Kilmarnock born centre forward Billy Barbour began his footballing career at Queen of the South Wanderers in 1887. Fans of the club were angry when he left to join Football League club Accrington in July 1888, and this led to the club being suspended by the Scottish Football Association for professionalism as Barbour had received groceries in lieu of payment. Barbour made his Football League debut at Derby County that September. Barbour scored his debut League goal on 29th September 1888 at Victoria Ground, the then home of Stoke, Barbour put Accrington 3-0 ahead of the home side early in the second half in a game they eventually won 4-2. Barbour top scored for Accrington in 1888-89 with 13 goals, and scored 36 goals in 60 appearances in two seasons at Thorneyholme Road and also having a brief loan spell with Sunderland Albion in 1888 and played his last game for Accrington in an FA Cup tie with Bolton Wanderers in January 1891, before brief spells with Lanemark and Stockton. Barbour then returned to Scotland to join Annbank later the same year.
He returned to Football League action joining Bury in July 1894, where he spent four seasons swapping between increasingly occasional performances in the forward line and the right back role. He played in Bury’s record victory, a 12-1 FA Cup victory over Stockton in February 1897 and scored 11 goals in 110 appearances for The Shakers before he joined Southern League Gravesend United in the summer of 1898. He left to join Millwall Athletic later the same year before rejoining Gravesend in 1899. Barbour worked as a dock labourer and played for Southern League Grays United in 1900, which was sadly his last season, as in June 1900 he died suddenly due to heart failure caused by chronic alcoholism, aged only 34.