Willie Waddell

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Willie Waddell
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Waddell
Date of birth(1921-03-07)7 March 1921
Place of birth Forth, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Date of death 14 October 1992(1992-10-14) (aged 71)
Place of death Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Outside right
Youth career
Forth Wanderers
Senior career*
1939–1955 Rangers 201 (39)
National team
1946–1954 Scotland 18 (6)
1947–1951 Scottish League XI 5 (1)
Teams managed
1957–1965 Kilmarnock
1969–1972 Rangers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

William Waddell (7 March 1921 – 14 October 1992) [1] was a professional football player and manager. His only club in a 16-year career as a player in the outside right position (interrupted by World War II) was Rangers which yielded six major winner's medals, and he also played 18 times for Scotland.


Waddell also managed Rangers – leading them to their only continental trophy in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup Final – and served as a director of the Glasgow club, after a spell in charge of Kilmarnock which culminated in their only Scottish league title in 1964–65, followed by some years working as a sports journalist.


Playing career

Waddell was born in Forth, Lanarkshire. [2] As a player, he only played professionally for Rangers in a career spanning both sides of World War II (and including over 200 unofficial matches during the conflict in addition to 317 recognised appearances). [3]

He made his debut at the age of 17 in a friendly match against Arsenal [1] and went on to win four League titles and two Scottish Cups as well as playing a large part in other successful cup runs without playing in the finals, and being a member of the Gers team which dominated the wartime competitions.

He also earned 18 caps for Scotland (scoring six times) between 1946 and 1954 after playing in eight unofficial wartime matches, and was selected for the Scottish League XI five times.

Managerial career

Waddell became manager of Kilmarnock in 1957. In what was their most prosperous era, the club achieved four runners-up placings in the league under his guidance between 1960 and 1964 and reached three finals (1959–60 Scottish Cup, 1961 League Cup, 1963 League Cup), all of which were lost.

Kilmarnock's efforts were finally rewarded with a trophy when the club won their only league championship to date, in 1964–65; this was achieved with a final day victory against their nearest rivals Heart of Midlothian. [1] On leaving Kilmarnock in 1965 Waddell traded the football world for journalism, becoming a sportswriter for the Evening Citizen and Scottish Daily Express . [1] He took charge of Kilmarnock in 389 competitive matches, winning 215 (55%), the club's best-ever ratio for a manager. [4]

From the mid-1960s Scottish football was dominated by the Celtic side managed by Jock Stein. [1] In 1969 Waddell returned to Rangers as manager, following the sacking of Davie White. [1] The team did not win any League Championships with Waddell as manager, but won the Scottish League Cup in 1971, ending a run of six years without a trophy. In 1972 Waddell led Rangers to a European Cup Winners' Cup win, beating Dynamo Moscow 3–2 in the final in Barcelona. Later in 1972 he handed the management reins to his assistant, Jock Wallace, Jr. having been Rangers boss for 134 games. [5]

Later career

Waddell went on to serve Rangers in general manager and vice chairman roles. [1] During Waddell's time as manager, Rangers had suffered the 1971 Ibrox disaster, when 66 fans lost their lives. [1] Waddell was credited with the reconstruction of Ibrox Stadium in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which made it one of the most modern grounds in Europe at the time of his death. [1] He became general manager in 1972, after leaving his role as first-team manager, [6] and latterly took up the role of vice chairman in September 1975. [7] After four years he resigned his position, to be replaced by Lawrence Marlborough, and took up the role of consultant at the club. However, he left this role on 27 June 1981, [6] after Rangers decided not to renew his £15,000-a-year (equivalent to £52,000 in 2015) contract [7] but remained a director of the club until his death.

Career statistics

International appearances

Appearances and goals by national team and year [8]
National teamYearAppsGoals
Scotland 194621

International goals

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.

1.19 October 1946 Racecourse Ground, Wrexham Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 1–01–3 1946–47 British Home Championship [8] [9]
2.23 October 1948 Ninian Park, Cardiff Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 2–13–1 1948–49 British Home Championship [8] [9]
3.3–1 [8] [9]
4.1 October 1949 Windsor Park, Belfast Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland 2–08–2 1949–50 British Home Championship [8] [9]
5.5–0 [8] [9]
6.20 May 1951 Stade Heysel, Brussels Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 5–05–0 Friendly [8] [10]

Managerial record

As of 27 November 2013
Kilmarnock Flag of Scotland.svg July 1957June 19653892157698055.27
Rangers Flag of Scotland.svg December 1969May 1972134762533056.72







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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Shaw, Phil (16 October 1992). "Obituary: Willie Waddell". The Independent. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  2. Reynolds, Jim (15 October 1992). "A doddle for The Deedle". The Herald . Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  3. "Rangers player profile". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  4. "Kilmarnock manager profile". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  5. "Rangers manager profile". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  6. 1 2 "On This Day: Jun 27". Rangers Football Club. Rangers.co.uk. 27 June 2016.
  7. 1 2 "Rise and Fall of the Ibrox three". Allan Campbell. The Herald (Glasgow). 12 February 1986.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Willie Waddell at the Scottish Football Association
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Brown, Alan; Tossani, Gabriele (11 April 2019). "Scotland - International Matches 1946-1950". RSSSF. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  10. Brown, Alan; Tossani, Gabriele (11 April 2019). "Scotland - International Matches 1951-1955". RSSSF. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  11. did not make sufficient appearances for a medal in 1949–50 (7 games)
  12. missed the 1948 Final and 1950 Final of the Scottish Cup having played in earlier rounds
  13. missed the 1947 Final and 1949 Final of the Scottish League Cup having played in earlier rounds