Tall young striker Clayton Donaldson was born in Bradford and was on Bradford City’s books until the age of 16 when he joined Hull City’s youth training scheme. He progressed through the under-18 and reserve sides and made his debut in October 2002, coming on as substitute and scoring a late consolation goal in an Associate Members’ Cup tie at Port Vale. Clayton made sufficient impression on City manager Peter Taylor to be considered for further benchwarming duties during the remainder of the 2002/03 season and he made two further appearances in February against Lincoln and in April at Boston. He was again used as a replacement striker in two further Associate Members’ Cup ties in the 2003/04 season against Darlington and Scunthorpe, but as Taylor assembled a squad that lifted the Tigers to promotion fo the first time in 19 years Clayton was unable to break into the first team and took a series of loans to garner experience. He left City in June 2005.
The halting start that Clayton made to his footballing career at Hull City gave little sign of what was to come, as he went on to become an effective lower leagues centre forward over the next fifteen years. In June 2005 Donaldson joined Conference National side York City and in his first season he made 45 appearances and scored 18 goals including 7 goals in eight starts in September and October. He improved his record further in 2006/07 season when he struck 26 goals in 48 appearances as the Minstermen qualified for the end of season play-offs only to be eliminated by Morecambe – Clayton scored a hattrick against Cambridge in March 2007. Now established as one of the lower league game’s most promising young strikers, Donaldson signed for Scottish Premier League side Hibernian in July 2007, after a strong start that featured a September 2007 hattrick against Kilmarnock he drifted out of the first team in the second half of the season at Easter Road and ended the season with six goals in 21 appearances.
In August 2008 Donaldson returned to England and signed for Crewe Alexandra. He was once again a first team regular at Gresty Road but the Railwaymen were struggling at the foot of League One and he ended the season with 7 goals from 43 appearances. Things improved over the next two seasons and in 2010/11 Donaldson had his best season of his career, scoring 29 goals in all competitions. In July 2011 he joined League One side Brentford having scored 49 goals in 130 appearances for Crewe. He missed only two league games in his three seasons at Griffin Park and by the summer of 2014 Brentford had won promotion to the Championship and Clayton, at the age of 30, had scored 53 goals in 155 appearances and was being chased by numerous Football League sides.
He moved to Championship side Birmingham City in July 2014 and was again a first team regular for two seasons, before appearing less frequently in 2016/17 season – when he left Birmingham at the end of August 2017 he had scored 33 goals in 177 appearances. He joined Sheffield United and spent the 2017/18 season at Bramall Lane, scoring 5 times in 29 appearances. After spending 2018/19 season at financially challenged Championship side Bolton Wanderers he joined his home town club Bradford City in June 2019 at the age of 35. After 62 appearances and 11 goalsin two seasons at Bradford, Donaldson joined National League North side York City in August 2021.
Donaldson represented the English non-leagues between 2005 and 2007, making four starts for the England National Game XI. Clayton’s parents both hailed from Jamaica and in 2015 he won his first cap in November 2015 against Panama. By the end of 2016 he had made 10 appearances for the Reggae Boys and scored twice, in November 2015 against Haiti and in May 2016 against Chile.
Date/Place of Birth: 7 February 1984, Bradford
Hull City First Game: 22 October 2002, Port Vale A (Associate Members’ Cup First Round), 18 years, 257 days old
Hull City Final Game: 4 November 2003, Scunthorpe United H (Associate Members’ Cup Second Round), 19 years, 270 days old
Hull City (2002-2005), Harrogate Town (2002-2003, loan), Scarborough (2003, loan), Halifax Town (2004, loan), Harrogate Town (2004, loan), York City (2005-2007), Hibernian (2007-2008), Crewe Alexandra (2008-2011), Brentford (2011-2014), Birmingham City (2014-2017), Sheffield United (2017-2018), Bolton Wanderers (2018-2019), Bradford City (2019-2021), York City (2021-current)
Hull City Record
Career: 5 apps, 1 goalsClayton Donaldson
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