Netherton, Worcestershire born centre forward (and from 1906 centre half) Billy Wooldridge began his football career with Netherton St Mary’s in 1896 and played for Dudley Royal in 1896, Cradley Heath St Luke’s in 1897 and Wednesbury Old Athletic during its successful 1899-1900 campaign, and was a key member of the side that won the Walsall & District League Championship, the Staffordshire Junior Cup and the Walsall Junior Cup, as well as being beaten finalists in the Wolverhampton Junior Cup. He scored both goals in the Walsall Cup success v Wednesbury St John’s, and scored the decisive second goal in a victory over Hednesford Swifts on the last day of the season, which enabled Wednesbury to take the title, finishing a point ahead of Hednesford Town.
He joined First Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 1900, making his Football League debut on Boxing Day in a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. He scored two in his second game to give the club victory over their Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, scoring another half a dozen goals before the end of the season, following it up with 13 goals in 1901-02 and 19 goals in 1903-04. He stayed with them when they were relegated to the Second Division in 1906 although increasingly began to play at centre half, starting with 14 matches between September and December 1906, taking over the position permanently from November 1907.
He was Wolves’ leading goalscorer four times in his first six seasons at Molineux, scoring a total of 88 goals in 356 appearances during his Wolves career in 11 seasons at Molineux. He also scored a hat-trick for The Football League in a 9-0 win over The Irish League in an inter-league friendly at The Manor Ground, Woolwich Arsenal’s home stadium, in November 1901 and four for England in an unofficial international against Germany in a 10-0 win on 25th September 1901. In addition he scored a hat-trick for Wolves when they beat Derby County 7-0 in April 1906.
In 1907 he was described as “an accomplished player, skilful in dribbling and accurate in passing. Very powerful shot and has scored many goals for his club.” He became Wolves’ club captain and captained them to their 1908 FA Cup triumph, when they upset First Division Newcastle United 3-1 in the Final at The Crystal Palace and he remained a regular in Wolves’ line up for a further three seasons. In July 1911 he joined Southern League club Croydon Common and scored once in 14 appearances for The Commoners before his retirement in 1912.