Tuesday, 18 May 2010

12 Bill Williams

Position : Centre half (also played right back and midfield)

Played : 1981-2 t0 1984-85

Appearances : 95

Goals : 2

Bill was another player I had a personal connection with as our sisters were friends at school and had just started breaking into the side when I started watching them. He came on for Brian Taylor in my first game.

A Littleborough lad he was spotted playing for Sunday League side Ashe Laboratories and signed as a part time professional in 1981 so that he could continue to work in the family decorating business. Although over 6 ft himself he usually played alongside the big man sweeping up. An undemonstrative player I thought he was under-appreciated especially by Peter Madden's siuccessors. Jimmy Greenhoff replaced him with the veteran Mike Doyle at the start of the 1983-4 season but soon recalled him. In the FA Cup game against Telford he suffered what could politely be described as a groin injury. Trainer Trevor Jones asked him if he could carry on , the reply being "No I f**king well can't !" . In his absence the team fell apart and lost 4-1. He returned later in the season but usually at right back. He again had to fight for his place under Vic Halom who signed Keith Hanvey from Huddersfield. Bill got back in when Hanvey had to retire through injury but lost his place again when Phil Dwyer was signed from Cardiff.

Then Halom made one of the worst managerial decisions in my time watching Dale when he released Bill at the end of the season on the grounds that he didn't like part-time players. Shortly afterwards Dwyer turned his back on football and joined the police force but by that time Bill had already been snapped up by Stockport on the recommendation of former Dale team-mate Les Chapman. To make matters worse the following summer Halom was telling us we would have to get by with part-time players after the financial rug was pulled from under him !

Bill went on to play over 250 games for Stockport although his relationship with manager Danny Bergara was rocky at times (again over his part-time status). He played against us in the crucial fixture at the end of the 1986-87 season which we had to win to secure our league status. There are those who say he stepped out of the way of Lyndon Simmonds' goalbound shot which won the game. In 1987 he got a big move to Manchester City but suffered the indignity of being a subbed sub in his only game though in fairness it was at right back. Stockport quickly bought him back . In 1990 he was set to return to Rochdale under Terry Dolan but the Board balked at paying £30,000 for a 30 year old defender, a big factor in Dolan leaving the club shortly afterwards. Bill got on with helping County win promotion and his last appearance was in the Second Division Play-Off Final at Wembley in 1994. After that game he decided to retire although the following season he was contemplating a comeback for Dave Sutton's Dale, playing for the reserves before Sutton's departure ended the idea.

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