Billy Dinsdale debuted for Aston Villa against Arsenal in 1925 in front of over 60,000 flat caps with the woodbines puffing into the Easter Skies. Five appearances later the season ended along with his dreams, wafting like a puff of smoke so to speak. Despite spending most of his time in their reserves big brutal Bill still hammered in the goals and made the odd first team appearance the following season, but he was seen as lacking the necessary finesse for the First Division according to legendary manager George Ramsay. The Beast of the Bank would crack 103 goals in 136 appearances and illustrate that a beast can be just as popular as a bonny beauty.
Aston Villa paid a ‘handsome fee’ for a lad that had bagged 42 goals in 35 games for Crook Town and he was a regular for the final 5 games of the season. He got just three more opportunities as manager George Ramsay felt he hust did not have the fitness to go with his bravery. Ramsay, did know a thing or two, for he had been manager of Villa for 42 years winning 6 FA Cups and 6 Division One championships, but in 1926 he sold him, indeed it was one of the last things he did at Villa Park Horace Henshall, his Lincoln counterpart, on the other hand, was a man in hurry and not one for airs and graces. After just three spy missions at the end of the 25/26 season the Imps made a small undisclosed bid and thus we signed our fifth highest League scorer and fourth highest overall scorer, of all time. Only 4 Imps have broken 100 goals in all competitions and Dinsdale did it in just 127. He would finish top scorer in each of his four seasons at the Bank and bag 103 goals from 133 appearances. The great Billy Dinsdale was also in our elusive 20-goal club in each of those four seasons.
A shy and very private man off the field Billy was a man mountain on it. The strong athletic Dinsdale was a true beast of the Imps with a bullet header and a shot like a cannon ball, offering raw strength, aggression and work rate as opposed to the prettier side of the game. He scored on his debut againstSouthportbut after 3 blanks was dropped for Harry Andrews. Having hammered in the goals for the reserves Horace Henshall was forced to bring him back into the side in early December to save hisLincolnshirebacon (Henshall was replaced by Harry Parkes at the end of the season). He did not disappoint hammering 25 goals in the next 27 League and Cup games. He also scored 4 (2 with his head and 2 with his right peg) in a 5-0 win overDurhamCityin April 1927.
Billy finished as leading scorer again in 1927/28 with 29 goals as we narrowly failed to failed to get promotion finishing second. He bagged 6 braces against Crewe, Barrow x 2, Accrington, Rochdale and Wrexham as well as netting the winner in a 2-1 over Champions Bradford Park Avenue in front of 9785. He would net. The following season they would return to buy him in the March with the City board only to happy to get their hands on a much needed £1500, despite home gates of 16,000 gate in the cup against Leicester and 10,000 against Wrexham. We would finish 6th as a consequence though not before Billy hit a hat trick against Hartlepool and 6 braces. He helped himself to two healthy portions over Christmas getting 5 in 2 days against the monkey hangers on Christmas and Boxing Day. He was back in the May when having failed to fit as Imps manager Harry Parks stole him back for £250 – or rather a tenner a goal.
He duly banged in 25 from 36 appearances in the 1930/31 season including two Hat tricks against Barrow andCarlisleplus a Barrow brace. With the Imps leading the Division for the whole season a draw and a home defeat to Rotherham saw the city empty and head over to rivals for the crown Chesterfield. We lost 2-3 with Billy scoring once as we were leapfrogged for top and Billy hung up his hanging up his boots and returned to the North East as the Imps became Champions the following season with a new hero.
Billy meanwhile settled back in Darlington and worked in the fitting shop of Stephenson’s Locomotives for many years. Sadly he suffered from ill health in later years and was a shadow of the powerful athletic figure of his youth, crippled by arthritis he could hardly straighten his back. Billy died aged 80 on 21st February 1984.
LCFC career record :
Apps : 136 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 103
LCFC Football League record :
Apps : 126 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 89
Debut : 28/08/1926, Southport (h) 1-1, FL Division 3N (Scored)
Last Game : 02/05/1931Wigan Borough (a) 1-0, FL Division 3N
Season 1926/1927 : Div 3 N.
Apps : 27 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 25
Braces;Coventry, Bradford PA,Rotherham
Highest Gate 7861 V Stoke (1-3)
Typical gate 5,300 with 4 over 7K, 6 over 6K,
Season 1927/1928 : Div 3 N
Apps : 43 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 29
Braces Crewe, Barrow x 2, Accrington,Rochdale, Wrexham
Highest Gate 9785 V Bradford PA (2-1) got the winner.
Typical gate 5,600 2 over 9k, 1 over 8k, 4 over 7k
Season 1928/1929 : Div 3 N
Apps : 30 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 24 Sold In March
Hat trick V Hartlepool 3
Braces: Halifax, Bradford City x 2, Accrington, Lancaster, Hartlepool 2
Got 5 in 2 days against the monkey hangers on Christmas and Boxing Day.
Highest Gate FA Cup 16,849 Leicester (0-1) 10,625 V Wrexham (1-1)
Typical Gates 5,600 – 1 over 9k, 1 over 8k, 1 over 7k, 4 over 6K.
Season 1930/1931 :
Apps : 36 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 25
Hat tricks V Barrow, Carlisle
Brace V Scarborough
Highest Gate V Chesterfield 10,840.
Typical Gate 5,800 – 2 over 9k, 2 over 8k, 5 over 7k, 5 over 6K.
1 Andy Graver (50/51-54/55,55/56,58/59-60/61) Apps : 289 ; Goals : 150
2 Johnny Campbell (33/34-38/39) Aps 198(0) Goals 110
3 Gordon Hobson (77/78-84/85,88/89-89/90 Aps 372 (14) Goals 105
4 John Ward (70/71-78/79,81/82) Aps 243 (20) Goals 99
5 Billy Dinsdale (26/27-28/29 and 30/31) Aps 136 Goals 103
6 Johnny Garvie (50/51-55/56) Aps 192 (0) Goals 80
7 Roy Chapman (57/58-60/61, 64/65-66/67) Aps 186 (1) Goals 81
8 Allan Hall (1931/32-1932/33) Aps 76 (0) Goals 68
9 Percy Freeman (70/71-72/73, 74/75-76/77 Aps 166 (15) Goals 76
10 Ernie Whittle (1949/50-1953/54 151 aps 64 goals