Bedlington, Northumberland born wing half Billy Hardy started with local club Bedlington United before joining Scottish League Heart of Midlothian in 1909, making his debut the following April and making 5 appearances during 1910 for The Jambos. He joined Second Division Stockport County making his Football League debut at Leeds City in April 1911, his only Stockport appearance before moving to Wales to join Southern League Cardiff City that summer for a fee of £25, which was paid by manager Fred Stewart, and it was there his career flourished. He spent an amazing 21 years in South Wales, playing for Cardiff either side of World War One in The Southern League, he was a mainstay of the first eleven for the next decade before Cardiff joined the Football League in 1920. He featured in their inaugural match in the Football League at his former side Stockport County, and he was the club’s only ever-present player in the inaugural 1920-21 season. Incredibly Hardy continued to be virtually ever-present in the following decade for the Bluebirds, including both of their FA Cup final appearances in 1925 and 1927. Instantly recognisable – he was stocky and practically bald from an early age – he played his last ever game for Cardiff in March 1932 in a 1-0 win over Gillingham at the age of 41 and when he left the club he had played in a total of 585 first team games, of which 398 appearances were during the Football League era (he also scored 7 goals throughout the 1920’s). Hardy’s long career with Cardiff established him as a hero in the town. Described by a local newspaper as “the idol of all South Wales,” it was said that when he appeared on a newsreel shown in Cardiff cinemas, the audience cheered for 10 minutes. Despite his unquestionable ability Hardy was never selected for the England national football team. It was often thought he was denied an international cap because he played for a Welsh team. He later spent two years from 1934 to 1936 as manager of Bradford Park Avenue, having joined them as a player coach in 1932 but he never appeared for their first eleven.