Whitburn, County Durham born right back Billy Henderson played for junior club Whitburn in 1918 before joining Southern League Brighton & Hove Albion in 1919, from where he joined Third Division (South) Aberdare Athletic, making his Football League debut in their inaugural League fixture against Portsmouth in August 1921, playing 19 League games in Aberdare’s first ever season in the Football League, scoring twice. He left Aberdare mid-way through the season to join West Ham United in a £650 transfer in January 1922 to replace the injured Jack Hebden and was part of the West Ham team that won promotion to the First Division the following season.
He also appeared in the famous 1923 “White Horse” Final, the first FA Cup Final to be held at the brand new Wembley Stadium in front of at least 200,000 spectators, but they were beaten 2-0 by Bolton Wanderers. He was an ever present for The Hammers during the 1923-24 season and missed only one game for West Ham during 1924-25. He was both selected for The Football Association XI v The Army and he won the FA Charity Shield playing for The Professionals v The Amateurs during those two seasons.
However with further honours beckoning his participation reduced sharply from early 1926 due to a bad knee injury and he retired because of ill health after the 1928-29 season, having played 183 times for The Hammers and having scored once for them, his goal being scored against his former club Aberdare in a 5-0 win in the FA Cup in January 1924 during his ever present season. Henderson was only 34 years old when he died from tuberculosis in 1934.
NB in the photograph taken during the 1923 FA Cup semi final, which West Ham won beating Derby County 5-2 at Stamford Bridge, Henderson clears the ball under challenge from Derby winger George Thornewell. Note that this photograph is sometimes attributed as George Kay, but photo comparison suggests it is almost certainly Billy Henderson.