Matthews Billy Image 1 Bristol City 1922

Matthews Billy Image 1 Bristol City 1922


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Plas Benion, Denbighshire born centre half Billy Matthews had been with Colwyn Bay prior to the First World War, during which he took part in the Battle of the Somme. After signing for Liverpool in 1918 and having made 13 wartime appearances and scored eight goals in the 1918-19 season, Matthews made his official first team debut for Liverpool as a centre half in a 3-0 win over Derby County on 3rd April 1920. Matthews revealed to a reporter at the Derby Daily Telegraph: “Liverpool think I will make a centre half, but I know I never shall. It is not in my bones to play there!”. “Big, burly and boisterous” Billy Matthews played as a forward in his other eight appearances for the Reds, scoring 4 times in 7 matches at the start of the 1921-22 season, twice in the opening fixture with Manchester City in a 3-2 win followed by further strikes in narrow wins over Sunderland and Chelsea, yet didn’t get another chance to prove himself at Liverpool who went on to win the League Championship that season and the next.

He won his first Wales international cap in a 2-1 win against Ireland at The Vetch Field, Swansea, in April 1921.  Moving to Bristol City in March 1922 he played 12 games before the season close but couldn’t save them from being relegated later that Spring, only for City to bounce straight back as the club won Third Division (North) Championship with Matthews playing 29 League games, also winning a further cap for Wales. He wanted to move closer to his childhood home and joined Wrexham in November 1923 after a single goal in 44 appearances for The Robins.

His two seasons at Wrexham saw a single goal from the penalty spot in 65 appearances, Wrexham finishing 16th both seasons. He then drifted into non-league football in 1925 with Northwich Victoria but only spent four months in the Cheshire County League and went back into League football first with Barrow in November 1925, scoring once in 10 appearances, and subsequently at Bradford Park Avenue from January 1926 where he was awarded his third and final Welsh cap against Ireland in Belfast in February 1926. He made 114 appearances for Park Avenue scoring 5 goals and won Third Division (North) Championship with them in 1928 when he was ever present under their legendary manager George Turner Livingstone.

A short 4 game spell at Stockport County in late summer 1930 was ended with a move to New Brighton in October, and he scored once in 42 appearances before a move to Chester in January 1932. His 5 appearances for Chester between January and March proved his last Football League action, however he went on to play for a litany of non league clubs in Wales and the North West of England including Oswestry Town, Witton Albion, Sandbach Ramblers, Colwyn Bay Rossendale United and Llangollen, playing on until he was aged nearly 40, indeed in later life he was known for his incredible fitness, cycling until his nineties.

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