William Kennedy Gibson

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William Kennedy Gibson (1 October 1876 – 9 December 1949) was an Irish footballer and political activist.

Although born in Glasgow, Gibson's family were from Belfast, and Gibson moved there at a young age. Gibson was a talented footballer who played for Cliftonville F.C. while still at school.[1] He played thirteen matches for the Ireland national football team from 1894 to 1902, scoring once, against England, and captaining the side on four occasions.[2] He won numerous honours with Cliftonville before becoming President of the club, then becoming active in its management.[1]

Outside football, Gibson worked as a solicitor, and he provided legal advice to the Irish Football Association, becoming its vice-chairman in 1907. In 1909, he was elected to the Belfast Corporation as an independent Unionist, with the support of the Belfast Citizens' Association. He defeated future Lord Mayor of Belfast William George Turner, who had the unofficial backing of the Conservative Party.[1]

Gibson stood again as an independent Unionist in Belfast Ballynafeigh at the Northern Ireland general election, 1929, but he was narrowly defeated by Thomas Moles, the official Unionist candidate.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Neal Garnham, Association football and society in pre-partition Ireland, pp.153-158
  2. ^ Player: William Gibson, European Football
  3. ^ Neil Garnham, "Association football and politics in Belfast: the careers of William Kennedy Gibson", International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol.16, No.1, March 1999, pp.128–136