Silksworth, County Durham born left half Billy Marsden began his football career immediately after the First World War playing for Silksworth Colliery and Wearside League club Ryhope before joining First Division Sunderland in October 1920, making his Football League debut at Derby County in March 1921 as an inside left. He didn’t play again for Sunderland’s first eleven until September 1923, when he scored in a 4-1 defeat at Manchester City and again in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur a week later, before leaving Roker Park to join Sheffield Wednesday in May 1924.
In his first season at Hillsborough he was used in the forward line before being converted to left half in April 1925, and he was an ever present in Wednesday’s line up both the following season as they won the Second Division Championship and in their first season back in the top flight in 1926-27. After missing a third of their matches in 1927-28, he was again an ever present in 1928-29 as Sheffield Wednesday won the League Championship, and in November 1929 he was first selected for England, when he played in a 6-0 thrashing of Wales at Stamford Bridge.
He was then selected for England’s 5-2 win over Scotland at Wembley in April 1930 shortly before Wednesday retained their League Championship, and also made an appearance for The Football League, however when playing in his third international against Germany in Berlin on England’s summer tour the following month, he suffered a spinal injury in a first half collision with Roy Goodall. He remained in a Berlin Hospital for over a month, and although he recovered enough fitness to feature in five Sheffield Wednesday reserve team matches the following season, he was involved in another collision playing against Stoke City reserves in December 1930 and was forced to retire after 9 goals in 221 appearances for The Owls, the FA dutifully paying him £750 compensation for his injury and also £2,000 to Sheffield Wednesday.
Marsden moved to The Hague and became manager of HBS Craeyenhout in December 1931, remaining their manager until he returned to England to become Gateshead’s trainer in July 1934, but resigned that December when overlooked for the manager’s position. He then returned to HBS Craeyenhout before joining Be Quick 1887 of Groningen as their manager in 1936, becoming manager of Hermes-DVS in 1938, also assisting the coaching at The Netherlands Football Association. He became the part-time manager of Doncaster Rovers in April 1944, resigning two years later as Rovers wanted to take on a full time manager ahead of the resumption of peacetime football. He was also later manager of Yorkshire League club Worksop Town.