Golborne, Lancashire born centre forward Billy Hibbert started in junior football with Golborne Juniors in 1902, joining Newton-le-Willows in 1903 and Brynn Central in 1905. He joined First Division Bury in May 1906 making his Football League debut against Middlesbrough in September 1906, scoring in each of his first four League appearances. In 1907-08 he topped Bury’s goalscoring charts with 20 goals including hat-tricks against Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End. His 29 goals in 1908-09 kept Bury in the top flight, and included all 4 goals as Bury beat Sunderland in September 1908 and a hat-trick as they beat Notts County the same month. His prolific goalscoring continued with 21 goals in 1909-10 including trebles against Middlesbrough and Tottenham Hotspur, and his 19 goals in 1910-11 featured a hat-trick against Manchester City. He topped Bury’s goalscoring for four consecutive seasons.
Hibbert won his first (and only official) England cap when he played against Scotland at Hampden Park, Glasgow in April 1910. He also toured South Africa that summer with an FA XI scoring a hat-trick in an unofficial 3-0 “Test Match” win over the host’s international team. He also represented The Football League on 3 occasions.
In October 1911 Newcastle United paid a record £1,950 fee for his services after 105 goals in 188 games for The Shakers. Two months later he scored his only hat-trick for Newcastle in a 5-2 demolition of Bolton Wanderers. He played for Newcastle both sides of the First World War, during which he guested for Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds City, scoring 49 goals in 155 appearances for the Tyneside club, before First Division Bradford City signed him in May 1920 on a free transfer.
His two seasons at Valley Parade produced another 28 goals in 59 appearances, including another hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers in September 1921 and all 4 goals in a 4-0 win over Huddersfield Town in April 1922, however his 13 goals in 1921-22 couldn’t save them from relegation. Oldham Athletic signed him in May 1922, and he made 17 appearances, scoring 4 goals, as Oldham, like Bradford City the season before, were relegated from the First Division. After which, like many at the time, he took the boat to the United States, where he featured in the nascent American Soccer League with The Fall River Marksmen and J&P Coats. After returning in 1929, having a spell coaching Wigan Borough, Hibbert became captain of non league Burscough Rangers in February 1930, already aged 45.
His brother in law, Joe Shaw, captained Arsenal and played over 300 times for them.