True Huddersfield Town legendary outside left WH “Billy” Smith was one of the classic Huddersfield stalwarts in their great teams of the 1920’s. Born in Tanfield, County Durham, he is one of Huddersfield’s all-time leading goalscorers with 126 goals from the wing in his Huddersfield career between 1913 and 1934 in 575 games.
He started his football career with junior clubs West Stanley Seniors in 1910, Hobson Welfare in 1911 and Tantobie in 1912 before joining Second Division Huddersfield Town in October 1913, making his Football League debut for Town against Hull City on Christmas Day 1913. Having established himself in the first team by the start of the 1914-14 season, his career was then interrupted by the First World War. After the War he went on to play a further 15 seasons for Huddersfield Town.
Having helped Huddersfield to promotion from the Second Division as runners up in 1919-20, he scored Huddersfield’s winning goal in the 1922 FA Cup Final against Preston North End as well as being a losing finalist in 1920, 1928 and 1930. He won the League Championship under Herbert Chapman three times in a row from 1924 to 1926 and was a runner up three times. Indeed in 14 full seasons at Leeds Road with Smith in the side they only finished outside the top 8 on 4 occasions in the First Division.
He also won three caps for England winning his first two in March and April 1922, his debut a win over Wales at Anfield followed by a defeat to Scotland at Villa Park, then he was recalled to win a third cap 6 years later when he was part of the England team dismantled 5-1 by Scotland’s Wembley Wizards. In addition to his England caps he represented The Football League on four occasions.
He was also the first person ever to score direct from a corner. He later became player manager of Rochdale in July 1934 after leaving Town, having amassed FOUR benefits in his time at Leeds Road, he only played 4 times for Rochdale aged 39 but still managed a couple of goals. He remained Rochdale’s manager until November 1935 but will be remembered for far more lingering achievements.
He and his son Conway Smith, playing for Huddersfield, Queen’s Park Rangers and Halifax Town in the ’40’s, ’50’s and ’60’s, were the first father and son to score 100 goals each. His grandson Robert played in the last ever match at the Leeds Road ground before it was demolished.