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: 43.08% W: 112 D: 62 L: 86
Games/goals ratio: 8.97
Honours: League Championship 1921/22, 1922/23
Wartime games/goals: 1 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 231 / 18
Total LFC games/goals: 260 / 29
"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.
Lacey was never renowned as a goalscorer, just 29 from 260 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!