of Chester’s most popular players of the 1950s,
Billy Windle, died recently at the age of 91 and our
condolences go out to his wife Beryl and all his family
Billy was born in Maltby, Yorkshire and started his
football career as an amateur with Sheffield United
before the war. After serving in the army he returned
to football with Kilnhurst Colliery in the Yorkshire
League. He signed for Leeds United in October 1947 but
after only two appearances moved on to Lincoln City
early in 1948. Billy proved to be an instant success
at Sincil Bank, scoring six goals in 13 games, as Lincoln
were promoted to Division Two at the end of the season.
Included in his tally were a hat-trick against Gateshead
and one of the goals in a 4-2 victory over Chester.
Although he was nominally an outside left it was a flexible
forward line at Lincoln and he scored 22 goals in 91
appearances for the Imps
It was Frank Brown who brought Billy
to Sealand Road early in the 1951/52 campaign and the
diminutive winger made the first of his 127 league appearances
at Bradford PA in October 1951. Known for his speed
and crossing ability Billy played as an out and out
winger at Sealand Road where he linked up with Ray Gill
on the left hand side of the pitch. In January 1952
he was a member of the Chester team that was unlucky
to be defeated by Chelsea in the FA Cup Third Round
in front of a record attendance at the old Stadium.
Billy also played in two Welsh Cup Finals for the club,
in 1953 and 1954, picking up a runners-up medal on both
occasions. He played his last game for Chester, against
Barnsley, in April 1955 and started the following season
with Caernarvon in the Welsh League.
Billy’s next port of call was
New Brighton, who were then in the Lancashire Combination.
In 1956/57 the Rakers reached the Fourth Round of the
FA Cup beating Stockport, Derby County (the eventual
Third Division North champions) and Torquay United on
the way. The Torquay tie proved particularly memorable
for Billy, who scored both New Brighton goals, and he
was the centre of national press attention before the
Fourth Round game at Burnley, where the Rakers were
In 1959 Billy joined Oswestry Town
and remained there for a season before retiring from
the playing side of the game. At the end of the 1960s,
when Ken Roberts was manager at Chester, he had a year
helping run the Reserves in the Cheshire County League.
In fact, on one notable occasion, he came out of retirement
to play for the second string in the snow at Frickley
Colliery at the age of 47.
Billy continued to live in Chester after leaving the
club and worked for a short period at Manweb before
spending 11 years employed at the steelworks.