Billy Walsh (Irish footballer)

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Billy Walsh
Personal information
Full name William Walsh
Date of birth (1921-05-31)31 May 1921
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Date of death 28 July 2006(2006-07-28) (aged 85)
Place of death Noosa, Queensland, Australia
Playing position Half back
Youth career
Manchester United
1936–1938 Manchester City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1938–1950 Manchester City 109 (1)
→ (wartime league) 227 (8)
1939–1940Oldham Athletic (guest) 2 (1)
1941–1942Rochdale (guest) 3 (0)
1942–1943Manchester United (guest) 2 (0)
1951 Chelmsford City
1951–1954 Canterbury City
195x–19xx Eastern Suburbs
National team
1930s England Schoolboys XI ? (?)
1944–1948 Ireland (IFA) 6 (0)
1946–1950 Ireland (FAI) 9 (0)
Teams managed
1951 Chelmsford City
1951–1954 Canterbury City
1954–1955 Grimsby Town
19xx–19xx Melbourne Hakoah
196x–19xx Melbourne Hungaria
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

William "Billy" Walsh (31 May 1921 – 28 July 2006), also referred to as Willie Walsh, was an Irish footballer. Walsh played for several clubs, but most notably with Manchester City, for whom he made more than 100 appearances. As an international, Walsh represented four national teams: after playing for the England Schoolboys XI, he then became a dual Irish international, playing for both Ireland teams – the FAI XI and the IFA XI. In 1949, he was a member of the FAI XI that defeated England 2–0 at Goodison Park, becoming the first non-United Kingdom team to beat England at home. He then emigrated to New Zealand and also played in an unofficial game for their national team. Walsh eventually moved to Australia and settled in Noosa, Queensland. In 2003, he and several other former Manchester City players returned for the last game at Maine Road. He died on 28 July 2006 at the age of 85 and his ashes were interred at the Garden of Remembrance at the City of Manchester Stadium.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Walsh was born in Dublin, but moved to Gorton, Manchester, at the age of seven. There, he attended St Gregory's School and eventually played for the England Schoolboys XI. He later became the subject of a dispute between Manchester United and Manchester City, who both claimed he had signed for them. After being signed by a United youth coach who also coached at his school, Walsh was taken to City by his mother, where he was given a job as an office boy. The Football Association intervened and gave Walsh the choice of clubs; he chose City, but the club was also given a fine of 5 guineas.[2]

Manchester City[edit]

Walsh subsequently signed as an amateur with for Manchester City in 1936 and then turned professional in June 1938. The Second World War delayed Walsh's full debut for City, his first appearance coming in a Wartime League game at home to Stoke City on 18 November 1939, although he played out of position at outside left. During the war, he worked as a miner and made 227 wartime league appearances for City, scoring 8 goals. He also played a further 67 Wartime Cup games. His wartime appearances became a City record. As well as playing for City, Walsh also made guest appearances for Oldham Athletic, Rochdale and Manchester United.

Walsh made his senior debut for City in the Third Round of the 1945–46 FA Cup against Barrow on 5 January 1946. The Football League did not resume until August 1946, but Walsh made his league debut on the opening day of the 1946–47 season, scoring the second goal in a 3–0 away win over Leicester City. Walsh made 13 appearances in the Second Division that season and helped City win the division title. However, he missed out on an actual medal because of his lack of games.[citation needed] Over the next three seasons, he established himself as a regular in the side and went on to make 118 competitive appearances, mainly as a right-half, although he would also play at left-half.[3][4][5]

Later years[edit]

After leaving Manchester City, Walsh became a player-manager with Chelmsford City on 11 April 1951. Then in August of the same year, despite offers from Lincoln City and Port Vale to resume his playing career, he became player-manager with Canterbury City. He stayed with Canterbury until February 1954 when he was appointed manager of Grimsby Town, where he succeeded Bill Shankly.[6]

Walsh later emigrated to New Zealand, where he came out of retirement and played for Auckland side Eastern Suburbs.[7] On 10 August 1957, he also played for an Auckland XI in a friendly against Austria Wien. The team was captained by Ken Armstrong, a former England international while Ken Hough, an Australian who later played both football and cricket for New Zealand, played in goal. The Auckland XI beat Austria Wien 3–0. Austria Wien had previously put fourteen goals past the New Zealand national team in earlier games. [8] Walsh would also later play one unofficial game for New Zealand against a visiting English FA XI at the age of 40.[citation needed]

He then moved to Australia where he worked for the Norwich Union and coached both Melbourne Hakoah and Melbourne Hungaria. In 1967, he led the latter club to a Victorian Premier League and Australian Cup double.[3][9]

Irish international[edit]

When Walsh began his international career in 1944 there were, in effect, two Ireland teams, chosen by two rival associations. Both associations – the Northern Ireland-based IFA and the Republic of Ireland-based FAI – claimed jurisdiction over the whole of Ireland and selected players from the whole island. As a result, several notable Irish players from this era, including Walsh, played for both teams.

IFA XI[edit]

Between 1944 and 1948 Walsh played six times for the IFA XI. On 9 September 1944 he played for the IFA XI in an 8–4 defeat against a Combined Services XI at Windsor Park. This team was basically a Great Britain XI and featured, among others, Matt Busby, Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton and Stan Mortensen. [10] Walsh helped the IFA XI gain some respectable results, including a 2–0 win against Scotland on 4 October 1947, a 2–2 draw with England at Goodison Park on 5 November 1947 and a 2–0 win against Wales on 10 March 1948. He also played against England in a 6–2 defeat on 9 October 1948. He made his last appearance for the IFA XI on 17 November 1948 in a 3–2 defeat against Scotland.[11][12]

FAI XI[edit]

Between 1946 and 1950 Walsh also made 9 appearances for the FAI XI, making his FAI debut in a 1–0 defeat to England on 30 September 1946 at Dalymount Park. This was the first time the FAI XI had played against England. He was also a member of the FAI XI that defeated England 2–0 at Goodison Park, becoming the first non-British team to beat England at home. Walsh made his last appearance for the FAI XI on 10 May 1950 in a 5–1 defeat to Belgium.[13][14]



Manchester City


Melbourne Hungaria


  1. ^ Whalley, Mike (29 July 2006). "City legend Walsh dies, 85". Manchester Evening News. MEN Media. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Mum the word for young Billy". Manchester Evening News. MEN Media.
  3. ^ a b Ian Penney. "Maine Road Favourites: Where Are They Now". ISBN 9780750944106. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  4. ^ "Billy Walsh 'back in Manchester'". Match programme, Manchester City v Arsenal. 26 August 2006. p. 7.
  5. ^ Rollin, Jack (2005). Soccer at War: 1939 – 45. London: Headline Book Publishing. ISBN 0-7553-1431-X.
  6. ^ "City's past player-manager". This is Essex. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  7. ^ Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Bob Pearce (5 October 2005). "Soccer: When Auckland could thrash pride of Austria". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  9. ^ "A 25 Év Melbourne Hungária Soccer Club Történelem". 1916-11-21. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  10. ^ "England - War-Time/Victory Internationals - Details". Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  11. ^ Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "Statistics: Republic of Ireland [Powered by tplSoccerStats]". Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  14. ^ Sean Ryan. "The Boys in Green: The Fai International Story". ISBN 9781851589395. Retrieved 2016-01-27.