Saltley, Birmingham born inside right or centre forward Billy Garraty played junior football for Highfield Villa in 1893, Lozells in 1894 and Aston Shakespeare in 1895 before joining First Division Aston Villa in August 1897, for whom he made his League debut for Aston Villa against Stoke in April 1898 but made just one other appearance that season. He remained a fringe player as Aston Villa won the League Championship the following year but played in the Sheriff of London Shield match against Queen’s Park in March 1899 (shared after a 0-0 draw) and scored his first Villa hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion the next month in a 7-1 drubbing.
Garraty became a first team regular in the 1899-1900 season as Aston Villa retained their League Championship title thanks to his 27 League goals – only Pongo Waring scored more in a single season for Villa. The total included 4 against Glossop and hat-tricks against Sunderland and Notts County and made him the League’s top marksman. He made two further Sheriff of London Shield appearances, both against The Corinthians, winning one match in 1901 but more famously scoring as Villa lost 2-1 in 1900.
Garraty went on to make 259 appearances for The Villains, scoring 112 goals, as well as helping his side to FA Cup success in the 1905 FA Cup Final with his Man of the Match display as Aston Villa beat Newcastle United 2-0 at The Crystal Palace. During his time at Villa he was regarded as one of the great utility players of the game in addition to his ability to score goals. Garraty was capped once by England appearing in a 2-1 victory over Wales at Fratton Park in March 1903, having also been selected for England’s the match against Ireland at Molineux the previous month, however he had been forced to withdraw.
In 1906 Garraty lost his place in the Villa line up and made only a handful of appearances thereafter before signing for Leicester Fosse in September 1908. Garraty had made only six appearances for The Fossils before returning to Birmingham to sign for Second Division club West Bromwich Albion in October 1908, where his 14 goals in his first season saw Albion finish third in the division, narrowly missing out on promotion. In two seasons at The Hawthorns he scored 23 goals in 59 appearances for The Baggies. He then joined Second Division club Lincoln City in November 1910, where he scored twice in 16 appearances in what was his final season before his retirement in 1911.
Garraty is the great-great-grandfather of England international Jack Grealish, who currently plays for Aston Villa.