Wybunbury, Cheshire born outside right Billy Harrison had a remarkable football career. He started his career in local Cheshire football with Hough United, Crewe South End and Willaston White Star before he signed for Crewe Alexandra in 1906, then in the Birmingham & District League, and after a year at Crewe Second Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers paid £400 for his services in the summer of 1907, with Harrison making his Football League debut against West Bromwich Albion that September.
He soon established himself as a first team regular and played 7 cup ties as Wolves went all the way to the 1908 FA Cup Final in his first season, with Harrison scoring a fine individual goal to seal their shock 3-1 Cup Final victory over Newcastle United at The Crystal Palace (all four scorers’ surnames began with H!). He continued to play for Wolves as a fixture in their first eleven and was an ever present in their 1911-12 campaign, missing very few fixtures although Wolves were unable to return to the top flight, with a best finish of fourth in 1914-15, the final season before the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football.
During the War Harrison guested for Stoke City across all four wartime seasons scoring 17 goals in 99 appearances for The Potters, but returned to Molineux with the resumption of peacetime football and was again a regular during Wolves’ 1919-20 campaign, before joining First Division Manchester United in October 1920 after having scored 49 goals in 345 appearances for Wolves. He also twice represented The Football League while at Wolves.
He left Manchester United after they were relegated in 1922 having scored 5 times in 46 matches, joining Port Vale for the 1922-23 season, where he scored twice in 22 games. He enjoyed a positive start to the 1922-23 campaign, scoring the only goal of the game against former club Manchester United at The Old Recreation Ground. He was a first-team regular until an ankle injury in October 1922 put him out of action until January 1923. Already aged 36, Vale sold him to Wrexham for £300 in June 1923, he played 31 matches for them in what proved his final season before his retirement in 1924 aged 38.
In 2009 Harrison was inducted into the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Hall of Fame.
NB this image, published in 1920, shows Harrison in a Wolverhampton Wanderers shirt sporting his Edwardian style parted hair. The likelihood is that this photograph was taken earlier than 1912.