Netley, Hampshire born centre forward Doug McGibbon played his youth football with the Air Service Training at Hamble. During a charity cricket match, he approached the Southampton manager Tom Parker for a trial. Parker gave McGibbon a game with the “Saints” “A” team, against Lymington, during which he scored a hat trick. This was sufficient to persuade Southampton to offer him a professional contract, which he signed in December 1938, going on to make his Football League debut in the final match of the 1938-39 season, replacing Reg Tomlinson in a 2-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle.
McGibbon remained in Southampton at the start of the Second World War, making 16 appearances (scoring 7 goals) in the wartime leagues in 1939-40 before he moved to Swindon to work as an aircraft mechanic as part of the war effort. While at Swindon, he played for Swindon Railway in 1944 and then for Swindon Town in the 1945-46 season where he made five appearances, scoring three goals. Swindon Town approached Southampton with a view to signing him on a full-time basis, but the Saints board refused and McGibbon returned to Southampton.
During the 1945-46 season, Southampton played in the League South pending the resumption of League football following the end of the War. During the league season, McGibbon made 30 appearances scoring 27 goals, including six in a 7-0 victory over Chelsea on 29th December 1945. In this match, McGibbon scored his third goal within five seconds of the kick-off for the second half. McGibbon kicked off to Ted Bates, who passed the ball wide to Bill Stroud, who immediately hit a long ball into the path of McGibbon, who had sprinted upfield. McGibbon hit a firm volley into the back of the net without a Chelsea player having touched the ball. The referee timed the goal at 4.6 seconds from the kick-off and this remains the fastest goal ever scored by a Southampton player from a kick-off, although the Dell pitch had been shortened slightly due to bomb damage at the Milton Road end. In total, including FA Cup matches, McGibbon scored 29 goals from 34 appearances in 1945-46, including scoring twice in four FA Cup ties, although his form did tail off towards the end of the season.
McGibbon made his home League debut in the opening match of the first season of League football after the War, scoring a hat trick in a 4-0 victory over Swansea Town in August 1946. He scored three more goals in the next five games, before an injury forced him to sit out five games, with George Lewis taking over. On McGibbon’s return he continued to score regularly until he was dropped, in favour of Lewis, in December before manager Bill Dodgin sold him to Fulham for a fee of £4,250 at the start of January 1947. In his 17 appearances for The Saints, McGibbon scored 11 goals.
McGibbon scored a hat-trick against Plymouth Argyle in his Fulham debut in a 3-1 win the same month, becoming only the second Fulham player to achieve such a feat. He subsequently found goals harder to come by, scoring a total of 18 goals in 42 appearances up to the end of the 1947-48 season when he was transferred to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in September 1948.
At Bournemouth, playing in the Football League Third Division South, McGibbon again found his goal-scoring form and in each of his three seasons at Dean Court was the club’s top scorer each season, with goal tallies of 30, 18 and 17 respectively. In 1948-49 he scored at nearly a goal a game including 4 goals in a 5-0 Christmas Day win over Torquay United and a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Southend United in March 1949.In his final season, when he missed only five matches, he again scored 4 goals in a 5-0 win, this time against Leyton Orient in September 1950, and after 65 goals in 106 appearances he joined non league Lovell’s Athletic in the Welsh League in 1951, where he played until his retirement, which was forced when he was hospitalised following a collision of his head with the cross bar.
His father, Charlie McGibbon, played in the decade before the outbreak of the First World War for a number of clubs, including New Brompton (now Gillingham), Crystal Palace, Southampton, Arsenal, Leyton and Reading.