Billy Behan

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Billy Behan
Personal information
Full name William Behan
Date of birth (1911-08-08)8 August 1911
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Date of death 11 November 1991(1991-11-11) (aged 80)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1930–1931 Shamrock Rovers ? (?)
1931–1933 Shelbourne ? (?)
1933–1934 Manchester United 1 (0)
1934 Shelbourne ? (?)
1934–1936 Shamrock Rovers ? (?)
Teams managed
1953–1954 Drumcondra
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

William "Billy" Behan (8 August 1911 – 12 November 1991) was an Irish footballer who played as a goalkeeper for Shelbourne, Shamrock Rovers and Manchester United during the 1930s.

He made his Rovers debut on 8 February 1931 in a 5–1 win over Bray Unknowns at Milltown. In his first season, he won the FAI Cup.

Behan signed for Manchester United in September 1933, along with fellow Irishman David Byrne - they were the first players from the south of Ireland to play for the club in over a decade.[1]

He made his United debut in an English Second Division home game against Bury on 3 March 1934. The following July, he briefly returned to Shelbourne before again returning to Rovers. Over the next two seasons, he won another FAI Cup and a League of Ireland Shield. His last game for the Hoops was on 23 August 1936 in a Shield win over Drumcondra.

After his retirement as a player he became a respected referee and was in charge of the 1943 FAI Cup Final. He then managed Drumcondra in the 1950s where he won the FAI Cup again.

Behan subsequently became United's chief scout in the Republic of Ireland and is credited with discovering, among others, Johnny Carey, Liam Whelan, Tony Dunne, Don Givens, Kevin Moran and Paul McGrath. He also served as vice chairman of the Dalkey-based Leinster Senior League team, Dalkey United and it was through this association that he discovered McGrath.

Behan's father, William Sr., was one of the founder members of Shamrock Rovers. His brothers John and Paddy also played for Rovers. His son William junior kept goal for Rovers side also for a spell. His second cousin was Bob Fullam.

Billy's grandson Philip Behan is the former Head of International Football at the Football Association of Ireland and is now a UEFA and FIFA Agent organising friendly international matches and tournaments around the world.

Billy died in November 1991 at the age of 80.


As a player[edit]

Shamrock Rovers

As a manager[edit]



  • McGrath, Paul; Hogan, Vincent (2006), Back From the Brink, Arrow, ISBN 978-0-09-949955-8
  • The Boys In Green – The FAI International Story (1997): Sean Ryan
  • The Hoops by Paul Doolan and Robert Goggins (ISBN 0-7171-2121-6)


  1. ^ [1]

External links[edit]