Runcorn, Cheshire born left or centre half Bill Hayes played junior football for Halton Juniors from 1935 before signing for Third Division (North) club Oldham Athletic in January 1937, making his Football League debut against Hartlepools United in January 1939, playing at left half, immediately establishing himself in The Latics’ first eleven. He had made 24 first team appearances when, like so many others, his football career was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. After the War he returned to Boundary Park in 1946, making 11 appearances in their first post war season before finding his role in the team at centre half in 1947-48, when he made 40 appearances during their campaign missing only 4 matches, also becoming club captain.
Described as “Equally at home in any half back position… Never showy, Bill lets nothing slip and it takes a good player to get the better of him. A good captain and a mighty tough player”, he made his last of 136 appearances for The Latics in November 1950, scoring 3 times, and he then joined Cheshire County League club Mossley in 1951 before his eventual retirement.