Beith, Ayrshire born centre half John Hunter played for hometown club Beith in 1898 before joining Liverpool in August 1899, making his Football League debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers that November. “Hunter is only 19 years of age but is said to give promise of proving an even finer centre half than Alex Raisbeck,” reported the Manchester Evening News on his capture. “He is spoken of as one of the likeliest men who has left Scotland for some time. His nominal terms are £3 per week winter and summer; but this transfer has cost the Liverpudlians a good deal.” Hunter never came close to living up to such an introduction and made just five appearances for Liverpool’s first team, spread over three different seasons before joining Preston North End in May 1902.
Hunter became a stalwart of Preston North End’s centre over the following six seasons and became the club’s captain. “A more dogged, hardy, relentless, copper-nobbed player of his inches never forced his way to the front in League football, and although some of his methods did not make him popular with opponents he was a fine servant to North End,” claimed the Lancashire Evening Post in 1918. He scored 6 goals in 199 appearances before returning to Ayr in 1909, playing for Scottish League Ayr Parkhouse in 1909 and the newly formed Ayr United in 1910 from the merger of Ayr and Parkhouse.