5 May 2007

Paul Williams

Name: Paul Andrew Williams
Born: 8 September 1963, Sheffield (England)
Height: 6.04 ft
Weight: 14.00 st
Position: Forward

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Full Cap (1991), Youth.
Club Honours: (with Distillery) Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1985/86; (with Stockport) Football League Division Three Runner-Up 1990/91.


Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Other
Leeds U.
-
Youth
0(0)/0
-
-
-
Distillery
83/84-85/86
-
Free
110 (-)/22
(all games)
Arcadia.Shepherds
1986
-
Free
-
(South African National Soccer League)
Grinaker.Rovers
1986
-
-
-
(South African National Soccer League)
Nuneaton.Boro’
86/87
-
Free
4 (0)/ 2
(Football Conference)
Preston N.E.
86/87
Dec-86
-
1 (0)/ 0
-
-
1(1)/0
Newport Co.
87/88
Aug-87
Free
26 (0)/ 3
-
2(0)/0
2(0)/0
Sheffield U.
87/88-88/89
Mar-88
£17k
6 (2)/ 0
-
-
2(1)/0
Hartlepool.U.
89/90
Oct-89
£3k
7 (1)/ 0
1(0)/0
-
1(0)/0
Stockport Co.
90/91
Aug-90
Free
24 (0)/14
-
2(0)/1
3(0)/1
West Brom. Alb.
90/91-92/93
Mar-91
£250k
26(18)/ 5
1(2)/0
1(1)/0
1(2)/1
Coventry City
92/93
Oct-92
Loan
1 (1)/ 0
-
-
-
Stockport Co.
92/93-93/94
Jan-93
£25k
6(10)/ 3
-
1(0)/0
5(0)/1
Rochdale
93/94-95/96
Nov-93
Free
22(15)/ 7
1(0)/0
2(0)/0
2(1)/0
Doncaster Rvrs
95/96
Mar-96
Loan
2 (1)/ 1
-
-
-
Altrincham
96/97
-
Free
5 (2)/ 0
(Football Conference)
TOTALS
£295k
240(50)/57
3(2)/0
8(1)/1
17(5)/3

Biography:
A product of schools football in the Sheffield area, Paul Williams signed for Leeds United as a schoolboy in the late 1970s. While with the Elland Road club he was capped at Youth level courtesy of his Belfast-born mother, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Betty.

Unable to make the breakthrough at Leeds, Williams returned to his roots to sign for Distillery in 1983. His large frame made him formidable in a number of roles, his Whites debut on 3 September 1983 was as a striker, but in his three seasons at Ballyskeagh he also starred across midfield and at full-back. Of his 110 games for Distillery undoubtedly the most memorable was the Co. Antrim Shield Final in October 1985. In a thrilling all-action match he scored a thirty-yard volley as Ballymena United were defeated 3-1, and Distillery won their first trophy in fourteen years.

In May 1986, after trials with a number of English clubs, Paul Williams signed for South African side, Arcadia. Early in the 1986/87 season he returned to England, joining GM Vauxhall Conference side Nuneaton Borough. In December 1986 he finally made it back to the Football League, signing for Preston North End. He made his League debut, and his sole League outing for Preston, as stand-in centre-half on 21 March 1987 in a 2-0 defeat at Cambridge United. That summer he was made available and in August he signed for Newport County in what would be the Welsh club’s final season in the Football League. With County he played mainly at centre-back and left-back, before a £17,000 deadline day cash-grabbing transfer to Sheffield United.

Williams walked straight into the Blades’ defence as the club battled unsuccessfully to avoid relegation to the Third Division. Unpopular with the fans due to his laboured style of play, he made just two appearances in the following season’s promotion campaign and in October 1989 he left Bramall Lane on a free transfer to sign for Fourth Division Hartlepool United. Again he walked straight into a defensive role in a side struggling at the wrong end of the table, he was given a single run-out at centre-forward before injury ruled him out and he was again released at the end of the season.

Stockport County boss Danny Bergara stepped in to give Williams another bite of the cherry in full-time football. For the first time since his breakthrough in the Football League he played regularly as a striker, his fourteen goals helping to fire County to runners-up spot in the Third Division in 1991. Williams wasn’t there to see the promotion celebrations as he made a £250,000 transfer to West Brom in March.

Williams’ transfer to the Hawthorne’s is surrounded in rumour. Supposedly West Brom manager Bobby Gould had sent his assistant Stuart Pearson to Stockport to sign a pacy left-back, also called Paul Williams. When Gould arrived in the dressing room to be faced instead by a lump of a centre-forward he is alleged to have greeted his new signing with the polite enquiry: “Who the hell are you?”

With the big price-tag and innuendo hanging heavy on his shoulders, Williams failed to score or impress in ten straight games at centre-forward as West Brom slumped to relegation from the Second Division. More influenced by the form he had shown with Stockport, Billy Bingham included Williams in a number of Northern Ireland squads through 1991. Williams made his international debut as a substitute in one of the most embarrassing results in Northern Ireland’s history, a 1-1 home draw with the tiny Faroe Islands. That proved to be his only cap.

Unable to win over either fans or management at West Brom, Williams battled on manfully as a squad player, slotting in anywhere on the field as required. He also scored some important early-season goals, including the winner against former club Stockport, as West Brom looked likely to bounce straight back at the first attempt – it wasn’t to be. In the 1992/93 season he was loaned out to Coventry City, where he played the only Premier League football of his career. In January 1993 he made a cut-price £25,000 move back to Stockport, but once again he failed to find his form of old.

Paul Williams continued his Football League odyssey with spells at Rochdale and Doncaster Rovers, proving a reliable goalscorer when employed as a forward, and a dependable stopper when employed in defence.

Northern Ireland Cap Details:

01-05-1991 Faroe Islands H D 1-1 ECQ sub

Summary:
0(1)/0. Won 0, drew 1, Lost 0.

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