Overtown, Lanarkshire born centre forward Willie MacFadyen played junior football for Wishaw YMCA in 1920 before beginning his Motherwell career in 1921. Before establishing himself at Fir Park, he spent periods on loan with Bo’ness in 1922 and Clyde in 1924.
His 52 league goals for Motherwell’s 1931-32 Scottish League Championship winning side remains the record goals total for a single season in Scottish League history. He also topped the scoring charts again the following season, netting 45 times. In total, he scored 251 League goals for Motherwell – the eighth-best top flight total in Scottish League history.
As well as the 1932 League title, he gained two Scottish Cup runners-up medals while at Motherwell, in 1931 and 1933. He appeared for Scotland twice during 1933, winning his first cap in a 3-2 defeat to Wales at Ninian Park in October and his second in a 2-2 draw with Austria at Hampden Park the next month. Despite scoring in both matches, he wasn’t selected for international duty again, although he did also represent the Scottish League against the Irish League at Firhill in October 1934, scoring twice in a 3-2 victory.
Leaving Motherwell, he joined Huddersfield Town late in 1936, making his Football League debut against Liverpool that December, scoring the opening goal in a 4-0 victory, the highlight of his time for The Terriers being his appearance in the 1938 FA Cup Final, which they lost by a solitary goal to Preston North End. He then joined Clapton Orient after 19 goals in 54 appearances for Huddersfield, but only played in the first 3 matches of the abandoned 1939-40 season for The O’s. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Air Force and was a guest player for Blackpool, Huddersfield, Nottingham Forest and Rochdale.
In October 1945, MacFadyen was appointed as secretary-manager of Dundee United, a position he held for nine years. While he led the club to a memorable Scottish Cup giant killing against Celtic in 1949, he also oversaw United’s record defeat when they lost 12-1 against the team where MacFadyen had been idolised as a player, Motherwell. He resigned from his post not long afterwards, in August 1954.