Belfast born wing half Dave McMullan began his football career with Irish Intermediate League side Forth River in 1914, and after the First World War joined Belfast Distillery in 1919. While at Distillery he was a Gold Cup runner up in 1924 and did the double of Irish Cup and Gold Cup wins in 1925. Representative honours followed when he played for The Irish League twice in October 1924 against The Football League and The Scottish League, and then again in May 1925 when he played against Ireland Amateurs.
First Division Liverpool signed him from Distillery in October 1925 and he made his Football League debut the same month against Manchester City, making ten League appearances that season as the club finished in seventh place. The same month he also won his first cap for Ireland when he played against England in a 0-0 draw at Windsor Park Belfast. He also made the team for the three FA Cup ties Liverpool were involved in that year. He won a further Ireland cap the following February when he played in a 3-0 win over Wales in Belfast.
He was only called on twice by Liverpool the following season, both times to cover for left-half Tom Bromilow, although he won his third and final Ireland cap when he played in a 2-0 defeat to Scotland in February 1927, again in Belfast. Although McMullan had a decent run of 14 consecutive League games for Liverpool in 1927-28, his place in the side was eventually taken by Tom Morrison. McMullan then made an audacious move to the nascent American Soccer League to join New York Giants in the summer of 1928 after 35 games in total for The Reds.
Bee, the Liverpool Echo reporter, contacted an American agent and told him McMullan could prove a useful forward: “McMullan consulted me about a football job. He could get none. No one wanted him, apparently. Here was a man out of work; a married man with a family. He could get no situation in England. I worked to give him a berth of some kind.” On 28 July McMullan left Liverpool on the White Star liner Celtic heading for New York accompanied by George Moorhouse, the manager of the New York Giants, former Everton player C. E. Glover and former Liverpool forward Chris Harrington who had also signed for the Giants. McMullan wrote to Bee in October, very pleased with his new adventure in New York: “Just a line about the football over here. You would be surprised if you saw the game they play over here. It is good and fast, but I think it is the small grounds that make it so fast, and, of course, they have as much grass as one of my old chums at Anfield has hair!”
He later returned to Ireland having a spell with Belfast Celtic, after scoring once in 8 appearances for The Giants, and in May 1929 joined Third Division Exeter City. He then played 19 games for The Grecians during the course of the 1929-30 season, before returning to Belfast Distillery in August 1930. He continued to player for them for a further couple of seasons, by when he had scored 20 goals in 83 appearances over his two spells at the club.
This image comes from the team group taken before his third and final international for Ireland against Scotland at Windsor Park, Belfast, in February 1927.