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Aberdeen Football Club Heritage Trust - Player Profile
Willie Waddell Squad Index
Information:
1947-48 Squad Number:
5
Position:
Centre Half
Date of Birth:
12th December 1919
Birthplace:
Glasgow
Nationality:
Scottish
Height:
5' 10 1/2
Weight:
11st 6lbs
Signed:
30/05/1938
Career History:
Strathclyde
Renfrew Juniors
Aberdeen 30th May 1938
Celtic (On Loan) 8th August 1940

York City & Huddersfield Town (On Loan) 1941-42
Kettering Town September 1950-1953
 
Profile:
An apprentice plumber to trade, Willie arrived at the club on the same day as Archie Baird. However, as Archie's career stalled, injuries to both centre halves, Syd Nicholson and Donald Grant gave Willie an early chance. Making his debut against Falkirk in October 1938 he evidently struggled with the more physical nature of the senior game but it was obvious that he had sound positional sense and that he, "should develop into a good half back." (P&J, 3-10-1938) Two months later he would find himself back in first team action in somewhat unusual circumstances. A combination of injuries and defeats to Queen's Park and Kilmarnock saw Aberdeen directors and manager take the unprecedented step of changing out the whole halfback line. Out went Frank Dunlop, Syd Nicholson and George Thomson (moved to left back) and in came George Scott, Donald Grant and Willie Waddell. All three played well at Dumfries as the Dons secured a 1-1 draw against Queen of the South. However, despite defeating Raith Rovers 6-3 in the next match it was obvious that Willie was not yet ready for first team football as he looked totally out of his depth. While Scott and Grant kept their places it was not surprising to find that for the following week George Thomson was restored to his usual left half role and Willie found himself back in the reserves.

Willie began the 1939-40 season as the reserve centre half but when war was declared he soon found himself a regular place in the side when Syd Nicholson returned south. As Aberdeen were not fielding a senior side for the 1940-41 season Willie guested for Celtic. Further guest appearances followed for both York City and Huddersfield Town while serving in the Army. He was to make a solitary appearance for the Dons against Dunfermline Athletic in April 1942 prior to serving abroad, where he was to see initial action in the Western Desert in July 1942. He then fought in Italy and was in the BAOR in 1945. By the time he returned to the club in February 1946, the centre half position was occupied by Frank Dunlop. However, he found that his excellent positional sense could be put to good use at either right or left half.

Although only playing a handful of games at the end of the 1945-46 season he started the following season as the regular centre half but the arrival of Joe McLaughlin in October saw him lose his place. However, his finest hour in an Aberdeen shirt was yet to come that season as the Dons won through to the final of the Scottish Cup. There appeared little chance of Willie appearing in the Final line up but an injury to Willie Cooper, who had played in every round and was injured in the semi-final, saw a positional change with George Taylor moving from left half to left back. This meant the left half slot had to be filled and manager Halliday turned to Waddell, a player whom Norman MacDonald would admit in the local press, had been knocking on the door of the first team all season and, "has been unfortunate not to find a regular place." (P&J, 18-04-1947) However, he would have a vital role to fulfill in stopping Finnegan from supplying Gordon Smith. If he could do that then, "the Dons will be well on the way to victory." (P&J, 18-04-1947) It was a job well done as Aberdeen went on to beat Hibernian 2-1 to win the Scottish Cup for the first time. The Glasgow Herald pointed out that the Hibernian defeat was the fault of the Hibernian inside men, "who were blotted out of the game by the tall and strong McLauglin and Waddell." (The Glasgow Herald, 21-04-1947) Even the Scotsman was to comment on the first-class service from McLaughlin and Waddell (The Scotsman, 21-04-1947). It was however, the days before squad medals and it appeared that Willie Copper would miss out as only eleven medals would be issued. However, after the match Willie Waddell told local reporter Norman MacDonald that, "It's tough luck Willie Cooper missing his medal. He's worth one and if he doesn't get one then I intend to offer him mine." (P&J, 21-04-1947) MacDonald would remark that it was one of the most sporting gestures he had met in his twenty years of involvement in the sport. In the end Willie Cooper turned down the gesture and the club received permission to obtain a medal for the long serving full-back and Waddell would be able to retain the medal he won on that famous day.

Willie was to be a regular for the next two seasons, amassing over sixty appearances but injury kept him out of the side for the first match of the 1949-50 season. He returned for the following games against Celtic and Rangers but heavy defeats in both games prompted a reorganisation of the Dons team and Willie was one of those dropped. Returning to the side in October 1949 he turned out for eleven consecutive matches, the final one of which being a 5-0 victory over Motherwell in December 1949. Unfortunately he was injured in the match which proved to be his final one in Aberdeen colours as he was unable to regain his place. By the end of the season he was on the Open-To-Transfer list at 1,500. When the 1950-51 season started Willie was not even considered for the trial matches nor the reserve team. Keith made and audacious attempt to sign him on loan during August but the SFA ruled that temporary transfers were not allowed.

At the beginning of September 1950 Willie had walked out on the Dons for non-League football where better terms were on offer (and Aberdeen were not due a transfer fee) and signed for Kettering Town. The "Press and Journal" would later state that the Aberdeen manager David Halliday had no knowledge of the signing. However, in October 1950 the club granted Willie a Free Transfer to allow him to play for the Northamptonshire club. Kettering Town was run by people in the ball-bearing industry of which Willie gained a knowledge before starting his own enterprise. From modest beginnings, he built up a prosperous business of sixty employees and sold it for 500,000. He was asked to remain as managing director and went on to become an extremely wealthy man. Willie died near Rotherham aged sixty in December 1979 after suffering from a heart attack while driving between his home in Glasgow and Kettering.

Research by: Derek Giles

Footnote: Some years later, Willie's famous medal was stolen from his car but eventually turned up in an auction in August 2013. It was procured by the AFC Heritage Trust and put on show in the Pittodrie Boardroom where not long afterwards his family, including his wife Elizabeth, were able to visit and view the recovered medal.

Appearances: show debut only
Date Result Competition Venue Att. Age at Debut Type
01/10/1938
Aberdeen 4-1 Falkirk
Div 1 (Old) 6,000 18 Start
26/11/1938
Queen of the South 1-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 7,500 18 Start
03/12/1938
Aberdeen 6-3 Raith Rovers
Div 1 (Old) 9,000 18 Start
27/04/1939
Aberdeen 5-2 Buckie Thistle
Dewar Shield R1 1L 19 Start
14/08/1939
Buckie Thistle 5-7 Aberdeen
Dewar Shield R1 2L 1,000 19 Start
23/09/1939
Aberdeen 4-0 Arbroath
Friendly 3,000 19 Start
25/09/1939
Aberdeen 4-1 Clyde
Friendly 3,000 19 Start
30/09/1939
Falkirk 1-2 Aberdeen
Dewar Shield F REP 5,000 19 Start
21/10/1939
Aberdeen 5-1 Raith Rovers
Regional League East 5,000 19 Start
28/10/1939
Alloa Athletic 0-3 Aberdeen
Regional League East 3,500 19 Start
04/11/1939
Aberdeen 3-3 Hibernian
Regional League East 3,000 19 Start
11/11/1939
Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 Aberdeen
Regional League East 3,000 19 Start
25/11/1939
Dundee United 3-5 Aberdeen
Regional League East 3,000 19 Start
09/12/1939
Kings Park 2-1 Aberdeen
Regional League East 2,000 19 Start
23/12/1939
Aberdeen 5-1 St. Johnstone
Regional League East 20 Start
30/12/1939
Dundee 3-1 Aberdeen
Regional League East 5,000 20 Start
13/01/1940
Aberdeen 8-1 Cowdenbeath
Regional League East 20 Start
27/01/1940
Aberdeen 3-1 Alloa Athletic
Regional League East 20 Start
10/02/1940
Aberdeen 3-0 Dunfermline Athletic
Regional League East 20 Start
17/02/1940
St. Bernards 3-1 Aberdeen
Regional League East 1,000 20 Start
24/02/1940
Albion Rovers 3-3 Aberdeen
Regional Cup R1 4,000 20 Start
02/03/1940
Aberdeen 0-1 Albion Rovers
Regional Cup R1 REP 8,841 20 Start
16/03/1940
Aberdeen 3-0 Heart of Midlothian
Regional League East 20 Start
23/03/1940
St. Johnstone 3-0 Aberdeen
Regional League East 2,000 20 Start
30/03/1940
Aberdeen 3-0 Dundee
Regional League East 20 Start
01/04/1940
Raith Rovers 4-1 Aberdeen
Regional League East 20 Start
06/04/1940
Aberdeen 5-2 Arbroath
Regional League East 20 Start
20/04/1940
Aberdeen 2-2 East Fife
Regional League East 20 Start
24/04/1940
Aberdeen 3-1 Dundee United
Regional League East 20 Start
27/04/1940
Aberdeen 5-1 Rangers Reserves
Friendly 20 Start
18/05/1940
Hibernian 2-0 Aberdeen
Regional League East 6,000 20 Start
18/04/1942
Aberdeen 2-1 Dunfermline Athletic
North Eastern League 5,000 22 Start
16/02/1946
Hamilton 3-3 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 3,000 26 Start
23/02/1946
Kilmarnock 1-1 Aberdeen
Southern League Cup G1 16,000 26 Start
02/03/1946
Aberdeen 4-1 Hibernian
Southern League Cup G1 18,000 26 Start
16/03/1946
Aberdeen 1-0 Kilmarnock
Southern League Cup G1 15,000 26 Start
08/04/1946
Dundee 2-4 Aberdeen
Mitchell Cup 16,000 26 Start
13/04/1946
Aberdeen 2-0 Falkirk
Dewar Shield F 1L 10,000 26 Start
20/04/1946
Aberdeen 2-0 Hamilton
Victory Cup R1 1L 14,000 26 Start
24/04/1946
Hamilton 0-2 Aberdeen
Victory Cup R1 2L 9,000 26 Start
30/04/1946
Aberdeen 5-3 Airdrie
Southern League Cup SF REP 45,000 26 Start
04/05/1946
Aberdeen 1-1 Kilmarnock
Victory Cup R2 1L 15,000 26 Start
10/08/1946
Third Lanark 0-3 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 12,000 26 Start
14/08/1946
Aberdeen 1-0 Kilmarnock
Div 1 (Old) 18,000 26 Start
17/08/1946
Aberdeen 6-2 Celtic
Div 1 (Old) 30,000 26 Start
21/08/1946
Motherwell 2-2 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 9,000 26 Start
28/08/1946
Aberdeen 2-1 Hibernian
Div 1 (Old) 29,000 26 Start
31/08/1946
Clyde 0-2 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 17,000 26 Start
04/09/1946
Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers
Div 1 (Old) 35,000 26 Start
07/09/1946
Falkirk 2-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 10,000 26 Start
14/09/1946
Aberdeen 2-2 Partick Thistle
Div 1 (Old) 25,000 26 Start
21/09/1946
Aberdeen 4-3 Falkirk
League Cup GD 25,000 26 Start
28/09/1946
Queen of the South 2-5 Aberdeen
League Cup GD 17,000 26 Start
05/10/1946
Aberdeen 2-3 Motherwell
League Cup GD 25,000 26 Start
07/10/1946
Dundee 2-0 Aberdeen
Mitchell Cup 22,000 26 Start
01/03/1947
Dundee 0-1 Aberdeen
League Cup QF 1L 28,300 27 Start
05/03/1947
Aberdeen 3-2 Dundee
League Cup QF 2L 18,500 27 Start
08/03/1947
Morton 1-2 Aberdeen
Scottish Cup R3 REP 18,500 27 Start
22/03/1947
Aberdeen 6-2 Heart of Midlothian
League Cup SF 36,201 27 Start
19/04/1947
Aberdeen 2-1 Hibernian
Scottish Cup F 82,140 27 Start
26/04/1947
Queens Park 0-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 8,000 27 Start
07/05/1947
Aberdeen 2-0 Falkirk
Dewar Shield SF 1L 10,000 27 Start
14/05/1947
Aberdeen 3-0 Hamilton
Div 1 (Old) 12,000 27 Start
17/05/1947
Heart of Midlothian 4-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 15,844 27 Start
16/08/1947
Aberdeen 2-0 Motherwell
League Cup GA 20,000 27 Start
26/08/1947
St. Mirren 3-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 13,500 27 Start
06/09/1947
Motherwell 2-0 Aberdeen
League Cup GA 21,500 27 Start
08/09/1947
Falkirk 2-0 Aberdeen
Dewar Shield SF 2L 8,000 27 Start
13/09/1947
Aberdeen 9-0 Queen of the South
League Cup GA 25,000 27 Start
20/09/1947
Aberdeen 3-2 Dundee
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 27 Start
22/09/1947
Aberdeen 1-6 Falkirk
Dewar Shield SF REP 27 Start
27/09/1947
Aberdeen 8-2 Leith Athletic
League Cup QF 17,000 27 Start
04/10/1947
Aberdeen 2-0 Celtic
Div 1 (Old) 25,000 27 Start
11/10/1947
Aberdeen 0-1 East Fife
League Cup SF 30,000 27 Start
18/10/1947
Aberdeen 1-2 Falkirk
Div 1 (Old) 17,000 27 Start
25/10/1947
Partick Thistle 2-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 25,000 27 Start
01/11/1947
Aberdeen 2-2 Queen of the South
Div 1 (Old) 12,000 27 Start
08/11/1947
Airdrie 2-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 5,500 27 Start
15/11/1947
Aberdeen 1-1 Heart of Midlothian
Div 1 (Old) 10,000 27 Start
22/11/1947
Aberdeen 6-0 Queens Park
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 27 Start
29/11/1947
Morton 0-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 9,500 27 Start
06/12/1947
Aberdeen 3-1 Clyde
Div 1 (Old) 10,500 27 Start
13/12/1947
Rangers 4-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 25,000 28 Start
20/12/1947
Hibernian 4-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 28 Start
31/01/1948
Falkirk 3-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 8,000 28 Start
07/02/1948
Nithsdale Wanderers 0-5 Aberdeen
Scottish Cup R2 2,600 28 Start
14/02/1948
Aberdeen 0-1 Partick Thistle
Div 1 (Old) 25,000 28 Start
21/02/1948
Hibernian 4-2 Aberdeen
Scottish Cup R3 37,000 28 Start
28/02/1948
Aberdeen 3-0 Airdrie
Div 1 (Old) 18,000 28 Start
06/03/1948
Heart of Midlothian 1-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 17,937 28 Start
13/03/1948
Queens Park 3-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 28 Start
20/03/1948
Aberdeen 2-1 Morton
Div 1 (Old) 18,000 28 Start
26/03/1948
Clyde 1-3 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 8,000 28 Start
03/04/1948
Aberdeen 1-1 Rangers
Div 1 (Old) 43,800 28 Start
09/04/1948
Queen of the South 0-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 12,000 28 Start
12/04/1948
St. Johnstone 2-0 Aberdeen
Dewar Shield SF 1L 7,000 28 Start
14/04/1948
Elgin City 2-3 Aberdeen
Benefit Match 3,900 28 Start
17/04/1948
Motherwell 2-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 8,500 28 Start
19/04/1948
Aberdeen 2-1 St. Johnstone
Dewar Shield SF 2L 10,000 28 Start
21/04/1948
Aberdeen 4-0 Highland League Select
Caledonia Trophy 1L 9,000 28 Start
24/04/1948
Highland League Select 2-4 Aberdeen
Caledonia Trophy 2L 5,000 28 Start
01/05/1948
Crystal Palace 3-0 Aberdeen
Friendly 15,000 28 Start
14/08/1948
Third Lanark 1-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 28 Start
18/08/1948
Aberdeen 1-0 Celtic
Div 1 (Old) 35,000 28 Start
21/08/1948
Dundee 3-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 30,000 28 Start
28/08/1948
Aberdeen 2-0 Motherwell
Div 1 (Old) 35,000 28 Start
31/08/1948
St. Mirren 3-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 28 Start
04/09/1948
Aberdeen 1-2 Hibernian
Div 1 (Old) 35,000 28 Start
11/09/1948
Aberdeen 3-1 St. Mirren
League Cup GD 25,000 28 Start
18/09/1948
Third Lanark 1-1 Aberdeen
League Cup GD 17,000 28 Start
25/09/1948
Aberdeen 3-1 Morton
League Cup GD 20,000 28 Start
27/09/1948
Aberdeen 1-0 Dundee
Mitchell Cup 1L 20,000 28 Start
02/10/1948
St. Mirren 1-1 Aberdeen
League Cup GD 17,000 28 Start
09/10/1948
Aberdeen 2-4 Third Lanark
League Cup GD 12,000 28 Start
16/10/1948
Morton 3-1 Aberdeen
League Cup GD 15,000 28 Start
06/11/1948
Aberdeen 1-4 Falkirk
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 28 Start
13/11/1948
Partick Thistle 0-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 28 Start
20/11/1948
Aberdeen 3-1 East Fife
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 28 Start
04/12/1948
Aberdeen 2-2 Heart of Midlothian
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 28 Start
11/12/1948
Aberdeen 1-2 Queen of the South
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 28 Start
18/12/1948
Morton 1-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 14,000 29 Start
25/12/1948
Celtic 3-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 40,000 29 Start
01/01/1949
Aberdeen 1-3 Dundee
Div 1 (Old) 26,000 29 Start
08/01/1949
Aberdeen 2-2 Third Lanark
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 29 Start
15/01/1949
Hibernian 4-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 15,500 29 Start
22/01/1949
Third Lanark 2-1 Aberdeen
Scottish Cup R1 26,000 29 Start
05/03/1949
Albion Rovers 2-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 750 29 Start
12/03/1949
Aberdeen 4-0 Albion Rovers
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 29 Start
19/03/1949
Heart of Midlothian 1-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 29 Start
26/03/1949
Queen of the South 0-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 4,000 29 Start
02/04/1949
Aberdeen 0-0 Morton
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 29 Start
09/04/1949
Clyde 0-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 9,000 29 Start
16/04/1949
Rangers 1-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 35,000 29 Start
20/04/1949
East Fife 1-4 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 8,000 29 Start
30/04/1949
Motherwell 1-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 8,500 29 Start
17/08/1949
Aberdeen 4-5 Celtic
League Cup GA 40,000 29 Start
20/08/1949
Rangers 4-2 Aberdeen
League Cup GA 50,000 29 Start
03/10/1949
Dundee 3-2 Aberdeen
Dewar Shield SF REP 9,500 29 Start
08/10/1949
Aberdeen 2-1 Third Lanark
Div 1 (Old) 18,000 29 Start
15/10/1949
Celtic 4-2 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 30,000 29 Start
22/10/1949
Clyde 0-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 14,500 29 Start
29/10/1949
Aberdeen 1-3 Rangers
Div 1 (Old) 40,000 29 Start
05/11/1949
Falkirk 1-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 12,000 29 Start
12/11/1949
Aberdeen 3-1 Partick Thistle
Div 1 (Old) 8,000 29 Start
19/11/1949
Stirling Albion 0-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 29 Start
26/11/1949
Aberdeen 3-0 Raith Rovers
Div 1 (Old) 16,000 29 Start
03/12/1949
Heart of Midlothian 4-1 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 23,000 29 Start
10/12/1949
Queen of the South 1-0 Aberdeen
Div 1 (Old) 7,000 29 Start
17/12/1949
Aberdeen 5-0 Motherwell
Div 1 (Old) 15,000 30 Start
03/05/1950
East Stirlingshire 1-3 Aberdeen
Dewar Shield F 1L 30 Start
06/05/1950
Highland League Select 0-6 Aberdeen
Caledonia Trophy 2L 30 Start

Appearances
Season League League Cup Scottish Cup Europe Total Other
  App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals
1949-50
11
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
13
0
0
3
0
0
1948-49
25
0
0
6
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
32
0
0
1
0
0
1947-48
23
0
0
5
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
30
0
0
8
0
1
1946-47
12
0
0
6
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
20
0
0
2
0
0
1945-46
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
9
0
0
1941-42
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1939-40
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
27
0
0
1938-39
3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
0
0
1
0
0
Totals:
75
0
0
19
0
0
5
0
0
0
0
0
99
0
0
52
0
1
Total Appearances/Goals: 99 0