Billy Leech

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Billy Leech
Billy Leech.jpg
Personal information
Full name William Leech[1]
Date of birth (1875-07-15)15 July 1875
Place of birth Newcastle-under-Lyme, England[1]
Date of death 24 November 1934(1934-11-24) (aged 59)[1]
Place of death Leicester, England[1]
Playing position Left-half
Youth career
Newcastle White Star
Newcastle Swifts
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Tottenham Hotspur ? (?)
1899–1900 Burslem Port Vale 26 (1)
1900–1902 Stoke 46 (2)
1903–1906 Plymouth Argyle 137 (7)
1906–1910 Leicester Fosse 84 (3)
Total 293+ (13+)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

William Leech (15 July 1875 – 24 November 1934) was an English footballer who played for Burslem Port Vale, Leicester Fosse, Plymouth Argyle, Stoke and Tottenham Hotspur.[1] He made over 300 competitive appearances in a career lasting over 11 years. A left-half, his greatest achievement was to help Leicester to win promotion out of the Second Division in 1906–07.

Playing career[edit]

Leech played for local sides Newcastle White Star and Newcastle Swifts before joining London side Tottenham Hotspur.[2] He left "Spurs" in June 1899 to join Burslem Port Vale back in his native Staffordshire.[3] He made his Vale debut in a 2–0 loss to Leicester Fosse at Filbert Street on 30 September, and became a regular first team player from the following month.[3] He made 26 Second Division and four FA Cup appearances in the 1899–1900 campaign, scoring once in a 4–0 win over Chesterfield at Saltergate (Howard Harvey claimed the other three).[3]

After one season at Burslem Port Vale, Leech joined local rivals Stoke in the First Division, and he took over the centre half position from the injured Edward Parsons.[1] He played in 36 matches for the "Potters" in 1900–01, scoring twice against Derby County and West Bromwich Albion.[1] His run in the first team was ended in February 1902 after breaking his leg against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, and he was allowed to leave the club.[1]

It took him more than a year to recover from his injury, and in July 1903 he signed for Southern League side Plymouth Argyle. He spent three seasons with the "Pilgrims", making between 49 and 52 appearances in each season. In total, he scored seven goals in 151 league and cup games at Home Park. The club's handbook at the time described him as "No comment needed! The one and only Leech. A pocket champion, admired on the stand side and elsewhere in the Three Towns. 'Nuf sed'."[2] He then returned to the Football League with Leicester Fosse, becoming a first team regular in the 1906–07 and 1907–08 campaigns, as the "Foxes" won promotion out of the Second Division in 1908. He then became a peripheral figure at the club, until his retirement in 1911.

Career statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from Billy Leech profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Burslem Port Vale 1899–1900 Second Division 26 1 4 0 30 1
Stoke 1900–01 First Division 33 2 2 0 35 2
1901–02 First Division 13 0 2 0 15 0
Total 46 2 4 0 50 2
Plymouth Argyle 1903–04 Southern League 43 2 7 0 50 2
1904–05 Southern League 45 2 4 0 49 2
1905–06 Southern League 49 3 3 0 52 3
Total 137 7 14 0 151 7
Leicester Fosse 1906–07 Second Division 36 2 0 0 36 2
1907–08 Second Division 38 1 2 0 40 1
1908–09 First Division 7 0 1 0 8 0
1909–10 Second Division 2 0 0 0 2 0
1910–11 Second Division 1 0 0 0 1 0
Total 84 3 3 0 87 3
Career Total 293 13 25 0 318 13

Honours[edit]

Leicester City

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0. 
  2. ^ a b "profile". greensonscreen.co.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 171. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.