Willie Salisbury
Willie Salisbury
Willie Salisbury
● Willie Salisbury (PUL)

born in Scotland

William Salisbury was born on Thursday, 23rd February, 1899, in Glasgow.

The 5' 7 (11st 7lbs) forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Wednesday, 14th August, 1918, having most recently been with St Anthony's.

Aged 19, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 17th August, 1918, in a 1-1 draw away to Airdrieonians in the Scottish Football League.

Willie scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 19th October, 1918, in a 6-3 win at home to Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Football League.

He scored the last of his 61 goals on Saturday, 1st September, 1928, in a 2-2 draw at home to Queen's Park in the Glasgow Cup.

He played his last game for the club on Tuesday, 4th September, 1928, in a 3-0 defeat away to Queen's Park in the Glasgow Cup, having clocked up an impressive 365 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included St Anthony's, Partick Thistle, Liverpool, Bangor, Distillery and Shelbourne.

Willie died on Monday, 4th January, 1965, in Glasgow, aged 65.

Bio Extra

As you'd expect with a Scottish Cup winning side, there were many Thistle heroes throughout the campaign of '21, and, at the Quarter Final stage, it was our young left-winger, Willie Salisbury, who saved the day at Fir Park. A wee livewire, he was considered a clever exponent of the touch-line game, although, with his mercurial temperament, “Sally”, as he was affectionately known, could drive the Firhill punters mad, veering from the sublime to the ridiculous, one minute to the next. That Saturday night after Fir Park, however, he would be the toast of Maryhill, having rescued the Jags in a muddy Motherwell battlefield, where it would have been so easy to submit. With Thistle trailing 2-1 in the second period, Willie raced on to the end of a half-chance, and cleverly turned his opposing right back. This created a shooting opportunity for himself from close range, which, to the deep consternation of the majority of the 20,000 in the ground, he just managed to squeeze in at the post, out of reach of Rundell in Motherwell's goal. Well done Sally!

Having just turned 22 a couple of weeks prior to this, Willie was the youngest (known) member of the '21 squad (bearing in mind only 89% of the age slots are filled across our 11 games). The 19-year-old, a product of St Anthony's, had been interesting Celtic in the close season of 1918, but George Easton was sharper than Willie Maley in this field, and Salisbury became yet another in his hugely impressive list of shrewd acquisitions from the juniors. Indeed, several others from this Cup squad were so recruited; Joe Harris (Strathclyde), John Blair (Saltcoats Victoria), David Johnstone (Glengarnock Vale), Jimmy McMullan (Denny Hibernian), Alex Lauder (Ashfield), John Bowie (St Anthony's) and Andrew Kerr (Ardrossan Winton Rovers). He had a great career with Thistle, making over 360 appearances and scoring more than 60 goals in the process. Aside from the obvious highlight, Willie wrote himself further into our history books by playing his part in the first Partick Thistle side to finally get their hands on the (then) much-coveted Glasgow Charity Cup, the 6-3 final rout of Rangers in May, 1927, now entrenched in Jaggy folklore. Interestingly, Liverpool's secretary, (and soon-to-be manager) George Patterson, was in attendance that day; were notes taken on our wee left-winger I wonder?

Early in 1928, Willie netted a first class hat-trick for the Jags at East End Park, where the home side were whacked by 7 goals to 1. Several months later, the popular winger was rewarded for his 10 years of stellar service, Rangers providing the benefit opposition in a 1-1 draw at Firhill. “There have been bigger noises with the North-West Glasgow club, but never a more likeable chap” (DR). Just a couple of months later, in a move which typified George Easton's astuteness, the 29-year-old was traded off to Liverpool in return for a very handsome sum of £3,000. Consider that, within a year, they would ship him across the Irish Sea to Bangor for a token £100, and you get a sense of just how good an operator the Thistle manager was. After spells at Distillery and Shelbourne, Willie found his way home to the Firhill nest, where he played out his final footballing days with Thistle reserves. Speaking of his return in late February, 1933 the Dundee Courier acknowledged that the 34-year-old had lost an edge, but wrote: “'Sally' got a fine welcome, and played pretty well against Queen’s Park Strollers”. Those in attendance, were happy in their hearts that an idiosyncratic legend was back where he belonged.


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