Billy Hamilton (footballer)

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Billy Hamilton
Personal information
Full name William Robert Hamilton
Date of birth (1957-05-09) 9 May 1957 (age 59)
Place of birth Gilnahirk, County Down, Northern Ireland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1978 Linfield 66 (25)
1978–1979 Queens Park Rangers 12 (2)
1979–1984 Burnley 200 (58)
1984–1987 Oxford United 92 (25)
1987–1989 Limerick 29 (4)
1989 Coleraine 1 (0)
1989 Sligo Rovers 18 (4)
1989–1992 Distillery 50 (28)
National team
1979–1989 Northern Ireland 41 (5)
Teams managed
1987–1989 Limerick
1989–1995 Distillery
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William ("Billy") Robert Hamilton (born 9 May 1957 in Gilnahirk, County Down) is a former Northern Ireland international footballer who played as a forward.

At club level, Hamilton played for Linfield, QPR, Burnley, Oxford United, Limerick, Sligo Rovers, Coleraine and Distillery. Hamilton is best remembered by Northern Ireland fans as the man who crossed the ball for Gerry Armstrong to score for Northern Ireland in their famous win against the hosts Spain at the 1982 FIFA World Cup.[1] He played in every game and subsequently scored two goals himself in the second round game against Austria, and also played at the 1986 FIFA World Cup. He also twice won the British Home Championship in 1980 and 1984, scoring the winning goal against Scotland. Northern Ireland never lost when Hamilton scored. In total, Hamilton played 41 games, scoring 5 goals, for his country.

He is also remembered fondly by Distillery fans. He was a sensational signing by the club as Player/Manager in December 1989, after leaving Limerick City of the League of Ireland Premier Division, having managed them to a third-place finish in the 1988–89 season. He made his playing debut for the Whites on 22 March 1990 and in his three seasons made 72 appearances and scored 33 goals including one hat-trick. Knee injuries forced him to end his playing career in February 1992, but he continued to manage the team until February 1995. He guided the club to the Gold Cup victory in the 1993/94 season.

Hamilton has the distinction of designing a board game,[2] Billy Hamilton's Football Academy, which was released in 1985.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 16 May 1980 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Scotland 1–0 1–0 1980 British Home Championship
2 25 March 1981 Glasgow, Scotland  Scotland 1–1 1–1 1982 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 1 July 1982 Madrid, Spain  Austria 1–0 2–2 1982 FIFA World Cup
4 1 July 1982 Madrid, Spain  Austria 2–2 2–2 1982 FIFA World Cup
5 21 September 1983 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Austria 1–0 3–1 UEFA Euro 1984 qualifying


  1. ^ Billy Hamilton Statistics FIFA. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  2. ^ Billy Hamilton's Football Academy. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  • Hugman, Barry (2005). The PFA Premier and Football League Players' Records 1946–2005. Queen Anne Press.