Player profile

Bill Lacey

Birthdate: 24 September 1889
Birthplace: Wexford, Ireland
Other clubs: Shelbourne (1906-08), Everton (1908-12); Shelbourne (2), Belfast United, Linfield (wartime guest), New Brighton (1924-25), Shelbourne (3 / 1925-27), Cork Bohemians (1927-31)
Bought from: Everton
Signed for LFC: £150, 28.02.1912
International debut: 13.02.1909 vs. England
International caps: Northern Ireland 23/3 (12/2 at LFC) - Ireland 3/1
Liverpool debut: 02.03.1912
Last appearance: 12.03.1924
Debut goal: 16.03.1912
Last goal: 06.01.1923
Contract expiry: June 1924
Win ratio: 42.86% W: 111 D: 62 L: 86
Games/goals ratio: 8.93
Honours: League Championship 1921/22, 1922/23
Wartime games/goals: 1 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 230 / 18
Total LFC games/goals: 259 / 29

Player profile

"As for kicking Lacey as a hobby, I can assure you it’s a waste of time, the boy is made from Solid Rock. Dynamite could not shift him off the ball." - A 1923 match report captured Billy Lacey perfectly. After impressing in Ireland with Dublin's Shelbourne, Everton spotted him and he joined the Blues in May 1908. He featured regularly in the 1910/11 season, scoring eight goals in 24 League appearances but rarely got a look in the following season, only playing 37 League games and scoring 11 goals in three and a half seasons. Liverpool made one of their shrewdest transfer deals ever when they paid £300 for Lacey and Tom Gracie as well as letting Harold Uren go in exchange in February 1912. The Liverpool Echo wrote in September 1923 of Lacey's capture: "Was there ever a transfer that turned out so profitable to the Livers!" Lacey immediately went into the first team, making his debut in a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough on 2 March 1912. The scribe at the club programme was impressed. "I have always had an idea that Lacey would make a better man for Liverpool than Everton. He has, it is true, been more than useful to the Blues, but he is the type of player that has always been associated with Liverpool than Everton. We as a rule play more robust football, due to the fact that our forwards have been bigger men. And Lacey, while he is capable of clever work, is also a dashing, fearless forward. He was distinctly the personality on the home side against Middlesbrough, and had there been another of equal calibre I am sure we must have won." Lacey played in the last 11 fixtures of that season with one goal to his credit, against Spurs on 16 March 1912. He never was renowned as a goalscorer, just 29 from 259 League and cup appearances for Liverpool, but his tricky wing-play usually on the left set up numerous chances for his colleagues. Lacey helped Liverpool reach their first major cup final, but it was Burnley who took the FA Cup home with them after their 1-0 victory at the old Crystal Palace ground.

Lacey returned to Ireland to feature for, among others, his first club, Shelbourne, during World War I and as the English League recommenced he showed his versatility by playing at half-back between 1919-1921, revisiting a role he had successfully tried for Liverpool in the second part of the 1914/15 campaign. Once he returned to his old role as right-winger he was an important part of the side that won the first division championship two years running in 1922 and 1923. You could spot Lacey a mile off as his "jutting chin was the delight of the cartoonists." He was also said to have a "rounded, lovable personality" and he was certainly popular with the Liverpool faithful. Lacey was only selected nine times during 1924/25, by which time he was approaching his mid-30's, and it was no real surprise that he was allowed to leave Liverpool and move across the Mersey to join New Brighton. He moved back to his native Ireland in 1925 and retired from the game in 1931 at 42 years of age!

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals23028001259
1911-1912 11000011
1912-1913 21400025
1913-1914 35800043
1914-1915 32100033
1919-1920 32500037
1920-1921 22200024
1921-1922 39300143
1922-1923 30400034
1923-1924 810009

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
15Sunderland
15Newcastle United
14Sheffield United
14Everton
14WBA
14Arsenal
13Bolton Wanderers
13Manchester City
12Chelsea
12Burnley
11Bradford City
11Oldham Athletic
11Preston North End
10Middlesbrough
10Aston Villa
9Manchester United
8Blackburn Rovers
6Huddersfield Town
6Bradford Park Avenue
6Tottenham
5Birmingham City
5Sheffield Wednesday
5Derby
4Notts County
3West Ham United
2Stoke City
2Cardiff City
2Barnsley
2Gateshead
1Gillingham
1QPR
1Wolves
1Bristol City
1Luton Town
TotalCompetition
230League
28FA Cup
1Charity Shield

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals181100029
1911-1912 100001
1912-1913 330006
1913-1914 6500011
1914-1915 200002
1919-1920 320005
1920-1921 110002
1921-1922 100001
1922-1923 100001
1923-1924 000000

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalCompetition
18League
11FA Cup
TotalOpen play/Penalty
29Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
1915-191610

Stats note

Lacey played 23 games and scored 3 goals for the Belfast-based Irish Football Association (IFA) between 13.02.1909 - 22.10.1924. He also played 3 games and scored 1 goal for the Irish Free State between 23.04.1927-11.05.1930 whose association, Football Association of Ireland (FAI), was a rival to the IFA.

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
102.03.1912MiddlesbroughAnfieldLeague
5029.11.1913TottenhamAnfieldLeague
10016.01.1915SunderlandAnfieldLeague
15028.08.1920Manchester CityAnfieldLeague
20021.01.1922Huddersfield TownLeeds RoadLeague
25005.05.1923Stoke CityAnfieldLeague

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
14716.03.1912TottenhamAnfieldLeague

Related Articles

Swopping players

Article from The Liverpool Echo on February 27 1912. More

A last minute winner by Bill Lacey

The Liverpool Echo report on Barnsley 0 - 1 Liverpool on 15 January 1914.More

How I signed Billy Lacey in sixty seconds

The Liverpool Echo on 15 February 1949. Written by William Charles Cuff, former chairman of Everton and President of the Football League from 1939-49.More

Related Quotes

"As for kicking Lacey as a hobby, I can assure you it’s a waste of time, the boy is made from Solid Rock. Dynamite could not shift him off the ball."

1923 match report on Billy Lacey's toughness

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
1911-1912 * Midfielder
1912-1913 * Midfielder
1913-1914 * Midfielder
1914-1915 * Midfielder
1919-1920 * Half-back
1920-1921 * Half-back
1921-1922 * Midfielder
1922-1923 * Midfielder
1923-1924 * Midfielder
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

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