Born in Galston, Ayrshire, inside right Andy Cunningham began his career with Galston Riverside Rangers in 1906 joining Newmilns in 1907 before moving to Scottish League club Kilmarnock in 1909. He made his Scottish League debut in a defeat at Glasgow Rangers in August 1909 and soon established himself as a great success for Kilmarnock. His first hat-trick for Killie came at Hamilton Academical in February 1910. After six seasons at Rugby Park during which he scored 80 goals in 195 appearances, he joined Glasgow Rangers at the start of April 1915. He made his Rangers debut in a 1-0 defeat to Partick Thistle on 5th April 1915, making 5 appearances in his first season at Ibrox. Cunningham also served as a lieutenant in The Royal Field Artillery during the First World War.
Cunningham continued to be used infrequently by manager William Wilton before establishing himself in the Rangers team in season 1918-19, soon becoming a star player at Ibrox. In total, he made 389 appearances and scored 182 goals for Rangers. He won 7 Scottish League titles and played in Rangers’ famous 1928 Scottish Cup Final triumph where they defeated Celtic 4-0 to win their first Scottish Cup in 25 years.
Cunningham was capped 12 times for Scotland and scoring 5 goals between 1920 when he scored on his international debut in a 3-0 win over Ireland at Celtic Park in March 1920 and his final international which came against England at Hampden Park in April 1927. He lost just one of his 12 games for Scotland, scoring 5 goals for his country. Cunningham also represented The Scottish League 10 times over 16 years between February 1912, when he played in a defeat to The Football League at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, and March 1928, scoring once, the first 2 League caps awarded while he was still at Kilmarnock,
Cunningham moved to Newcastle United for £2,300 in February 1929, becoming the then oldest player to make his debut in the English Football League at the age of thirty-eight when he played at Leicester City the same month alongside fellow Scottish international Hughie Gallacher. He scored twice in 15 appearances for The Magpies through to February 1930 before retiring from playing. He had been appointed as Newcastle’s player-manager in January 1930 and then went on to become full time manager of the club after hanging up his boots in May 1930. Technically, he was the first true manager of the club, as his predecessor Frank Watt had no control over team selection.
He guided the club to FA Cup success in 1932 beating Arsenal 2-1 in the Final at Wembley. However the club was also relegated to the Second Division in 1934 whilst he was at the helm and Cunningham eventually left the club in May 1935. He is remembered as a moderately successful manager of the club, having won 105 games out of 251. After his time with Newcastle, he returned to Scotland where he managed Dundee between June 1937 and May 1940 before becoming a sports writer after the Second World War.