William (Bill) Sheppard was born in Ferryhill in 1907. He played football for Ferryhill Athletic, Chilton Colliery and Crook Town before joining Watford in 1927. Over the next two seasons he scored 37 goals in 89 appearances for the club. He also played for Queen's Park Rangers (1930-31) and Coventry City (1931-32). In 1932 he joined Walsall in the Third Division.
On 14th January 1933, Sheppard played in the FA Cup tie against Arsenal, the First Division league champions. Injuries and illness robbed Arsenal of several key players including Eddie Hapgood, Joe Hulme, Jack Lambert and Bob John. Four inexperienced reserves were drafted into the side. They all performed badly and so did the regular members, with David Jack missing several opportunities to score. The tackling of the Walsall players, especially on Alex James and Cliff Bastin, also caused the team serious problems. As Bernard Joy pointed out: "They (Walsall) were aided by the narrow ground which was made more cramped by the encroachment of spectators up to the touchlines."
Fifteen minutes after the interval, Gilbert Allsop headed in from a corner. Soon afterwards, Tommy Black gave away a penalty with a blatant foul on Sheppard. He got up and scored from the spot and Walsall managed to hold out for a 2-0 win. It was the greatest giant-killing result in FA Cup history.
Sheppard retired from professional football in 1934. During his career he scored 75 goals in 196 games.
William Sheppard died in 1950.