Match Programme Portrait: Billy Dunlop

September 17, 1904
We make no apology for introducing our readers to the “doyen” of Liverpool players, – William Dunlop – one of the most loyal and determined full backs that any club ever possessed. In the days when Liverpool was just termed a team of the “Macs,” Dunlop was a prominent personage in the eleven, and to-day we see him fighting once more with all the energy that he can command, to place his club in that position which they are justly entitled to occupy in the premier League.

Ten years have elapsed since Dunlop came to this city, and during this period he has rendered signal and whole-hearted service to the team of his adoption.  He was born at the village of Hurlford, near Kilmarnock – a place which has gained for itself a prominent position in the world of football, by reason of the capable exponents of the dribbling code, which have emanated from its confines. Such noted players as Hynds and Turnbull, of Manchester City; Boyd and White, Bolton Wanderers; the brothers A. and W. Goldie, and Brown, of Aston Villa, have like Dunlop, done much to enhance the fame of this little suburb, as one of the finest producing centres for footballers in the kingdom.


The subject of our sketch first saw light some 27 years ago, and found his chief amusement in footing the leather at times, during the day, and even by the light of the village furnaces up to midnight, whilst still a youth. When 15 years of age, he joined the Hurlford club, and in his first season took part in two Finals, for the Senior and Second Eleven Ayrshire Cups respectively. He figured at left full back in these teams and it is a remarkable coincidence that he has always played in this position from the time he can remember having anything to do with football. From Hurlford to Kilmarnock was a natural transformation, and after a couple of seasons, he was induced to join the Paisley Abercorn club. Whilst with this team he was chosen to play for Ayrshire against the Glasgow City eleven, thereby receiving a much coveted cap, and he was also selected to play for the Rest of the Scottish Second League, against the Champions Hibernians.

In the season of 1894-5 he came to Liverpool, and assisted them throughout their progress in the Second Division. A year was spent in the First Division following this, but Liverpool were once doomed to the Second League, for they lost the memorable test match, with Bury at Ewood, by a goal to nil. Again did Dunlop ably aid his club through another eight months of Second Division warfare, but he had the misfortune to suffer from a poisoned ankle in the later stages of the campaign, and this necessitated a change in the rear division, which thereby composed of Goldie and Wilkie. The pair combined so effectively that Dunlop was kept in the background for some time, but at length, Wilkie’s form became unsatisfactory and the left full back once more asserted his position in the premier team. He has held this post by dint of downright determination to the present time, and he alone remains, as the modern representative of the early of the Liverpool club.

Dunlop plays a characteristic full back game, and the familiar cry of the Anfield ground of “Boot it, Dunlop” is fairly suggestive of his method of defence. There can be no two opinions of his ability to kick the ball from almost any position. Always keen and watchful on the field, he betrays his over-anxiety to repel the invander by his terrific lunges, and on his day, there is no more brilliant player than this same Dunlop. True, the advance of years, combined with a sore succession of family troubles, have somewhat restrained his impetuosity, but no player puts more determination into his every movement than this lithe, vigerous and enthusiastic Scot. Although International honours have not fallen to his lot, it cannot be said that Dunlop has not deserved them. Some four years ago, he practically reached the height of his prowess and amongst a certain section of the authorities, was highly favoured for the Scotch team against England, but the clear pronouncements of the Anglo Scot’s trial match were set aside by the selection committee, and his skillful play went unrewarded.

Dunlop is the third of a family of seven brothers, and the only one of the flock that has taken seriously to football. Some of the others are more than average musicians, and the left back himself, is very clever with the violin.

For consistency on the football field, Dunlop possesses a record that will be hard to beat, In 1898-9 he played in 33 out of 34 League matches, and the following year took part in every game decided. In 1900-1, he missed one match, and the same thing resulted in the ensuing season, so that out of a possible 136 games decided in four successive season, our subject only missed three. With Dominie Sampson, we can only say to this “Prod-i-ous.”

In his long and creditable career, Dunlop has only been penalized twice within the dreaded arena, and strange to relate, each of the penalty kicks have failed to registered a goal. Some of his comrades declare him to be a lucky fellow in this respect. A better servant no club ever possessed, and though we may occasionally differ from him as to the methods he employs on the field, on one point we must all agree, that for downright single-mindedness of purpose Dunlop’s tactics have never been questioned.

Standing 5ft. 9½in. and weighing 12st., Dunlop uses every ounce of energy he possesses for the benefit of his side, and having been a potent factor in rescuing Liverpool on two occasions from the Second Division, he takes a certain amount of pride in the fact that this will make the third instance of helping his club into the premier League again. May his wish become a certainty in the near future is the earnest hope of all supporters of football in this city, and if Dunlop has to be consulted in the matter, the Anfielders are safe for promotion.
(Joint Everton and Liverpool Match Programme: September 17, 1904)

Billy Dunlop
Billy Dunlop

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