Bill Rawlings

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Bill Rawlings
Personal information
Full name William Ernest Rawlings[1]
Date of birth (1896-01-03)3 January 1896
Place of birth Andover, Hampshire, England[1]
Date of death 25 September 1972(1972-09-25) (aged 76)[1]
Place of death Chandler's Ford, England[1]
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Centre-forward
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1918–1928 Southampton 327 (175)
1928–1929 Manchester United 35 (19)
1929–1930 Port Vale 5 (2)
1930 New Milton
1930–1933 Newport (Isle of Wight)
Total 367+ (196+)
National team
1922 England 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

William Ernest "Bill" Rawlings (3 January 1896 – 25 September 1972) was an English footballer. A centre-forward, he scored more than 196 goals in 367 league games in a 15-year career.

He began his career with Southampton in 1918, who were elevated from the Southern League to the Football League in 1919. He finished as the club's top-scorer eight times in nine seasons from 1920–21 to 1927–28, helping the "Saints" to win the Third Division South title in 1921–22 and to reach the FA Cup semi-finals in 1925 and 1927. He also won himself two England caps in 1922, both of which were from British Home Championship games. He signed with Manchester United in March 1928, and moved on to Port Vale in November 1929. He picked up a serious ankle injury whilst with the "Valiants", and moved onto Newport via New Milton the following year, before retiring in 1933.

Playing career[edit]

Rawlings' career started in 1918 with Southampton. He quickly settled into the side, building a formidable attacking partnership with Arthur Dominy. He scored 19 goals in the Southern League in 1919–20. The "Saints" were then elected into the Football League, becoming founder members of the Third Division. He became the club's top scorer in 1920–21 with 22 goals, as Southampton were denied promotion despite finishing in second place. He hit 32 goals in 1921–22 to win himself attention at a national level, and to help his club win the Third Division South title. His intelligent play and deadly shooting earned him two England caps.[1] He appeared against Wales and Scotland in the 1922 British Home Championship,[2] achieving the rare distinction of being capped for England while playing for a third tier club.

In 1922–23, the "Saints" posted a respectable 11th-place finish in the Second Division, with Dominy finishing as top-scorer. Rawlings then returned to form and finished as the club's top-scorer for the third time in four seasons in 1923–24, when he found the net 21 times. Rawlings went on to remain as the club's top scorer for another four seasons, hitting 16 goals in 1924–25, 20 goals in 1925–26, 28 goals in 1926–27, and 21 goals in 1927–28. He also helped the club to reach the FA Cup semi-finals in 1927, and scored in what was a 2–1 defeat to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. He scored a total of 193 goals in 364 appearances in league and cup competitions during his ten years at The Dell. His 193 goals places him third on the club's list of all-time goalscorers, behind Mick Channon and Matthew Le Tissier.

In March 1928, he signed for First Division side Manchester United, scoring on his Old Trafford debut on 14 March; a 1–0 win over Everton. He hit a hat-trick on 7 April, in a 4–3 home win over Burnley, and finished the 1927–28 season with ten goals for the "Red Devils". However he was limited to six goals in 1928–29. He found all three goals of the 1929–30 campaign on 14 September, in a 3–2 win over Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park.[3]

In November 1929, he moved to Port Vale, after the "Valiants" paid United a four figure fee.[1] Rawlings scored on his Vale debut in a 5–2 win over Accrington Stanley at The Old Recreation Ground on 9 November.[1] He played a further five games before suffering a serious ankle injury on Christmas Day 1929, during a 2–1 home defeat by Stockport County.[1] The "Valiants" went on to win the Third Division North title in 1929–30.[1] He recovered to full fitness by the spring of 1930, but was unable to return to the first team and left for New Milton during the 1930–31 season.[1] Later in 1930 he moved to Isle of Wight and played for Newport, before retiring in 1933.


Port Vale


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 246. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ "William Rawlings". Retrieved 20 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "The Website of Dreams". Retrieved 20 June 2009.