Johnstone Bill Image 1 Clyde 1922

Johnstone Bill Image 1 Clyde 1922


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Markinch, Fife born centre forward Bill Johnstone began his football career with Rosyth Juniors in 1919 after the First World War, and first played Scottish League football for King’s Park (now Stirling Albion) in 1921 before moving on to join Clyde in 1922. His progress at Clyde was such that he attracted the attention of newly promoted Second Division club Reading, who signed him in the summer of 1926. His debut came in an FA Cup tie with non league Weymouth before the end of November. He scored twice in a 4-4 draw then grabbed a hat-trick in a 5-0 replay win four days later. This was the start of a famous FA Cup campaign, in which Johnstone scored a further 4 goals in 8 further ties, including a last minute winner to knock out Manchester United in a 3rd round 2nd replay at Villa Park, Birmingham, the run ending with Reading beaten in the FA Cup semi final by eventual winners Cardiff City at Molineux. He finished the campaign as second top scorer to Frank Richardson with 17 goals.

Johnstone had two further seasons at Elm Park and top scored for them in 1928-29 scoring 21 goals, including a hat-trick in a 5-3 win over West Bromwich Albion in November 1928, and 4 goals in a 6-1 win over Oldham Athletic in January 1929. All of which led to Herbert Chapman, Arsenal’s legendary manager, signing Johnstone in the summer of 1929. Not surprisingly never a regular at Highbury in a team that boasted the likes of David Jack and a young Cliff Bastin alongside such forwards as Jack Lambert and Dave Halliday, he nevertheless never featured on a losing side at Arsenal, scoring 4 goals in 9 appearances during an 18 month stay before being sold to Second Division Oldham Athletic for £2,130 in January 1931.

He returned 13 goals in only 16 games during the rest of the 1930-31 season for The Latics, and although he was less prolific during the following two seasons, by the time he re-joined Clyde in the summer of 1933 he had scored 28 goals in 70 appearances for Oldham. He returned to the north west to join non league Northwich Victoria in 1936, where he finished an impressive career.


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