South Shields, County Durham born outside left Billy Kettle was an English Schools international who began his senior football career with Leeds City in 1918 during the First World War. With City having won the Midland Section war league tournament in the spring of 1918, and on the way to adding the Subsidiary title, Kettle was given a first team debut on 6th April at Bradford Park Avenue. He played outside left, a position that had troubled City all season, and was the ninth man to fill the role. City won the game 2-1 but Kettle joined the Army a week later, so never got the chance to follow up. The game was his only one for City’s senior side.
Kettle returned to his hometown club South Shields after he was demobbed and then signed for First Division Newcastle United in September 1919, but left without playing for their first team, joining Ebbw Vale in the 1920 close season. He signed for Third Division (South) club Southend United in July 1921, making his Football League debut at Brentford that September, and he was a regular in The Shrimpers’ 1921-22 line up, scoring twice in 33 appearances as they struggled towards the foot of the division.
He signed for Grimsby Town in June 1922 and scored 3 goals in 16 appearances before being sold to Southport for £200 in June 1923. He lasted less than a single season at Haig Avenue, scoring once in 22 appearances, before joining Wigan Borough in February 1924, and he played his last match for Borough in February 1926 before retiring, possibly through injury, after having scored 13 goals in 42 appearances.