One of a number of amazingly versatile local players who assisted Albion in the club’s formative years, Donald Coles was the son of a Notting Hill dentist but was educated in Sussex at Ardingly College. His early football was played with Burgess Hill and Brighton Athletic, during which time he represented Sussex, and after appearing briefly for Brighton & Hove Rangers during 1900-01 he joined the Albion as an amateur.
Donald played regularly in the club’s first season, 1901-02, and turned out at right-back, left-half and centre-forward. His performances earned him a three-month spell with Leicester Fosse early in the following season, but he played only a single first-team match for the Midlands club, a 5-0 Second Division defeat at Chesterfield in September, before returning to the Albion and turning professional.
Although he was the regular right-back asAlbion won their way to the Southern League’s test match, Donald missed outon that final triumph and spent the following season in the reserves. In 1904 he applied for reinstatement as an amateur, but the F.A refused permission until the following year when he went on to play briefly for St Leonards United (in their only season as a professional outfit before amalgamating with the Hastings & St Leonards club).
Donald played 25 matches for the Seagulls between 1901 and 1904 scoring 2 goals.