Billy Lane (footballer)

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For other people of the same name see Billy Lane and Billy Lane (angler)

Billy Lane
Personal information
Full name William Henry Charles Lane
Date of birth (1904-10-23)23 October 1904
Place of birth Tottenham, England
Date of death 10 November 1985(1985-11-10) (aged 81)
Place of death Chelmsford, Essex, England
Playing position Centre forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
London City Mission
Gnome Athletic
Park Avondale
1922 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (0)
Northfleet United
1924–1926 Tottenham Hotspur 26 (7)
1926–1927 Leicester City 5 (2)
1928 Reading 6 (2)
1929–1931 Brentford 112 (82)
1932–1935 Watford 124 (68)
1935–1936 Bristol City 30 (11)
1937 Clapton Orient 12 (1)
Gravesend United
Total 315 (173)
Teams managed
1947–1950 Guildford City
1951–1961 Brighton & Hove Albion
1961–1963 Gravesend and Northfleet
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William Henry Charles "Billy" Lane (23 October 1904 – 10 November 1985) was an English football centre forward, best remembered for his time in the Football League with Watford and Brentford, making over 120 appearances for each club.[1]

Club career[edit]

After playing for the London City Mission, Gnome Athletic and Park Avondale, Lane joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1922 for the first time but left the club without appearing in a senior match. He went on to play for Summerstown and Barnet before re-joining Tottenham after a spell with the club's "nursery" team Northfleet United.[2] Lane, a centre forward, went on to feature in 30 matches and found the net on six occasions between 1924 and 1926.[3] Lane's time with Spurs came to an end after manager Peter McWilliam dropped him after Lane kicked the ball into the crowd after having a goal disallowed in a match versus Preston North End.[4] Lane had been courting the attention of the England selectors at the time, who were present at the match, but unimpressed with his behaviour. The incident ended Lane's chances of an international call-up and his Tottenham career.[4]

After leaving White Hart Lane, Lane appeared for Leicester City (joining for £2250), Reading and Brentford, where he scored 89 goals in 123 appearances.[4] As of 2015, his record of seven league hattricks is second behind club record-holder Jack Holliday and his 33-goal haul in the 1929–30 season was a club record until Holliday broke it in 1932–33.[5] Despite his excellent form for the Bees, Lane was transfer-listed by manager Harry Curtis, who needed the money from Lane's sale to fund the transfer of Middlesbrough players Jack Holliday, Bert Watson and Billy Scott.[4] Lane signed for Watford in a £1500 deal in 1932 and the following year scored a hat-trick in the Football League in under three minutes against Clapton Orient on 20 December 1933, then a record.[4][6][7] He featured in a total of 136 matches for Watford in all competitions, scoring 77 goals and went on to have spells at Bristol City, Clapton Orient and finally Gravesend United.[8]

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

In 1945, Lane turned down the manager's job at Clapton Orient to return to Brentford as a coach under Harry Curtis.[4] He remained with the Bees before going into management with Guildford City. He later moved on to manage Brighton & Hove Albion and Gravesend & Northfleet.[6][8] He managed Brighton & Hove Albion to its first ever Football League title, as 1957–58 Third Division South champions. After leaving Gravesend & Northfleet, Lane became a scout for Arsenal and later returned to Brighton & Hove Albion in a similar role.[4] He was still working for Albion at the time of his death in 1985.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Lane served as a PT instructor during the Second World War.[4]


  1. ^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records. Soccerdata. p. 151. ISBN 1-899468-63-3. 
  2. ^ Kent's nursery clubs Retrieved 7 May 2009
  3. ^ Tottenham Hotspur F.C A-Z of players Retrieved 29 November 2012
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Official Matchday Magazine Of Brentford Football Club versus Oldham Athletic 14/08/99. Blackheath: Morganprint. 1999. p. 27. 
  5. ^ Brentford Football Club Official Matchday Magazine versus Bournemouth 04/09/04. 2004. pp. 46, 47. 
  6. ^ a b Lacey, David (23 February 2008). "Rotation traps Liverpool in a cycle of domestic under-achievement". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Jones, Trefor (1998). Watford Season by Season. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-9527458-1-X. 
  8. ^ a b Jones, Trefor (1996). Watford Football Club Illustrated Who's Who. p. 142. ISBN 0-9527458-0-1.