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duncan mcnicol

Left Back


Squad Number: 3
Position: Left Back
Date of Birth: Friday, January 16, 1874
Birthplace: Bonhill
Nationality: Scottish
Height: 5' 10 1/2
Weight: 13st
Signed: 28/09/1903

Duncan McNicol, who captains the Aberdeen League team this season, comes from a sure football nursery, Vale of Leven. To enumerate all the class men to have been reared down the Vale way would take some space. Suffice it to say that Duncan has proved a rare catch for Aberdeen and worthily upheld the honour of the club and the traditions of his calf-land. Since he started to play this season, Duncan has proved his worth as a player and captain. Mac has a thorough knowledge of the game and is equally at home at right or left back.

Source:Bon-Accord 6th October 1904

After his debut the Evening Express was enthusiastic: "Tall, and of magnificent build, McNicol took the eye at once, and the ease and grace with which he again and again took the ball from the feet of opponents and cleared his lines stamped him as a player of skill and resource. He will, I am sure, prove a tower of strength to the team."

Source: Evening Express, 21st April 1945

Duncan McNicol, left-back, is the captain of the team, and this is his second season with his present masters. He has been an invaluable man both as a player and as a coach to his younger colleagues.

Source: Aberdeen Evening Gazette 26th November 1904

Tall and strong Duncan was a stylish defender who was blessed with pace and good tackling ability. A native of Bonhill, he began his football career at Vale of Leven and then had a brief spell with Darwen in England. Returning to Scotland in the summer of 1894 Duncan signed for Clyde and then St Bernards in October 1897. A regular with the Edinburgh club his performances saw him tempted south again, this time signing for Arsenal in June 1899. Duncan made his debut in a Second Division match against Leicester Fosse on 2 September 1899 and his first season saw him become the automatic choice as first-team left back. He played 30 out of 34 league matches in that initial season which included playing in Arsenal's club record 12?0 victory over Loughborough on 12 March 1900. He proved just as consistent over the next two seasons, missing only four league games in the 1900-01 season and only one in the1901-02 season. However, in the 1902-03 season he was switched to right-back so that Arsenal could accommodate Jimmy Jackson on the left. The switch seemed to unsettle Duncan and being out for a period due to injury he became more inconsistent as the season progressed. Coupled with the emergence of Archie Cross, it meant that Duncan dropped out of the first team. Placed on the transfer list and with Aberdeen looking to strengthen their back division they saw an opportunity to entice Duncan back to Scotland and effectively signed him on loan in September 1903. He was immediately appointed captain and a local sportswriter was to comment that he had, ?seen many a good football captain of different clubs in different places but I have never seen one to surpass McNicol in imbuing confidence in his men.? Making his debut at right back for the club in a 2-0 away win against Dundee Wanderers in the Northern League Duncan impressed the watching public with the Evening Express commenting that, ?McNicol took the eye at once, and the ease and grace with which he again and again took the ball from the feet of opponents and cleared his lines stamped him as a player of skill and resource.? He would switch to his more accustomed position of left back for the subsequent games becoming almost ever present and a major on-field influence for the club. Not only for his general play but he was also credited with helping to develop several youngsters. At end of 1903-04 season Duncan was still technically an Arsenal player and Aberdeen made an offer for his services, however the price quoted by the London club was considered exorbitant. This left McNicol to appeal to the English League and the fee was reduced to £40. In Aberdeen?s first season in the Scottish League, Duncan was again almost ever present at left back and captained the club to a 2-0 victory over Renton in the Qualifying Cup Final thereby lifting the club?s first major silverware. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury in the first half of an East of Scotland League game against Hibernian in May 1905 the result of which would eventually lead to his premature retirement. Missing from the side due to the injury at the start of the following season Duncan returned to the reserve team in February 1906 in a 6-0 victory over Lochgelly. However, despite his knee standing up well to the next few reserve games it was obvious that he was not really the player that he had been and took the decision to retire. His focus then moved to another sport, golf and he was making golf clubs in 1906 and by 1907 he had a club making business registered at 117 Urquhart Road, Aberdeen. In 1909 the newly formed Murcar Golf Club allowed Duncan the use of the workshop next to their clubhouse and in January 1910 he was appointed as the club professional. This was a position he held until 1914. Duncan would suffer from ill health in his later years and eventually had to have a leg amputated before passing away on 5th March 1949.

Aberdeen Debut

All Appearances

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Date Result Competition Venue Attendance Age at debut Type RedTv Report
10/10/1903 Dundee Wanderers 0 - 2 Aberdeen Northern League 2,000


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
1905-06 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1904-05 19 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 21 0 0 11 0 0
1903-04 16 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 6 0 0
Totals: 35 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 38 0 0 17 0 0
Total Appearances/Goals:   38 0