William "Billy" Dunlop

William "Billy" Dunlop was quite simply integral not so much to the founding, he was just too young, but to the consolidation and rise of Liverpool football club. He arrived in 1895 at twenty-one, he left sixteen seasons later in 1911, having literally played his part in promotion from the Second to the First Division, twice, a relegation in-between and two League Championships.  

And then he went for twenty-one years to be a stalwart at Sunderland, an assistant-trainer specialising in massage. In fact, whilst he would in 1941, still working, pass away in hospital at the age of sixty-seven, it and his home at the time were both on Wear-side. 

Yet it had all begun at sixteen in his home village of Hurlford. He was born there in 1872, the third of thirteen children, the son of a miner from Dalry and a mother from Kilmarnock. He played, at left-back, for the village team until 1893 and eighteen years old, spent a few months at Kilmarnock outwith the League before being recruited into the top-flight by Abercorn.

In fact one year into his stay with the Renfrewshire club the Scottish League Second Division was created and Abercorn without being relegated was voted down into it and subsequently finished safely mid-table. By then Billy had in 1894 married, his bride, whilst he was staying in Paisley as a General Labourer, a local Hurlford girl, Jane Bell. They would have three children, two boys and a girl, the second child born back in Hurlford but the two others on Merseyside as the family relocated and settled. In 1901 Billy was recorded now openly as a Professional Footballer living just opposite the Anfield ground. He had a habit of living close to his work.

However, Jane was to die in 1903 at the age of just thirty and it would be a couple of years before Billy would meet someone else, in 1905 marrying Catherine Waters in Ormskirk, the new family settling just round the corner from before and he, as his career was running down, opening and running a Tobacconists.  

The break from Liverpool would come at the end of the 1910-11 season, the move to Sunderland soon after. And at this point or at least post-1915, by then living close to the club's then ground, Roker Park, there is gap in biography that lasts until 1934, when Billy would be widowed for a second time. Catherine, Kittie, on passing was fifty-seven, he sixty-two and at an age when he might have remained a widower. But he was in 1938 to re-marry for a second time. His bride was widow, Elizabeth Martindale and they would have three years together, Billy passing away albeit in hospital outwith the city but still staying literally close to the game, his home within walking distance of the Makem ground. 

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