McDonald in 2011
|Full name||Clayton Rodney McDonald|
|Date of birth||26 December 1988|
|Place of birth||Liverpool, England|
|Height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|2008||→ Macclesfield Town (loan)||2||(0)|
|2009||→ Chesterfield (loan)||2||(0)|
|2009||→ Walsall (loan)||26||(1)|
|2013||→ Bristol Rovers (loan)||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:25, 30 October 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
He graduated out of the Manchester City youth academy in 2008, and spent the 2008–09 season on loan at League Two sides Macclesfield Town and Chesterfield. He spent the start of the 2009–10 season on loan at Walsall, before the deal was made permanent in December 2009. He was released by the club at the end of the 2010–11 campaign, at which point he signed with Port Vale. He joined Bristol Rovers on loan in January 2013. Port Vale secured promotion out of League Two in 2012–13. He signed with Grimsby Town in July 2013, before briefly joining Tranmere Rovers a year later. He signed with Southport in September 2014.
A graduate of the Manchester City youth set-up, McDonald signed his first professional contract with Manchester City. He then turned professional in 2008. He signed on loan for Macclesfield Town in August 2008, and made his competitive debut in a 2–0 defeat at Accrington Stanley on 23 August. He was substituted in the 70th minute after picking up an injury. Macclesfield manager Keith Alexander commented that "He did a good job for us, I was delighted with his performance" and "for a young lad to come in and do so well, it augurs well for the future." Alexander stated they had an option to extend the loan, but both parties agreed it would be best if he returned to his parent club. McDonald signed on loan for Chesterfield on transfer deadline day, 2 February 2009, initially on a one-month emergency loan. On his return to Manchester, he played for the Reserves in the Manchester Senior Cup final on 9 March, in the 1–0 defeat to Manchester United Reserves at Ewen Fields, Hyde.
McDonald signed a one-month loan deal with Walsall in September 2009. His father previously played for the club. McDonald impressed Walsall manager Chris Hutchings, who twice had the loan extended for an extra month, before he signed for Walsall on a permanent basis in December 2009, following the player's release from Manchester City. The decision to leave City for Walsall won him praise from new teammate Troy Deeney. He played 27 games in the 2009–10 campaign, and picked up his first senior goal on 16 February, in a 2–1 victory over Leeds United at Elland Road. He was more of a bit-part player in Walsall's 2010–11 season, making just seventeen appearances. In April 2011 he picked up a shoulder injury that would keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
After being told he would not be retained by the "Saddlers", he was due to sign a contract at Port Vale in June 2011, but failed a medical due to a shoulder injury. Regardless of this he signed a six-month deal with the club the following month. He aimed to regain his fitness, win a first team place, and thereby earn a longer stay at Vale Park. He quickly managed to achieve the first two of these goals by October, as he started nine of Vale's first fourteen games of the season. He achieved the third target in December, signing a contract lasting until the end of the 2011–12 season, having already made eighteen appearances in league and cup. However his next contribution to Vale's campaign would be his 64th minute sending off at Southend United, following a second bookable offence. He returned to the first team after serving his suspension, but received his second red card of the campaign on 17 March after receiving a second yellow card 47 minutes into a defeat at Crawley Town. He played 31 games for the "Valiants" with a court case hanging over his head, though boss Micky Adams said that there would be "no favours" for the player for proving his innocence and insisted that his decision on whether or not to offer a contract to McDonald would be based on the footballing ability he had shown over the course of the campaign. Though suspensions and court appearances limited his contribution to the campaign, he still managed to post 33 first team appearances in 2011–12. He accepted Adams' offer of a new one year contract in May 2012; Adams stated that "I'm obviously pleased Clayton has agreed to sign. He has done well since he has been at the club and has the potential to do even better. He was under a lot of stress with everything that was going on last season, but now he can get his mind clear and concentrate totally on football."
After David Artell left the club, Gareth Owen picked up an injury and Joe Davis suffered a loss of form, McDonald managed to build a solid centre-back partnership with John McCombe at the start of the 2012–13 campaign, but was warned to lose weight and improve his fitness by manager Micky Adams. He scored his first goal for the club in a 3–2 win against Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn on 3 November, in the First Round of the FA Cup; during the match he also made a goal-line clearance with the score at 2–2. Speaking after the game, McDonald said "I'm just trying to pay back the fans and the manager for all their support in the past with performances on the pitch. Hopefully it's the first of many... hopefully I can catch Tom Pope up. The support they have given me has meant a lot to me. They are a top bunch of people, it's a top area." However the arrival of new signings Darren Purse and Liam Chilvers displaced McDonald from the first team picture. On 21 January, he joined Bristol Rovers on loan until the end of the season, as cover for the injured Garry Kenneth. The "Pirates" were then bottom of the Football League, and manager John Ward said that McDonald was "prepared to come down for the cause [of avoiding relegation] and that's a really big plus for me." However McDonald remained on the bench as the "Gas" lost only three of their next 15 games, and had to wait until Tom Parkes received a suspension before he finally started a game for the club on 6 April, in a 1–0 win at the Memorial Stadium that saw Rovers climb into 11th place. He returned to Vale in time to see the club secure promotion with a third-place finish. He was not offered a new contract at the end of the season and was released as a free agent.
McDonald signed a one-year contract with Grimsby Town of the Conference Premier in July 2013. On 19 November, McDonald scored his first goal for the "Mariners" by providing the winner in a 2–1 victory over local rivals Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup First Round. He was a key first team player until losing his place due to injury. He played 17 league games during the 2013–14 campaign as Grimsby secured a play-off spot, losing to Gateshead at the semi-final stage. He was released by manager Paul Hurst in May 2014.
In August 2014, McDonald joined newly relegated League Two club Tranmere Rovers on non-contract terms as manager Rob Edwards was impressed by his ability but not convinced about his fitness levels. However he left the club later in the month after making just one first team appearance. McDonald later stated "I’m gutted. I have just lost my job at Tranmere Rovers because all this stuff (Rape aquittal) that keeps re-appearing in the newspapers and on TV. It’s so hard to move on with all this publicity."
Style of play
His father, Rod, was previously a professional footballer who played for Walsall, Partick Thistle, Chester City, and numerous other non-league clubs. His younger brother, also named Rod, is also a professional footballer, and played for Stoke City and Oldham Athletic after leaving the Manchester City Academy in 2005.
2012 acquittal of rape
On 20 April 2012 after a trial at the Crown Court at Caernarfon before His Honour Judge Merfyn Hughes QC and a jury, McDonald was acquitted of the rape of a woman at a Premier Inn in Rhuddlan on 30 May. His co-defendant, and former Manchester City teammate, Ched Evans was convicted of the charge, and sentenced to five years imprisonment. McDonald's lawyer stated after his acquittal that: "Clayton McDonald has maintained his innocence from the start and is relieved at his verdict. However, he is very upset and disappointed regarding the verdict given to his lifelong friend, Ched Evans, whom he will continue to support in any way possible."
In October 2014, after Ched Evans was released from prison, McDonald claimed that his career and life had been "destroyed" by the rape trial, even though he was acquitted.
"It’s so hard to move on with all this publicity. I have sympathy for Ched but I was found innocent at the end of the day. Trouble is, mud sticks and I have found it very difficult for a club to take me on. I was cleared of rape but Ched’s case and subsequent publicity have destroyed my life and career. I had a year of hell leading up the trial, and it’s not changed much since. To be falsely accused of rape is terrible. I wasn’t guilty of anything but had to prove it. I have tried to rebuild my life ever since the court case but have found it near impossible. As a pro you have to try and cope but it’s so hard."
- As of 7 October 2014.
|Season||Club||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|2008–09||Manchester City||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2008–09||Macclesfield Town (loan)||League Two||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|2009–10||Manchester City||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2011–12||Port Vale||League Two||30||0||1||0||1||0||1||0||33||0|
|2012–13||Bristol Rovers (loan)||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
|2013–14||Grimsby Town||Conference Premier||17||1||3||1||0||0||3||1||23||3|
|2014–15||Tranmere Rovers||League Two||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
- with Port Vale
- "Search 1984 to 2006 – Birth, Marriage and Death indexes". Findmypast.com. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- "Name: Clayton McDonald". port-vale.co.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- Clayton McDonald career stats at Soccerbase
- "City sign up six". Manchester Evening News. 17 May 2007. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Defender due to sign for Silkmen". Macclesfield Town F.C. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
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- Glendinning, Mike (27 August 2008). "Changes afoot". Macclesfield Express. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
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- "Saddlers sign young Man City defender Clayton McDonald". BBC Sports. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
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- "Leeds United 1 – 2 Walsall". BBC Sport. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "Defender Clayton McDonald to miss Walsall run-in". BBC Sport. 19 April 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "Andy Butler signs new contract at Walsall". BBC Sport. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "Ben Williamson and Ryan Burge join Port Vale". BBC Sport. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
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- "Clayton McDonald proving fitness at Port Vale – Grew". BBC Sport. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- Questier, Joe (23 December 2011). "New Deals for McDonald and Roe". port-vale.co.uk. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
- "Southend 3 – 0 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 7 January 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Crawley 3 – 2 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "McDonald must prove he's worth new deal, says Adams". The Sentinel. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "Clayton McDonald extends stay at Vale Park". =The Sentinel. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Micky Adams urges Clayton McDonald to become leaner and meaner". The Sentinel. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
- "Forest Green 2 – 3 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Adams to make Sheffield United cup return". The Sentinel. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- "McDonald goes out on loan". The Sentinel. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Clayton McDonald joins Bristol Rovers on loan from Port Vale". BBC Sport. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Rovers Sign McDonald on Loan". bristolrovers.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Bristol Rovers 1 – 0 Wimbledon". BBC Sport. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Four players released by Valiants". The Sentinel. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "Clayton McDonald signs one-year deal". BBC Sport. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "Clayton McDonald wants Grimsby Town consistency". BBC Sport. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Clayton McDonald has 'no hard feelings' following his Grimsby Town exit". Grimsby Telegraph. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Townsend, Joe (4 May 2014). "Gateshead 3 - 1 Grimsby". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
- Sedgwick, Rob. "Eight Players Depart". thefishy.co.uk. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Clayton McDonald: Tranmere Rovers sign ex-Grimsby defender". BBC Sport. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- "Rob Edwards adds to squad". tranmererovers.co.uk. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- "Ex-Port Vale player Clayton McDonald: 'Ched Evans rape case has destroyed my life'". Stoke Senitel. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
- "Clayton McDonald Signs for the Sandgrounders". southportfc.net. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- "Clayton McDonald: Southport let experienced defender go". BBC Sport. 29 December 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
- "Walsall sign Man City youngster". BBC Sport. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Whalley, Mike (19 May 2007). "Youth on Blues' side". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
- "Wales and Sheffield United's Ched Evans on rape charge". BBC Sport. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- "Wales footballer Ched Evans appears in court on rape charge". walesonline.co.uk. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- Weston, Alan (9 August 2011). "Liverpool-born footballer appears in court on rape charge". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- "Footballers Ched Evans and Clayton McDonald raped woman, court hears". BBC News. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- "Port Vale star Clayton McDonald denies rape of stumbling drunk at hotel". The Sentinel. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- "Footballer rape trial: Ched Evans jailed five years, Clayton McDonald cleared". BBC News. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- "Statement re: Clayton McDonald". port-vale.co.uk. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Includes other competitive competitions, including the Football League Trophy
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Games played by Clayton McDonald in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
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