Culley Willie Image 3 Kilmarnock 1922

Culley Willie Image 3 Kilmarnock 1922

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Description

Kilwinning born Willie Culley was Kilmarnock’s record league goal scorer with 148 goals in 301 appearances. Signed in March 1912 after spells with Kilwinning Eglinton, Kilwinning Rangers and Ardrossan Winton Rovers, the youngster quickly established himself as a first team regular, making his debut in a 3-2 win over Rangers at Rugby Park. After a quiet start the goals started to flow, and at the start of the War he had loan spells at Third Lanark and Renton, however he scored consistently during the First World War seasons. Arguably his career peaked in 1919 and 1920. In February 1919 he had played and scored for The Scottish League against The Football League, he then played for Scotland in the “Victory” International against Ireland (which is categorised as unofficial). In 1919-20 he finished once again as the club’s top goal scorer, and scored one of the goals at Hampden in April 1920 as Killie beat Albion Rovers 3-2 in the Scottish Cup Final to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.

Willie left Kilmarnock for Clyde in March 1923, then via Weymouth he joined Bristol Rovers in January 1926 making his Football League debut against Merthyr Town the same month already aged 34. The following season he was top scorer by a margin with 27 goals in 37 games for The Pirates, and in total he scored an impressive 47 goals in 64 appearances, before joining Swindon Town in August 1928 scoring once in 3 outings. He then retired from playing and returned to Kilmarnock as reserve team coach in 1929. He was one of four players inducted into the Kilmarnock Hall of Fame on its formation in 2014.

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