Woodley William Image 1 Millwall 1921

Woodley William Image 1 Millwall 1921


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Bromley-by-Bow, London born left back William Woodley joined (as it was then) Southern League club Millwall Athletic in 1912 and soon became their regular left back. Most notably he was part of the giant killing team that knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge in January 1914, but his career was then interrupted by the onset of the First World War which forced the suspension of peacetime football in May 1915.

During the First World War Woodley played Army football while serving with The Grenadier Guards, but he returned to Cold Blow Lane once peacetime football resumed in 1919, and when Millwall were founders of the new Third Division in 1920 Woodley made his Football League debut at Northampton Town that September and played 33 matches in their inaugural League season. His last match was at Norwich City in February 1922, it’s possible that he was forced to retire due to injury. In total he made 52 appearances during Millwall’s first two League seasons.

It’s also a strong possibility that he was the elder brother of Chelsea and England goalkeeper Vic Woodley. There is a strong resemblance and Vic Woodley was the youngest of 12 children. William was approximately 13 years older than Vic.

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