|Full name||William McCracken|
|Date of birth||29 January 1883|
|Place of birth||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Date of death||20 January 1979(aged 95)|
|Place of death||Hull, Canada|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
William "Bill" McCracken (29 January 1883 – 20 January 1979) was a Northern Irish footballer who played as a defender. He was a cousin of Robert McCracken who also had a career as a professional footballer.
McCracken played for English club Newcastle United from 1904 to 1924, helping them win three League titles and the FA Cup. McCracken is one of just a few players whose actions have brought changes to the Laws of the Game when, as a centre-half at Newcastle, he masterminded the technique of making opposition forwards ruled "offside" when the rules stated that 3 defenders must be between the attacking player and the goal line. So successful was McCracken's defensive ploy that the Offside Rule was changed to "2 defenders" between the foremost attacker and the goal line".
In total he played 432 games for Newcastle, scoring 8 goals. After leaving Newcastle he went on to become Hull City manager in 1923 and he took them to the FA Cup semi-final in 1930. He left the club a year later.
He later had a short term in charge of Gateshead, before managing Millwall from 1933–1936. He went on to manage the now defunct Aldershot, and later returned to Newcastle as a scout. In the 1970s, with McCracken in his 90s, he was scouting for Watford.
As a player
- Football League championship: 1904–05, 1906–07, 1908–09
- FA Cup winner: 1910
- FA Cup finalist: 1908, 1911
- "Bob "Roy" McCracken". nifootball.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- "Bill McCracken". Newcastle United F.C. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
- "Does anyone understand the offside law?". The Independent. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
- Harris, Tim (2009). Players: 250 Men, Women and Animals Who Created Modern Sport. Random House. pp. 462–465. ISBN 978-1-4090-8691-8.
- Hornby, Hugh (18 December 2003). "A master tactician hated by the fans". Lancashire Evening Post. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- "Bill McCracken". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
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