Born in Padiham, Lancashire, left half Billy Bradshaw began his career with Padiham in 1901 and joined Accrington Stanley in 1902, for whom he appeared in an FA Cup tie at Manchester United in November 1902. He joined Blackburn Rovers in April 1903 for a fee of £20, making his Football League debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers that September.
He spent 17 years at the club, scoring 39 goals in 426 appearances. Bradshaw was extremely adept at joining the attack and was referred to in one report as “being as good as having a sixth forward”; he was also an expert penalty taker notching 19 spot kicks.
Bradshaw made his international debut in a 1-1 draw against Ireland at The Solitude, Belfast in February 1910, and earned a total of four England caps between then and March 1913. He also represented The Football League on four occasions. During his time at the Ewood Park club, he helped them win the Football League Championship in 1912 and 1914. He also played in their 1911 and 1912 FA Cup semi final teams, winning the FA Charity Shield when Rovers beat Queen’s Park Rangers 2-1 at White Hart Lane in May 1912.
After the First World War he returned to Ewood Park and made a further 24 appearances in the first post war season, 1919-20. In April 1920, he was released by Blackburn to become player-manager of Rochdale, but left that position in September of the same year.