William McClelland was a medical doctor and an Australian Rules football player and administrator. Born in Buninyong, William attended the University of

Melbourne, where he was awarded a BA in 1899, MA in 1901 and MBBS in 1905. While studying for his medical degree he was also Vice President of the University Club (which had not yet joined the VFL) and played midweek matches with the Club.

William joined the Melbourne Football Club  in  1898 and is remembered as a cool, agile centre halfback. He played in the club’s surprise 1900 premiership triumph and was elected Captain in 1901 until 1904. Retiring at the end of the 1904 season with 75 games to his credit, William focused his energies on his medical career, including being medical officer to the Brighton City Council for more than 40 years.

William was appointed Melbourne’s delegate to the VFL  in 1909 and also served as Club Doctor before becoming Chairman of the Club in 1912. He served until 1926 when the Demons won a flag and he took up a position as VFL President until 1956.

From 1944 he 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. McClelland continued as president of the MCC until his death in 1957.

William was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame 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 way season (the minor premier).

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