Born in Shrewsbury, full back Bill “WJ” Oakley was captain of Shrewsbury School before going to Oxford University in 1893. He represented The Corinthians from 1894 to 1903, playing 121 games and scoring once for them, after which he played for The Casuals. Oakley was an assured defender who’s peak years for the club were the 1898-99 season and the 1899-1900 season, during which, he rarely missed a match.
He was first capped by England in March 1895 when he played in a 1-1 draw with Wales at The Queen’s Club, Kensington. He won 16 caps for England, his last appearance coming in March 1901 in a 2-2 draw with Scotland at The Crystal Palace, and he captained England once, in a 3-0 win over Ireland at The Dell earlier the same month.
He was also President of the Oxford University Athletic Club in 1895, representing the University between 1893 and 1896, winning the AAA long jump in 1894 and representing England against USA in 1895 doing the long jump and in the 120 yard hurdles, he also appeared in the trial eights. Oakley also rowed for Shrewsbury, and played in the Christ Church lawn tennis team, fives, weight-putting and hammer-throwing, as well as golf.