Poolsbrook, Derbyshire born inside right or right half Billy Beer played for Staveley Town and Poolsbrook United before joining Sheffield United in 1896 as an amateur without making their first eleven. Originally an inside right, he joined Chesterfield Town in 1897 but returned to Bramall Lane a year later, making his Football League debut against Newcastle United in September 1898. He scored in both the 1899 FA Cup semi final replay win over Liverpool and in the FA Cup Final where Sheffield United beat Derby County 4-1 at The Crystal Palace.
An ever present for The Blades in 1899-1900 he found the net 15 times and was their top goalscorer, netting a hat-trick in a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in October 1899. From 1900 he increasingly appeared at right half, but he lost his place in the team in 1901 and moved to Small Heath (now Birmingham City) in February 1902 after 25 goals in 89 appearances, but although he couldn’t help save them from relegation at the end of the season, they were promoted back to the top flight as Second Division runners up at the first attempt in 1903-04.
At Birmingham he played nine seasons, and was an ever present in 1906-07. He continued to play for them after their relegation in 1908, playing his last match in October 1909 having scored 35 goals in 250 appearances for The Blues. After emigrating to Australia he returned to England in 1920 and became Birmingham’s manager in May 1923, a position he held until March 1927.
NB in the photograph, taken at a match between Birmingham and Sheffield United at Muntz Street in September 1905, Beer challenges Sheffield United’s left winger Bert Lipsham.