John McNichol was born on 20 August 1925. An inside forward, he played more than 150 games for Brighton & Hove Albion and more than 200 for each for Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
Johnny graduated from junior footballer and apprentice motor mechanic in his native Scotland to a professional contract with Newcastle United. After two years, he had found success with the reserve team but was never selected in the first eleven. Brighton & Hove Albion, in the Third Division, broke their transfer record to sign him. McNichol spent four years with the club, acquiring “the reputation as the finest inside-forward in the Third Division”, before moving to the First Division with Chelsea. He was part of the Chelsea team that won the League championship in the 1954-55 season. In 1958 he joined Crystal Palace, whom he captained to promotion from the Fourth Division, and finished his on-field career in the Southern League as player-manager of Tunbridge Wells Rangers.
Johnny played 158 games for the Seagulls between 1948 and 1952 scoring 37 goals.