William C. McClelland

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William C. McClelland
William McClelland 1903.jpg
McClelland in 1903
Personal information
Full name William Caldwell McClelland
Date of birth 9 February 1875
Place of birth Buninyong, Victoria
Date of death 30 May 1957(1957-05-30) (aged 82)
Original team(s) Brighton Grammar
Position(s) Defender
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1894 Melbourne (VFA) 16 (8)
1898–1904 Melbourne 75 (3)
Total 91 (11)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1901 Victoria ? (?)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1904.
2 State and international statistics correct as of 1901.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

William Caldwell McClelland CBE (9 February 1875 – 30 May 1957) was a medical doctor and an Australian rules football player and administrator. Born at Buninyong, on Victoria's goldfields, to an Irish-born father (David) and his Victorian-born wife (Mary), McClelland went to Brighton Grammar School and then to the University of Melbourne, where he was awarded a BA in 1899, MA in 1901 and MB, BS in 1905.

He joined the Melbourne Football Club in 1894, but due to injury and medical studies, could not hold a place in the lineup until 1898, and became known as an often brilliant centre half-back. He played in the club's surprise 1900 premiership triumph and was elected as captain the following year, a position he filled for four seasons. Retiring at the end of the 1904 season with a total of 91 games to his credit, McClelland focussed his energies on his medical career and he was medical officer to the Brighton City Council for more than four decades.

In 1912, McClelland became president of the Melbourne Football Club, a position he relinquished when elected to the presidency of the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1926, succeeding Baldwin Spencer. He served in this capacity for two decades and from 1944 was also the president of the Melbourne Cricket Club, simultaneously holding the two highest profile sporting positions in Victoria for 12 years. He was granted a CBE for his services to both games in 1955. At the age of 81, he handed over the leadership of the VFL to Kenneth Luke, who was a more vocal opponent of the hold exerted by cricket clubs over the finances of VFL clubs. McClelland continued as president of the MCC until 1957, when he died. He did not marry.

McClelland was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame as an administrator in 1996. His citation read:

Cool level-headed defender for Melbourne who was club president for 14 years before becoming VFL president from 1926 to 1955.

In 1950, the VFL instituted the McClelland Trophy, awarded to the club with the best overall home-and-away record across the three levels, seniors, reserves and under 19s, over the course of the season. Since the beginning of the Australian Football League era, with the abolition of the reserves and under 19s, the trophy is given to the team that finishes on top of the ladder after the home and away season (the minor premier).