Radcliffe, Lancashire born full back Billy Hampson started his football career with Woolfold Wesleyans in 1903 and Ramsbottom in 1904. He joined First Division club Bury in May 1906 and made his Football League debut for The Shakers against Preston North End in November 1907, but joined Lancashire Combination club Rochdale in 1908 after only 2 appearances. In 1909 he moved to Southern League club Norwich City before moving to Newcastle United for £1,250 in January 1914. However, before Hampson could properly settle at the club, World War One broke out and peacetime football was suspended, Hampson having made 18 appearances for The Toon. Hampson was determined to continue playing, and joined Leeds City as a guest player during the War, playing in 91 matches for The Peacocks between December 1916 and April 1919 and helping them to win the unofficial title of League Champions in 1918.
On the resumption of peacetime football, already aged 37, he returned to St James’ Park, where he stayed for another eight seasons, playing his last two games for Newcastle in April 1927 during their League Championship winning season, when, aged nearly 45 he made his only two appearances during the campaign. He did however play in their 1924 FA Cup Final victory over Aston Villa at Wembley becoming the oldest player ever to play in the Final at 41 years and 8 months.
He finally left Newcastle in the summer of 1927 for nearby non league club Scotswood before joining Second Division club South Shields in September 1927, making 25 appearances in 1927-28. Although he never played for the first team after that, he continued playing until March 1930, when he retired at the age of 47. Later that month, he took over as manager of lowly Carlisle United. His time at the club was largely unsuccessful as the team finished 15th and conceded 101 goals in his first campaign. However, he did unearth two footballing gems in Bill Shankly and Bob Batey, who went on to have excellent careers. He left the club in May 1933.
He had a short stint in charge of Ashington back in the north east before taking over from Dick Ray as manager of Leeds United in March 1935. They finished 18th at the end of his first season in charge. Hampson felt the team needed experienced players which prompted him to sign former England internationals, goalkeeper Albert McInroy and forward George Brown, in the summer. The signings did not prove to have a great effect on the club’s fortunes, but they consolidated their First Division status in the few years before the Second World War.
They avoided relegation by just two points in 1936-37. Hampson began to develop a lot of young players, leading to Leeds’ only Central League win that same season. He was also known for scouting Ireland for young players. His squad generally consisted of both youth and experience but by the team football officially restarted after the War, in 1946-47, these players were well past their best. Hampson stood by his pre-war squad which proved to be the downfall.
Leeds had a dreadful season, with only one point taken away from Elland Road and just six victories all year. They finished bottom with 18 points, 15 points away from safety. Hampson resigned soon after the relegation and was replaced by former Leeds player Willis Edwards in April 1947. Hampaon continued working at the club until October of that year as Chief Scout, before coaching in schools football. In total Hampson held the post of Leeds United manager for 12 years. However, as that period spanned the Second World War, he was only in charge for five seasons of official football.
Two younger brothers were also footballers, Walker played for Burnley, South Shields, Charlton Athletic, Hartlepools United and Chesterfield either side of the First World War, Tommy was a goalkeeper who played for West Ham United, Burnley, Darlington, Cardiff City and Notts County throughout the 1920’s.
NB in this image, most likely from the match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on 18th November 1922, which finished in a 1-0 victory to Newcastle, Tottenham captain Arthur Grimsdell is tackled by Newcastle right back Billy Hampson (note it could also be from the 1-1 draw at St James’ Park the following week).