Cambuslang, Lanarkshire born centre forward Billy Boyd played junior football for Regent Star in 1922 and Rutherglen Glencairn in 1923 before joining Royal Albert in 1924, moving to Larkhall Thistle in 1925 where he scored over 200 goals in junior football before joining Clyde in 1930. In his first season at Clyde Boyd scored five goals in a Scottish Cup tie against Leith Athletic on 17th January 1931 and he established a fearsome goalscoring record. He currently holds Clyde’s record for the most goals scored in a season with 32 goals in the 1932-33 season.
His form at Clyde led to representative honours. Boyd made two appearances for Scotland, both in on their European end of season tour of 1931. His international debut came in a 3-0 defeat to Italy at the Stadio Nazionale, Rome on 20th May 1931. This was followed by a second, and final, appearance against Switzerland at the Stade Des Charmilles, Geneva, four days later. The match was won 3-2, with Boyd scoring the second of Scotland’s three goals. He also represented The Scottish League three times between October 1931 and September 1933, all against The Irish League, scoring 3 goals in those matches.
In December 1933, he was transferred to Sheffield United, making his Football League debut at Derby County the same month. At Bramall Lane Boyd was a regular starter, making 23 appearances in his first season in the First Division. However, his 16 goals, including a hat-trick in a 5-1 win in the Steel City derby over rivals Sheffield Wednesday in March 1934 were not enough to save The Blades from relegation, as they finished bottom in the League. Boyd stayed with the club as they went into the Second Division, and scored another 15 goals in 20 appearances.
His goalscoring prowess was noticed by Manchester United, who signed him in February 1935. However, his tenure at Old Trafford only lasted a few months, scoring 4 goals in 6 games, and he was sold on to Workington in September of the same year. He moved back to the Football League in December 1935 when he was signed by Luton Town. There, he scored a creditable 11 goals in only 13 appearances, before moving on to Southampton in the close season of 1936.
By the time he arrived at The Dell he was past his prime. According to Holley & Chalk, “he was renowned for having an erratic temperament (so) it was not surprising that his sojourn at the Dell was short”. He made his debut on the opening day of the 1936-37 season, playing alongside fellow new signing Jimmy Dunne and Saints’ stalwart Arthur Holt, but he failed to live up to expectations and by January had lost his place to Dick Neal. In his brief Southampton career, he scored 7 goals in 19 games, before moving on to non league Weymouth in August 1937, and then rejoining Workington in 1938, finally playing for Nuneaton Borough in 1939 before his retirement with the outbreak of the Second World War.