Duncan McDonald: the Arsenal player who maybe did or maybe didn’t go to Hartlepools

By Tony Attwood

We’re continuing the series on the players of the 1910/11 season as part of the “Henry Norris at the Arsenal” series.  A list of all the players used in this season appears at the end of the article.

Duncan McDonald was born in Bo’ness (Borrowstounness), on the south bank of the Firth of Forth, and played as a right-sided full back, although his first ever Arsenal game was at left back!

It is reported that he started out with Bo’ness FC (which eventually merged with another local team to form Bo’ness United after the second world war) in some quarters and with Townside FC (a club of which I have no records) in others.

He joined Woolwich Arsenal FC in April 1909, one of many Scots so to do, but of course gained nothing from his registration until the start of the 1909/10 season, making his debut on 30 October 1909 against Manchester United. After that, he played regularly until the end of the season, but left soon after the start of the following season.

McDonald in fact took over from Archie Gray, but ultimately Gray came back and reclaimed his place.   In the summer of 1911 McDonald transferred to West Hartlepool a club that already had achieved some fame when on 8 April 1905 they won the FA Amateur Cup beating Clapton, 3–2.

They played in the Northern League until June 1910, when, after 29 years, West Hartlepool Football Club folded. All the club’s assets and liabilities were taken over by Hartlepools United.

And now we hit our problem.  McDonald transferred from Arsenal in the summer of 1911, having played his last game for Arsenal on 3 September 1910.   But West Hartlepool folded in June 1910, before he got there, so he couldn’t have done.

I suspect that McDonald actually went to Hartlepools United, not West Hartlepool.  A tiny detail, but still nice to be able to pick it up.  If I am wrong somehow, I’m sorry.  If I am right, then everyone else is wrong, then it makes a change and I rather like those moments.  If you have any clarification please do let me know, with as much detail as possible.

Here are the games he played in…

Date Match Result Competition FAC
30 Oct Manchester Utd v Woolwich Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
13 Nov Sheffield Wed v Woolwich Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
20 Nov Woolwich Arsenal v Bristol City D 2-2 League Division One
27 Nov Bury v Woolwich Arsenal W 1-2 League Division One
04 Dec Woolwich Arsenal v Tottenham H W 1-0 League Division One
11 Dec Preston North End v Woolwich Arsenal W 3-4 League Division One
18 Dec Woolwich Arsenal v Notts County L 1-2 League Division One
25 Dec Woolwich Arsenal v Newcastle United L 0-3 League Division One
27 Dec Woolwich Arsenal v Liverpool D 1-1 League Division One
22 Jan Woolwich Arsenal v Middlesbrough W 3-0 League Division One
29 Jan Woolwich Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers W 2-0 League Division One
05 Feb Everton v Woolwich Arsenal L 5-0 FA Cup 2nd round
12 Feb Woolwich Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers L 0-1 League Division One
26 Feb Woolwich Arsenal v Sunderland L 1-2 League Division One
02 Mar Nottingham Forest v Woolwich Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
07 Mar Everton v Woolwich Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
12 Mar Woolwich Arsenal v Manchester Utd D 0-0 League Division One
19 Mar Bradford City v Woolwich Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
25 Mar Newcastle United v Woolwich Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
26 Mar Woolwich Arsenal v Sheffield Wed L 0-1 League Division One
28 Mar Chelsea v Woolwich Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
02 Apr Bristol City v Woolwich Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
09 Apr Woolwich Arsenal v Bury D 0-0 League Division One
11 Apr Woolwich Arsenal v Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
16 Apr Tottenham H v Woolwich Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
23 Apr Woolwich Arsenal v Preston North End L 1-3 League Division One
03 Sep Bury v Woolwich Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One

And that is all we have; he was on the winning side nine times with Arsenal out of 26 league and one FA Cup game.

Here is the table of players covered for this season, thus far.  For McDonald, just one game in this season – but he had made his contribution in keeping the team in the league the season before.

Player Position Games Goals Pens
Edwin Bateup Goalkeeper 30
George Burdett Goalkeeper 10
Leslie Adair Calder Forward 1
Frederick J Calvert Forward 1
John Chalmers Centre forward 31 16
Alfred Common Inside forward 31 6
Andrew Ducat Wing half 35 3 1
John Flanagan Inside forward 10 1
Archie Gray Full back 28
David Greenaway Outside right 22 2
Frank Heppinstall Outside left 5
Gordon Rahere Hoare Forward 16 7
Charles Henry Lewis Forward 36 2
Harry Logan Forward 11
Duncan McDonald Full back 1
Roddy McEachrane Half back 32
Angus McKinnon Left half 10
David Neave Outside left 16 3
John Charles Peart Full back 7
James Alfred Quayle Full back 1
Willis Rippon Inside forward 9 2
Percy Sands Centre half 33
Joseph E Shaw Full back 37
Matthew Shortt Inside forward 4
Matthew Thomson Half back 17
Thomas Winship Outside left 6


An index of all the articles in the evolving series of Henry Norris at the Arsenal appears here.

Details of all the main series of articles we have developed are here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *