Felling, County Durham born right back William O’Donnell began his football career at Felling Colliery from where he joined Third Division (North) club Darlington on amateur forms in July 1927, making his Football League debut against Halifax Town in April 1928 and playing 4 matches for The Quakers on the season run in. After joining non league Connah’s Quay & Shotton in the 1928 close season, he had spells on the books at Everton in 1929-30 along with Bury and Stockport County in 1930-31, but didn’t appear for any of their first elevens before returning to play for Felling Colliery.
O’Donnell tried his luck with Blackpool, joining them in February 1931 but again didn’t make their first team and joined Midland League club Boston Town in 1932. In August the same year he signed for Third Division (North) club Gateshead, where he spent a year and a half as a first team regular until losing his place in January 1934. He returned to the team in November 1934 for 5 matches at full back, before playing 4 matches at outside left in late March and early April 1935 and it was in the first of these that he scored his only career goal in a 2-2 draw at Tranmere Rovers.
After 70 appearances for The Head, O’Donnell returned to north east non league football when he joined Spennymoor United and he later played for West Stanley in 1937 before his eventual retirement.
NB the photograph was taken before the League match between Walsall and Gateshead at Fellows Park on 15th October 1932. Walsall won the match 2-0.