Concept

Billy Walker (footballer, born 1897)

Summary
William Henry Walker (29 October 1897 – 28 November 1964) was a prominent English footballer of the 1920s and 1930s. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest footballers to ever play for Aston Villa and England. As a manager he won the FA Cup with each of Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest, some 24 years apart, a record which stands to this day. Billy Walker was born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire. His father George Walker had played professional football for Wolves and Crystal Palace. His teenage years saw him play for a number of football clubs at junior level, starting at Hednesford Town in 1912. He went onto play for Fallings Heath, Darlaston, Wednesbury Old Park and Wednesbury Old Athletic. In 1915 he was signed by Aston Villa on a part-time contract, signing professional forms after the first world war in May 1919. Walker made his senior debut in January 1920 in the FA Cup, scoring twice as Villa won 2-1 in the first round against non-league side Queens Park Rangers. He played in five more FA Cup games, scoring another three, helping Aston Villa reach the FA Cup Final, against second division Huddersfield Town. An extra time winner at Stamford Bridge by Billy Kirton saw Walker become an FA Cup winner in his debut season. Walker also scored 8 league goals in 15 matches at the back end of the 1919-20 season, including a hat-trick against Newcastle United, as Villa ended the first season after the first world war in ninth place. On the opening day of the 1920-21 season he scored 4 goals as Villa beat Arsenal 5-0. In November 1921, Walker became the first player to score a hat-trick of penalty kicks in a first division match, the second ever after William McAulay for Walsall in 1900, doing so in a 7–1 win against Bradford City. Walker is one of ten players to score this rare hat-trick in a league game – five more in cup games – only matched later in the top flight by Charlie Mitten (Man Utd 1950) and Ken Barnes (Man City 1957). Walker would score 26 goals this season which would be his best in the league and also 4 in the FA Cup.
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