William (Billy) Garraty

William (Billy) Garraty

William (Billy) Garraty was born in Saltley, Birmingham, on 6th October 1878. He played local football for Ashted Swifts, Highfield Villa, Lozells and Aston Shakespeare before joining Aston Villa in August 1897.

Before the beginning of the 1897-98 season, Aston Villa lost the services of Johnny Campbell and Jack Reynolds, who both decided to join Celtic in the Scottish League. During the opening month of the campaign, Howard Spencer sustained a serious leg injury that kept him out of the team for the rest of the season. Aston Villa missed these three key players and could only finish in 6th place in the league. Garraty, who was still a teenager, only played two games that season.

Aston Villa was back in form the following year. Garraty was given a chance in the first team and scored a very promising 6 goals in 9 games. However, it was John Devey who was the star of the side scoring 21 goals in 30 games. George Wheldon also did well with 16 in 33. Villa once again won the league title, with Liverpool taking the runners-up spot.

Aston Villa confirmed it was the best club in England during the 1890s when it won the First Division championship the following season. This was their fifth league title in seven years. During this period they had also won the FA Cup twice (1895 and 1897). Billy Garraty had a great season was the top scorer in league games in the 1899-1900 season with 27 goals in 33 games. In fact, he was the top scorer in the whole country. Aston Villa's other forwards also did well that season: John Devey (13), George Wheldon (11), Stephen Smith (7), George Johnson (5) and Charlie Athersmith (4).

Billy Garraty won his first and only international cap for England against Wales on 2nd March, 1903. England won the game 2-1 with goals from Joe Bache and Vivian Woodward.

Garraty was a member of the Aston Villa team that reached the 1905 FA Cup Final. Over 100,000 people watched Villa beat Newcastle United 2-0. Both goals were scored by Harry Hampton.

In October 1908, Garraty was transferred to West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £270. During his time at Aston Villa he scored 112 goals in 259 games. After spending two years at WBA (20 goals in 53 games) he was sold to Lincoln City for £100. He retired from professional football in May 1911.

Garraty served briefly as a trainer at Aston Villa (April - May 1913) before finding work as a beer-delivery driver for Ansells Brewery.

Billy Garraty died on 6th May 1931.