Billy Dunlop
Billy Dunlop
Billy Dunlop
● Billy Dunlop, 1898 (VIF)

born in Scotland

Billy Dunlop was born on Monday, 16th August, 1869, in Annbank, South Ayrshire.

The 5' 6½ (11st 6lbs) midfielder signed for Thistle on Monday, 4th June, 1900, having most recently been with Rangers.

On his 31st birthday, he made his debut appearance on Thursday, 16th August, 1900, in a 2-2 friendly draw away to Rangers.

There were no goals for Billy during his spell with Thistle.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 25th August, 1900, in a 5-2 defeat away to St Mirren in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 3 occasions.

His club-list included Annbank, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Rangers and Partick Thistle.

Billy died on Wednesday, 25th May, 1960, in Tarbolton, South Ayrshire, aged 90.

Bio Extra

Son of James Dunlop (coal miner) and Helen Dunlop (née McBroom). Dad was an Ayrshire man and Mum, known as Ellen, was from Glasgow.

Billy built his reputation over 4 seasons at his hometown club, Annbank, and was regarded as "the best half-back in Ayrshire". Despite being a Non-Leaguer, he played in a trial game for the Scottish national team in 1890, a surefire sign there would be bigger things ahead for him. Annbank were founder members of the Ayrshire Football League in 1891 and Billy would play his part in their being crowned champions in the first two seasons. A fairytale run to the Scottish Cup Quarter Final in 1892 was a high watermark in his Annbank years, although they were beaten 2-0 by Rangers in the end. Billy had appeared for Blackburn Rovers as a guest/trialist that term; the scouts were onto him and it was only a matter of time before he stepped up a grade. And step up a grade he most certainly did in January 1893, signing for English champions-elect, Sunderland.

Billy made his Football League debut on 28th January 1893 in a 4-2 home win against The Wednesday. He was the uncle (though only two years older) of his new club's star forward Jimmy Miller, while another former Annbank player, defender (and future Jag) Bob Smellie, was also in the Sunderland side (he and Dunlop were teammates in Annbank's run to the quarter-finals of the 1891–92 Scottish Cup). Billy played four more matches at the end of the 1892-93 season once the League Championship was secured. From the following season onwards, Billy was a regular in the first team, contributing to their runners-up position in 1894 and a further League Championship triumph in the 1894-95 season, making 148 appearances over seven seasons at Newcastle Road and (in his final season) Roker Park, scoring 6 goals for The Wearsiders. He also played on the winning side in a post-season friendly match against Scottish champions Heart of Midlothian, dubbed by some the “1895 World Championship”.

Billy returned to Scotland in 1899 to join Rangers and made his debut in a 5-1 win at Third Lanark that August. However, he played only 6 Scottish First Division matches and one Scottish Cup tie in the 1899-1900 season, all victories, in each case covering for one of the regular half-backs, Neilly Gibson, Bobby Neil and Jacky Robertson, and four more Inter City League matches, all defeats, during the latter part of the season. It was during the close season of 1900 that the Thistle executive were ambitiously recruiting with a view to competing well in the top-flight. It was thought that Dunlop of Rangers would fit the bill as an experienced half-back of some renown. He made his debut on his 31st birthday, but it soon became apparent that his best days were behind him, the going too tough in Scotland's premier league for a thirty something. By October, a convivial loan arrangement was made with Annbank, from which Dunlop never returned, although he remained a registered Jag for a few seasons yet. There was a quirky footnote to his relationship with Thistle; he returned to Meadowside in May 1903 to play for Rangers in a benefit match for the Partick nurses fund. Final score:- Partick Thistle 1 Rangers 0.

Away from the football, Billy followed in his father's footsteps as a coal miner. He married Jean Denholm Gregg, more affectionately known as Jeanie. Her great claim to fame was that she demonstrated the art of silk weaving to Queen Victoria at the 1888 Empire exhibition at Edinburgh. How about that then? Billy (who had been living in Sunderland) came back to Tarbolton to marry Jeanie in October 1897. They raised 6 children; Agnes (b.1899), James (b.1901), William (b.1903), Walter (b.1905), John (b.1907) and Helen (b.1914). Billy became a widower in 1947, as Jeanie died at the family home, 15 Sandgate, in Tarbolton, aged 73. A Cerebral Haemorrhage was his official cause of death in May 1960, but he had certainly lived a full life by then. His son, James, signed the death register entry.


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