Billy McCandless

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Billy McCandless
Personal information
Full name William McCandless
Date of birth 1894
Place of birth Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date of death 18 July 1955(1955-07-18)
Place of death Swansea, Wales
Playing position Left-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1914–1920 Linfield
1920–1930 Rangers
1930–1933 Ballymena
National team
1919–1929 Ireland 9 (0)
Teams managed
1930–1933 Ballymena
1933–1937 Dundee
1937–1946 Newport County
1946–1947 Cardiff City
1947–1955 Swansea City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William "Billy" McCandless (1894 – 18 July 1955) was an Irish international football player and manager. As a player McCandless normally played at left-back, most notably at Rangers where he won 8 league titles with the side. Following his retirement from playing he went into management, enjoying most success with Welsh sides Newport County, Cardiff City and Swansea Town, taking all three sides to the Division Three South title.

Club career[edit]

McCandless was born in Belfast, and started his career with non-league sides Ligoniel and Barn before joining Linfield in 1914. He stayed with the Blues for 6 years, helping them to Irish Cup success in 1916 and 1919 before his performance in a 2-0 defeat to England while playing for Ireland prompted a number of British sides to show interest in signing him. Eventually joining Rangers in 1920 for £2,500, a record fee for an Irish player at the time, he went on to add 8 League titles to his honours collection while playing at Ibrox where he formed a formidable full back pairing with another Irishman, Bert Manderson.

In 1930, by then a veteran, McCandless was given the opportunity to move into football management by Ballymena, where he was appointed player-manager. He returned to Scotland in 1933 to take charge of Dundee before moving to Newport County in 1937, where he helped them to promotion to Division 2 in 1939 despite using just 13 players throughout the season.[1][2] Following the end of the war the majority of his title winning team moved to different clubs and, after falling out with the board over the future of the team, he resigned.

He was a man who lived for football and Welsh soccer has sustained a severe loss in the death of this Irishman who did so much for it. Billy Mac will be mourned by the soccer public everywhere.

Western Mail[3]

A month later he was appointed Cardiff City manager in 1946 and took the side to the Division Three South title in his first year finishing nine points clear of second place Queens Park Rangers but, after only a few months of the following season, he left to join local rivals Swansea Town.[4] At the club he completed a unique treble, having taken three Welsh sides to the Division Three South title.

He died on 18 July 1955 in Swansea, while still the club's manager.

International career[edit]

McCandless won his first Ireland cap on 25 October 1919 in the first post-war international, a 1-1 draw with England.[3] He went on to win a total of 9 caps for Ireland, making his final appearance on 2 February 1929 in a 2-2 draw with Wales.



Linfield Swifts
1916, 1919
1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930


Newport County
Cardiff City
Swansea Town


  • Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Cardiff City. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-462-0. 
  1. ^ "1920-1943" retrieved on 10 June 2009
  2. ^ "Club history" Archived 29 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 9 September 2013
  3. ^ a b "Billy McCandless" Retrieved on 10 June 2009
  4. ^ "The post-war recovery" Retrieved on 9 September 2013