The second player to come to Everton from the King Park Club in Stirling, John Donaldson arrived in Liverpool at the commencement pf the 1904-05 football season along with fellow Scotsmen William Black and John Hannan. The move however, would also to impact upon the rest of his family.
John Donaldson had been born – 25th of July 1885 – at Beith in Ayrshire and was the 3rd child born to Thomas – a Cabinetmaker – and his Wife Margaret. The 1891 census reveals that the family have now relocated to Falkirk – the birthplace of Thomas– and are living at a location know as Pleasance Gardens, Nonetheless the next census – taken in 1901 – finds the family have now moved to Dalry Road in Edinburgh where John has followed his Father in to the Cabinetmaking trade. He has also started playing football – at Junior level – for Kings Park Thistle.
Based in Stirling, this club are a member of the County FA and take part in all the local competitions at this level. Donaldson spent 2 seasons playing for Thistle before excepting the offer to step up to senior level with Scottish Central League club, Kings Park where he played on the left of the half back line. He joined this club – based at Forthbank – in January 1905 and left them the following April to sign forms with Everton. There was no fee involved but the Kings Park secretary wrote to his Everton counterpart asking for donation but there is no record of his wish being granted.
John Donaldson took part in the preseason practice and is first seen in the colours of his new club when they took on leading amateur side, Northern Nomads. The game took place at New Brighton Tower and Everton lost 2-0. The Scot then featured regularly in second X1 and was first called up for first team duty – on the 10th of February – against Sheffield United at Goodison Park. His performance was described as acceptable as Everton won 3-2. Donaldson made his second – and final – Football League appearance for Everton in a home game against Manchester City – which they lost 3-1 – as the executive rested several players in preparation for their FA Cup final game against Newcastle United.
Next Season he was retained by Everton but only appeared in the Lancashire Combination side before leaving Goodison Park – on the 24th of May 1907 – to sign for Preston North End. His connection to the area however, remained intact because his immediate family were now living – in the Shadow of Goodison Park – at 46, Eton Street.
Donaldson spent one season at Deepdale before moving to a Bradford Park Avenue club who had recently become members of the Football League Division 2. He made 7 first X1 appearances for the Yorkshire club before returning to Scotland after just one season.
On the of 2nd of September 1909, John Donaldson received a warm welcome when he “turned out” for Kings Park in their Central League match – played at Forthbank – against East Fife. The game ended in 1-1 draw. He played for the side on a regular basis before making his final appearance – against Stenhousemuir – on the 3rd of January 1910. That Evening a great crowd gathered at a local Tavern to wish him “Bon Voyager” because the next day he sailing to a new life in South Africa. Nevertheless, he failed to settle in his new abode and returned to Stirling the following September where he renewed his amateur status with Kings Park. Next Year he returned to the family home because romance was in the air.
Records reveal that John MacDiarmid Donald was married in October 1911 at West Derby Registry Office to close neighbour Helen Westhead – known affectionally as Nellie – who was then living at 6 Andrew Street. Next Year – following the birth of their first child Alexander – the family emigrated to Australia where a second child – Jean Westhead Donaldson – was born before they returned to live in the Walton area of Liverpool.
The family first settled at Imrie Street before moving to a larger property – that overlooked Walton Hall Park – at 18 Woolhope Road. John Donaldson spent the remaining years of his life at this address until his sudden death – on the 2th October 1943 – left Nellie a Widow. Her son Alex – along with his Wife and 2 children – accompanied her at the Funeral service – which took place at the parish church of St Mary – before her Husband was buried in Anfield Cemetery.