder to spend three years at Groningen, scoring a goal every two games and playing in European club competitions, then win the Eredivisie title with PSV Eindhoven in 1986, scoring 15 league goals during the season. From Hull City reserves to winning a League title alongside Ruud Gullit in six years – decent. In August 1986 was loaned to Sport Clube de Portugal of Lisbon, but that stay was short and he returned to Holland with Groningen before short spells in Belgian and Danish football. In November 1988 Newcastle United paid £150,000 for McDonald’s signature, but his return to the English game where his professional career started was not a success and, after a short spell with Besiktas in Turkey, he saw out his playing days at Veendam back in Holland.
When his playing days ended McDonald went into coaching with FC Emmen and FC Zwolle. Between 1997 and 2004 he managed Dutch sides DOVO and de Graafschap, South African team Ajax Cape Town, then Cambuur and VVOG back in the Netherlands. In 2006/07 season he moved to Ireland to manage Sligo Rovers and the following season he managed AS Trencin, a Slovak side that became well known to City fans during the Tigers’ short 2014 UEFA Cup adventure. He had two further spells managing in Holland, returning to DOVO in 2010 then leading VV Nunspeet in 2013/14 season. He then became an agent brokering deals for fellow football managers and coaches across the world, based in the historic town of ‘s Heerenberg located close to the River Rhine and the Netherlands-Germany border.
Date/Place of Birth: 22 January 1959, Hull
Hull City First Game: 5 March 1977, Burnley H (Division Two), 18 years, 42 days old
Hull City Final Game: 12 August 1980, Lincoln City H (League Cup First Round Second Leg), 21 years, 203 days old
Hull City (1976-1980), SC Cambuur (1979-1980, loan), FC Wageningen (1980-1981), Willem II (1981-1982), FC Groningen (1982-1985), PSV Eindhoven (1985-1986), Sporting Clube de Portugal (1986, loan), FC Groningen (1986-1987, loan), Racing Jet Bruxelles (1987) Ikast FS (1987-1988), Newcastle United (1988-1989), Besiktas (1989), BV Veendam (1989-1992)
Hull City Record
Career: 28 apps, 2 goalsRob McDonald
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