Watson Billy Image 2 Huddersfield Town 1922

Watson Billy Image 2 Huddersfield Town 1922


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Bolton-on-Dearne, Yorkshire born left half Billy Watson started his football career with local junior club Bolton United in 1911 and joined Second Division club Huddersfield Town a year later, making his Football League debut at Preston North End in February 1913, his only appearance of his debut season. The following season he played a further 5 times, whereafter the onset of the First World War, which forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915, interrupted his career, but on the resumption of peacetime football in 1919, he was an established player for Town, missing only one League match in 1919-20 as they won promotion to the top flight as Second Division runners up, also playing for them in the 1920 FA Cup Final which they lost 1-0 to an extra time Billy Kirton goal for Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

Two years later Watson was part of the team that went one better beating Preston North End in the Final, also at Stamford Bridge, when in the Cup run he scored his solitary career goal in the 2-2 draw at Burnley in January 1922, with Huddersfield winning the replay 3-2 four days later. This was to be the first trophy under legendary manager Herbert Chapman after his appointment in April 1921, and Watson also played two weeks later as Huddersfield beat League Champions 1-0 in the FA Charity Shield at Old Trafford in May 1922.

Watson became a key part of Herbert Chapman’s hat-trick of League Championship successes of 1924, 1925 and 1926 when he missed only 3 matches across the three seasons. He remained a regular first team player until January 1927, when, probably due to injury, he played only once more at the end of February 1927 before retiring from the professional game after a single goal in 323 appearances.

His sons Willie and Albert Watson were both professional footballers. Willie Watson was the last England double football and cricket international, playing for Huddersfield Town, Sunderland and Halifax Town both sides of the Second World War. Albert Watson played for Huddersfield Town and Oldham Athletic both sides of the War.

NB in the photograph taken before the 1922 FA Cup Final, Watson watches as right winger George Richardson is presented to Prince Edward (later King Edward VIII) by Huddersfield Town captain Tom Wilson.

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