Billy Kirton

Billy Kirton

William (Billy) Kirton was born in Newcastle on 2nd December 1896. Kirton was a member of the Temperance Society and played for Pandon Temperance before joining Leeds City in May 1919. After only playing one game for the club he was transferred to Aston Villa for £500 in October 1919.

In the 1919-20 season Aston Villa enjoyed a successful run in the FA Cup beating QPR (2-1), Manchester United (2-1), Sunderland (1-0), Tottenham Hotspur (1-0) and Chelsea (3-1).

The club played Huddersfield Town in the final at Stamford Bridge. The referee, Jack Howcraft, entered the Villa dressing-room before the game and warned Frank Barson that he would be sent off for any indiscretion. According to the authors of The Essential Aston Villa, "the normally unflappable Barson was taken aback and his performance was uncharacteristically cautious for much of the game." Billy Kirton got the only goal of the game and Villa won the cup for the sixth time in its history.

Kirton won his first and only international cap for England against Northern Ireland on 22nd October 1922. Kirton scored England's only goal in the 1-1 draw.

Kirton, a talented inside-forward, formed a productive partnership with Clem Stephenson. A teetotaller and non-smoker, he scored 59 goals in 261 appearances before signing for Coventry City in September 1928. However, he failed to score for his new club in 16 games and left to join Kiddeminster Harriers.

After retiring from professional football Kirton ran a newsagent's shop in Kingstanding, Birmingham.

Billy Kirton died in Sutton Coldfield on 27th September 1970.