Ryhope, Sunderland born outside left Owen Williams started his football career in 1913 with Ryhope Colliery and had trials with Sunderland and Manchester United, also playing for Easington Colliery Welfare in 1915. After the First World War he made his name at Second Division club Clapton Orient, whom he joined in July 1919, making his Football League debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers that September, and for whom he scored 35 goals in 170 games over the next five seasons, Williams missing only two matches as they finished seventh in the division in 1920-21.
His quality led him to international selection, he made his England debut against Ireland at The Hawthorns in October 1922 and won a further cap the following March against Wales in Cardiff. He also represented the Football Association on their 1926 Tour of Canada.
He signed for First Division club Middlesbrough for £3,000 in February 1924. Although he couldn’t help save them from relegation in 1924, he was part of the team that won the Second Division Championship in 1927, and after their immediate relegation, again in 1929. He lost his place in the autumn of 1929, and, having scored 42 goals in 194 matches over six years at ‘Boro, he finished his professional career with a season at Southend United in 1930-31 who bought him for £250 in July 1930, where he scored 4 times in 16 matches before joining non league club Shildon in September 1931.
His younger brother Tommy Williams also played with him for Clapton Orient as well as for a variety of other clubs in the 1920’s and 30’s.