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PersonalFullname: Michael Hamill
aka: Mickey Hamill
Born: 19 Jan 1889
Died: 23 Jan 1943
Birthplace: West Belfast, Ireland
Signed: 28 Dec 1910 (loan); 19 Oct 1916 (loan); 9 Dec 16 (loan); 18 May & 25 1918 (loan)
Debut: Celtic 0-0 Morton, League, 21 Oct 1916
International Caps: 7
International Goals: 1
BiogMickey Hamill is a player that Celtic wanted very much. However, after a skilful performance in a friendly against Celtic, Manchester United nipped in and signed him ahead of us for a then record fee of £175 on New Year's Eve 1910. However, things didn't fully work out there and he was repeatedly on loan to other clubs (the Man U coaches said he was short on pace). A disagreement over a benefit match led to Hamill returning to Belfast Celtic on a free transfer. The fact that Manchester United received no indemnity for the loss of Hamill's services led to an agreement being established between the English Football League and the Irish League regarding the transfer of players between the two leagues.
In 1914, Hamill led Ireland to their first Home Championship win. This included a victory over England at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, which was considered by many to be Hamill's greatest-ever game. However he would be capped by Ireland on just seven occasions; he later refused to play for Ireland until alleged discrimination against Catholic players by the Irish Football Association ceased. The latter act itself will have endeared him to the very sympathetic Celtic support who could easily relate to his stance having to confront similar issues in Scotland and Glasgow in particular.
During World War I, Hamill played with Celtic for a period, winning a League and Charity Cup medal. He was a very popular figure in his short loans with Celtic, and was regarded as a class defender. It would have been great if he had stayed for longer with the club as the short spells never did him enough justice to make a greater name for himself in the club's history.
His last appearance for Celtic was in Jimmy McMenemy's testimonial on Jan 6th 1920.
Away from Celtic, Hamill won his first Irish Cup medal with Belfast Celtic in 1918, playing through a knee injury to lead his team to victory over Linfield, something that would have again endeared him to the Celtic support in Glasgow.
He played for Ireland against Scotland in the "Victory International" at Ibrox Park on March 22 1919 and amused the crowd with his yells of ‘Celtic’s ball’ at throw ins, likely to have raised some heckles we're sure amongst the home crowd.
Interesting is the range of sides he played for. It includes Belfast Rangers, Belfast Celtic, Red Hand FC, Manchester Utd and Manchester City amongst others. He later moved to the US and played for teams in both Boston and New York for a short spell (more rival sides), and made such a name for himself that he even got invited to the White House along with other sporting legends like Babe Ruth (baseball).
When Hamill returned to N Ireland, he signed yet again for Belfast Celtic where he ended his playing career after the 1929-1930 season and became a legend for the ill-fated club. He would later manage Belfast club Distillery and run the 'Centre-Half Bar' on Belfast's Falls Road.
Sadly he died in 1943 in mysterious circumstances. He was found drowned in the Lagan Canal in Lisburn (N Ireland). His body was recovered but the case of his death has never been solved.
An interesting character whose life covered many aspects that have surrounded the lives of many a Celtic supporter over the years, socially and politically. If he had been with us for a longer spell and played more games, then maybe he could have gone on to become a more celebrated player in our folklore. Nevertheless, he is still one many will find interesting to read up on.
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Honours with CelticScottish League
- Michael Hamill - Articles
TriviaMichael or Mick Hammill is the puch-line of a joke that is told by journalist, author and Cowdenbeath historian/fan Ron Ferguson in his book "Hellicopter Dreams". It tells the story of Tewfik Abdullah one of a quartet of Egyptians who played in Britain after World War I.
The story goes that in 1921, when Abdullah made his debut for Derby County against Manchester City, he ran on to the heavily sanded pitch shouting "Where's me camel?"
His actual words were directed towards the player he was allocated to mark, and were in fact "Where's Mick Hamill?" who was playing with City.
By a coincidence the two players would end up playing for Fall River Marksmen though not at the same time. Abdullah was with the Marksmen in 1928 and Hamill in 1924.
(L-R) Irish League medal 1915, Lewis Cup medal 1926 (USA), think next one is an Irish Charity Cup medal & for the last one see below, what an honour!
Latest page update: made by BigNan
, May 3 2013, 1:59 AM EDT
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