Culley Willie Image 2 Kilmarnock 1922

Culley Willie Image 2 Kilmarnock 1922


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Kilwinning, Ayrshire born Willie Culley was Kilmarnock’s pal-time record goalscorer with 149 League goals in 301 appearances. Signed in March 1912 after spells with junior clubs Kilwinning Eglinton, Kilwinning Rangers and Ardrossan Winton Rovers, the youngster quickly established himself as a first team regular, making his Scottish League debut in a 3-2 win over Rangers at Rugby Park the same month. After a quiet start the goals started to flow, and at the start of the First World War he had loan spells at Third Lanark and Renton, however he scored consistently for Kilmarnock during the 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 unofficial “Victory” International against Ireland. In 1919-20 he once again finished as the club’s top goalscorer, 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.

Culley left Kilmarnock for Clyde in March 1923 after 157 goals in 314 appearances, then via Weymouth he joined Bristol Rovers in January 1926 making his Football League debut against Merthyr Town the same month already aged 34, scoring a hat-trick in a win over Reading in April 1926. The following season he was top scorer by a margin with 27 goals in 37 games for The Pirates, including all 4 goals in a win over Queen’s Park Rangers in March 1927 and a treble at Swindon Town the next month.

He also scored a hat-trick against Walsall in August 1927, joint top scoring with Arthur Ormston in 1927-28 and in total he scored an impressive 47 goals in 64 appearances, before joining Swindon Town in August 1928, for whom he  scored 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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