“An excellent goalscorer throughout his career, with his dashing moustache, Billy was industrious, never-say-die utility forward, He could also play at right-half and centre-half, giving service from both positions and it has been said that he was one of the first great utility players. However, Billy always preferred to be ‘up front’ looking to score goals, and he did just that on a regular basis throughout his long career.”
Billy Garraty joined Aston Villa in August 1897 as an 18 year old after impressing in local football with Ashted Swifts, Highfield Villa, Lozells and Aston Shakespeare.
Aston Villa were without doubt the most successful football team in the land and certainly during the 1890’s. As Philip Gibbons pointed out in Association Football in Victorian England: “Aston Villa had twice won the League Championship, as well as the FA Cup, during the three previous seasons, with a team generally acknowledged as the finest in the land.” Prior to signing for the Villians, Aston Villa had previously won the Division One Title in 1895-1896 along with and the F.A.Cup and Division One Double – in 1896-1897.
It could be said that the loss of three key players (Johnny Campbell, Jack Reynolds & Howard Spencer) were an important factor why Villa could only manage to finish 6th in the Division One League Table, along with being eliminated early from the FA Cup (Saturday 29th January 1898) in the first round away to Derby County. Billy, who was still a teenager at the time, only played two games during that disappointing season.
The following 1898 – 1899 season saw Billy get his chance to state his case for a more regular place in the Villa first team. Aston Villa were back in form and Billy Garraty scored a very promising 6 goals in just 9 games.
On November 26th 1898 Billy was part of the legendary abandoned game between Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa. Billy was said to be the Football Leagues first substitute read more here.
However it was 1899 – 1900 that saw Billy Garraty get into the record books with his 27 goals in 33 games league games not only make him the countries leading goalscorer that year, but he scored more goals in the game anywhere in world football that season. See Here
In addition, his goalscoring feat of 1899 – 1900 make Billy Garraty second in the list of the most league goals scored in a single season for Aston Villa – right up to this day.
In 1903 Billy won his only full international cap v Wales more info here
Blackburn Rovers 0 v Aston Villa 3 League Division 1 – 9th April 1904 Billy was on the score sheet for Aston Villa.
1905 saw Aston Villa beat Newcastle United in the F.A. final 2-0 with Billy Garraty being awarded the Man of Match see more
Preston North End 2 Aston Villa 0 – League Div 1 – 11th Nov 1905. Billy is last in line out of the changing rooms for the villa with his trade mark moustache.
On leaving Villa he had amassed 111 goals which today makes him the 8th highest goalscorers in the club’s history.
Villa’s all time top 10 goalscorers :
- 244 Billy Walker
- 242 Harry Hampton
- 186 John Devey
- 170 Eric Houghton
- 167 Pongo Waring
- 144 Johnny Dixon
- 120 Peter McParland
- 111 Billy Garraty
- 100 Dai Astley
- 100 Len Capewell
During his time at Aston Villa Billy was widely regarded as one the great utility players of the game and without doubt had he been an out and out striker for the club he would have scored a lot more goals.
On leaving Aston Villa Billy joined Leicester Fosse but only played 6 games for them. See Leicester Fosse stats. However, Billy’s career was far from over and his 59 appearances for West Bromwich Albion yielded an impressive 22 goals.
After finishing his football career at Lincoln City see here, Billy Returned very briefly to Aston Villa as a trainer ( April – May 1913 ) and in April 1915 fell seriously ill with pneumonia.
Francis junior or Frank Garraty was also a very good footballer who played for England B team as is was in them days see here
Billy Garraty’s Personal Life
William “ Billy “ Garraty William Garraty was Born to Francis (born 1853) and Matilda (nee Holmes) on 6th October 1878 in a back to back property at the rear of Number 30 Dollman Street, Aston, ( now days comes under the district of Nechells ) Birmingham. Registered as GARATY in Aston, December 1878.
He was Baptised on the 23rd October at St James’ the less Aston
William (Billy) Garraty’s Birth Certificate
A census in 1881 shows the following: Street address: 2 Bk 30 Dollman St. Registration district: Aston. Sub-registration district: Duddeston. ED, institution, or vessel: 15
Household Members: Name Age
Ann M. Garrity 7
Ann M. Garrity 10
Emma Garrity 51
Esther M. Garrity 29
Francis Garrity 28
Francis W. Garrity 4
William Garrity 2 (Billy)
In the 1881 Census William Garraty’s (Garrity in census)) Father Frank is listed as an “Engine Fitter” by trade.
You will notice that the census spellings of the time differ greatly. The sir names are often spelt differently and the reason for this can be explained here http://bit.ly/1GdWOFk
According to the 1891 census, William has one more younger brother, making him the middle child of five. They live at 5 Bridge (indecipherable) Road in Aston.
Billy had 7 siblings who were all listed on the 1901 Census whilst the family lived at No 19 Hall Rd, Saltley, Birmingham ironically maybe 50 mtrs from his final resting place 30 years later. The census shows Francis ( Father ) 48 Matilda ( Mother ) 47 Annie 27 Frank 24 William 22 Lily 20 George 18 Edith 15 Florence 13 Beatrice 9 Unfortunately for the family Matilda died later on in the year on 10/12/1901 aged 48 after a long illness (source Birmingham Daily Mail). Sometime after this date, Billy married Annie Shufflebotham on 4th April 1908 at St Nicholas Church in Kings Norton (registered in Kings Norton June 1908.) Address stated as 279 Franklin Road and vocation stated as professional footballer. Annie lived at 81 Ellesmere Road in Saltley.
According to the 1901 census, William, along with seven other footballers are visiting Blackpool and staying at the Station Hotel on Talbot Road, Blackpool.
His family home i listed at 19 Hall Road in Aston, where he is also stated as being a professional footballer on the census return. His father is now a railway engineer. Again his sir name is spelt differently on the census.
In the 1911 census, William is now married to Annie and has a daughter a daughter – Doris (Born 1910) who was apparently born upstairs in the Ye Olde Green Man in Bromford Lane in the Erdington area of Aston according to my Mother. Doris is listed on the census at 9 months old, along with William Age 32 Licensed Victualler, Annie 29 and Edith (Billy’s sister) listed as Barmaid Age 25.
Billy was now the Landlord of the “Old Green Man” public house see above which is apparently the oldest building still standing in Birmingham and is called the “Lad In The Lane” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lad_in_the_Lane.
He was also registered to No 17 Alleyene Rd, Erdington, Birmingham in the 1912/13 Register of Electors.
Billy married Annie Shufflebotham on 4th April 1908 at St Nicholas Church in Kings Norton (registered in Kings Norton June 1908.)
Address stated as 279 Franklin Road and vocation stated as professional footballer. Annie lived at 81 Ellesmere Road in Saltley. At the time of the census Billy is a licensed victualler or pub landlord as it is know today see https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/victualler
Billy Returned very briefly to Aston Villa as a trainer ( April – May 1913 ) and in April 1915 fell seriously ill with pneumonia
Billy had 8 children as follows: Muriel, Nelly, Doris, Gwen, Fred ( Jack to his family) Eileen (Lillian to the Family) Cecil and Eric. Misfortune struck when Billy’s wife died shortly after the birth of the youngest child. As a result my Grandmother Eileen (Lillian) lived at the Villa Tavern next to Villa Park with one Billy’s siblings she was apparently around 14 years of age when she arrived there.
At the time of his death Billy Garraty was living at 22 Brookhill Road, Alum Rock, Birmingham, which is still standing (photo coming soon). According to Midlands Electoral Records, William and Annie were living at 22 Brookhill Road in Erdington from at least 1920 until his death in 1931. He died at 77 Dudley Road, Birmingham aged 52 years 212 days (registered in Birmingham North june 1931) of Pneumonia.
Billy was buried in the family grave at St Saviour’s Church in Saltley, Birmingham which ironically looks over to 19 Hall Road, from the main entrance. Whilst carrying out extensive research into the location of the family grave I have established that it was totally destroyed by German bombers who were targeting the nearby Saltley rail sidings. As a result of perhaps a stray bomb, the Church graveyard was hit around 1940/41. I have arrived at this date as research shows that there were bombings in nearby Ash Road and two houses bombed which resulted in fatalities. 19/11/40 (no.153) and 10/4/41(no.53).
As a result of the direct hit, a massive crater was left embedded into the cemetery grounds (next to the vicarage) along with one of the large ornate stain glass windows being blown out.