Walton-le-Dale, near Preston born goalkeeper Albert McInroy as a youth played as a left-winger for various teams in Lancashireafter the First World War , including Preston & District League Upper Walton in 1919, Coppull Central in 1920, a spell with Preston North End as an amateur during 1921-22 without making their first team, also playing for High Walton United in 1921, Great Harwood and Leyland in 1922.
He began his professional career, by now playing as a goalkeeper, with First Division Sunderland joining them in May 1923. His Football League debut came on 29th September 1923 in a 5-2 victory over Manchester City, McInroy immediately became their first choice goalkeeper and Sunderland finished the season in third place in the First Division table. In the following season, McInroy missed only one game and his agility and intelligent football mind made him a first team regular. With McInroy in goal Sunderland finished third in the League Championship in 3 of his 6 full seasons at the club.
He won his solitary England cap against Ireland at Anfield on 20th October 1926 in a 3-3 draw. His Sunderland team-mate Warney Cresswell played in front of him at right back.
He went on to make 227 appearances for Sunderland over six years.at Roker Park but in October 1929 he was surprisingly sold for £2,750 to arch-rivals Newcastle United. At Newcastle, he quickly established himself as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the country. McInroy was United’s first choice ‘keeper between 1929 and 1934 making 160 appearances. In 1932, Newcastle reached the FA Cup Final against Arsenal at Wembley in what became known as the “Over The Line” Final. Newcastle won 2-1, both of their goals scored by Jack Allen. Arsenal had led 1-0 with a Bob John goal, but Newcastle’s equaliser came after a long ball had appeared to go over the goal line, and out for a goal kick; Newcastle winger Jimmy Richardson nevertheless crossed the ball back into play and Jack Allen levelled the match for the Magpies. The referee ruled that the ball had not gone out of play, even though photographic evidence later showed that the ball had actually crossed the line, and the goal stood. Allen scored again in the second half to win the match.
As McInroy was at the other end of the pitch, he didn’t see the incident clearly but related in an interview with Paul Joannou (Newcastle United’s official club historian) that sitting afterwards in an after-game dinner at the Café Royal, David Jack and Frank Moss, two of the Arsenal stars “had no complaints about the goal”. He went on to state that all the hullabaloo was created by the media, that the fans and players didn’t see it as a controversial incident. He sustained an injury in a 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth on 30th December 1933 which put him out for the rest of the season. His place was taken by Bill McPhillips, but Newcastle’s form then declined and they ended the 1933-34 season being relegated to the Second Division. At the end of the season he left the club after getting involved in a dispute with the Directors over benefit payments and returned to Sunderland in June 1934 as third choice ‘keeper behind Jimmy Thorpe and Matt Middleton, but after eleven months without making a first team appearance, he moved on to Leeds United in June 1935.
At Leeds, newly appointed manager Billy Hampson immediately opted for experience with former England internationals like 34-year-old McInroy in goal and 32-year-old George Brown from Burnley in attack. After 71 appearances in two seasons at Elland Road in which Leeds finished in mid-table in the First Division, McInroy moved to Third Division (North) Gateshead in June 1937, where he played on until the Second World War, making a further 75 appearances before retirement, although he did subsequently play for non league Stockton during the War.