William John Scott

William John Scott : Preston North End

William John Scott was born in Preston on 14th June 1921. He joined Preston North End just before the outbreak of the Second World War. The government imposed a fifty mile travelling limit and the Football League divided all the clubs into seven regional areas where games could take place. At the age of nineteen Scott became a regular in the side.

In 1941 Preston North End won the North Regional League title. It has been argued by Jack Rollin (Soccer at War: 1939-45) that: "The first club to benefit from a youth policy to any marked degree was Preston North End, who owed success in 1940-41 to their exceptional pre-war structure. By 1938 the club was already running two teams in local junior circles when the chairman James Taylor decided upon a scheme to fill the gap between school leavers and junior clubs by forming a Juvenile Division of the Preston and District League open to 14-16-year-olds."

Rollin points out that by 1940 over 100 youngsters were being trained in groups of eight of the club's senior players voluntarily assisting in evening coaching. Robert Beattie was one of those involved in this coaching. The first youngsters to emerge from this coaching system included William Scott, Andrew McLaren and Tom Finney.

Preston North End also took part in the 1941 Football League War Cup. Preston beat Bury, Bolton, Tranmere, Manchester City and Newcastle to reach the final. The Preston team that faced Arsenal at Wembley on 31st May was: Jack Fairbrother, Frank Gallimore, William Scott, Bill Shankley, Tom Smith, Andrew Beattie, Tom Finney, Andrew McLaren, Jimmy Dougal, Robert Beattie and Hugh O'Donnell.

The game took place in front of a 60,000 crowd. Arsenal was awarded a penalty after only three minutes but Leslie Compton hit the foot of the post with the spot kick. Soon afterwards Andrew McLaren scored from a pass from Tom Finney. Preston dominated the rest of the match but Dennis Compton managed to get the equaliser just before the end of full-time.

The replay took place at Ewood Park, the ground of Blackburn Rovers. The first goal was as a result of a move that included Tom Finney and Jimmy Dougal before Robert Beattie put the ball in the net. Frank Gallimore put through his own goal but from the next attack, Beattie scored again. It was the final goal of the game and Preston ended up the winners of the cup.

Scott continued to play for Preston North End during the Second World War. He was the only ever present in the first season of the Football League after the war when Preston managed to finish 7th in the First Division. The next season was not so good as Preston was relegated to the Second Division. Scott continued to hold his place in the team and helped the club win promotion to the First Division in 1950-51.

Scott reached his peak of form in the Preston side that finished second to Arsenal in the 1952-53 season. He retired from football in 1954. Since the end of the war he had played 208 league games and 14 cup matches.