3 September 2008

Billy Leslie

Name: William Leslie
Born: 17 September 1866, Dundonald, Ayr (Scotland)
Died: September 1938, Bournemouth (England)
Position: Centre-half

Representative Honours: Ireland: 1 Cap (1887); Ulster representative
Club Honours: (with Glentoran) Charity Cup Finalist 1885/86; (with Y.M.C.A.) Irish Cup Finalist 1888/89; Charity Cup Finalist 1886/87; County Antrim Shield Finalist 1888/89.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
Irish Cup
Other
Glentoran
82/83-85/86
-
Amateur
-
/3
-
Y.M.C.A.
86/87-88/89
-
Amateur
-
-
*1/0
Cliftonville
89/90-90/91
-
Amateur
-
-
*2/0
Y.M.C.A.
91/92
-
Amateur
-
-
-
TOTALS
-
£-
-
-
-
* English FA Cup

Biography:
Billy/Billie Leslie was one of a family of five born in Dundonald, Ayr to John Leslie and Agnes (nee Murray). The family had moved to Belfast by 1871.

Leslie started his playing career at full-back for Glentoran and soon became a regular in the team and over a three year period managed to score a goal on three separate occasions for them in Irish Cup matches. His final match for Glentoran was in the Charity Cup Final on the 1st May 1886 which Glentoran lost 5-1 to Cliftonville. Prior to leaving Glentoran Leslie represented Ulster against Staffordshire and Lancashire.

The Young Mens Christian Association was based at their headquarters on the Mountpottinger Road in Belfast. When Leslie joined them for the 1886/87 season they were active in all available competitions, as they had been since December 1883. Leslie played at centre-half with YMCA in three cup finals, finishing on the losing side on each occasion. He scored six goals for them including two in the 5-0 defeat of Oldpark in the County Antrim Shield semi-final on the 12th January 1889.

Leslie was one of four new caps selected in Ireland's forward line to play England at Bramall Lane, Sheffield on the 5th February 1887. Playing at inside-left was a strange selection for a centre-half and inevitably the Irish were defeated 7-0. Leslie was never afforded another chance in international football.

In October 1888 Leslie featured in YMCA's 5-0 "English" FA Cup defeat by Cliftonville at Shafesbury Park. In 1889 YMCA were "amalgamated" into Cliftonville, and it was for his new club that Leslie enjoyed two FA Cup match wins, 4-3 against Macclesfield and 2-1 against Leek in late 1890. Cliftonville were unable to progress any further in the Cup as they scratched from the competition due to prohibitive costs.

YMCA re-emerged on the local football scene in 1891, joining the Irish League with Leslie among their ranks. Sadly, they were unable to complete the season and withdrew on 19th December 1891. Leslie appears to have retired from the game in 1892, by which time he was a fully qualified Chartered Accountant.

Ireland Cap Details:
05-02-1887 England A L 0-7 BC (20 yrs, 141 days)

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.


Biography and personal details by George Glass.

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