David Russell was born in Beith in 1862. He played football for Stewaton Cunningham before signing for Preston North End in 1888.
The first season of the Football League began in September, 1888. That season Preston North End won the championship without losing a single match. Russell played in 18 of the 22 league games and was a member of the team that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 to win the 1889 FA Cup Final. Preston won the competition without conceding a single goal.
David Russell, a tough-tackling centre-half, also played the following season when Preston retained the title. As a result of their great success the team became known as the "Invincibles". At the end of the season Russell moved to Nottingham Forest. Russell also played for Ardwick and Notts County.
David Russell died in 1918.