Bill McCracken

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Bill McCracken
Personal information
Full name William McCracken
Date of birth (1883-01-29)29 January 1883
Place of birth Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date of death 20 January 1979(1979-01-20) (aged 95)
Place of death Hull, Canada
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Belfast Distillery
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1904–1924 Newcastle United 432 (8)
National team
Teams managed
1923–1931 Hull City
1932–1933 Gateshead
1933–1936 Millwall
1937–1950 Aldershot
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William "Bill" McCracken (29 January 1883 – 20 January 1979) was a Northern Irish footballer who played as a defender. He was a cousin of Robert McCracken who also had a career as a professional footballer.[1]


McCracken played for the English club Newcastle United from 1904 to 1924, helping them win three League titles and the FA Cup. McCracken was so adept at catching the opposing teams forwards offside that he forced a change in the rules of the game.[2]

In total he played 432 games for Newcastle, scoring 8 goals. After leaving Newcastle he went on to become Hull City manager in 1923 and he took them to the FA Cup semi-final in 1930. He left the club a year later.

He later had a short term in charge of Gateshead, before managing Millwall from 1933–1936. He later went on to manage the now defunct Aldershot

McCracken is one of just a few players whose actions have brought changes the Laws Of Football when, as a centre-half at Newcastle, he masterminded the technique of making opposition forwards ruled "offside" when the rules stated that 3 defenders must be between the attacking player and the goal line. So successful was McCracken's defensive ploy that the Offside Rule was changed to "2 defenders" between the foremost attacker and the goal line".

His team mates while playing for Ireland included Archie Goodall, Billy Scott, Jack Kirwan and Robert Milne.


As a player

Newcastle United


  1. ^ "Bob "Roy" McCracken". Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  2. ^ A-Z Newcastle United Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
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