Reds mourn fifties ‘keeper

It was with sadness that we learned that fifties goalkeeper, Wilf Billington, passed away recently. He was 93.

Previously with Rochdale and Blackburn Rovers, Billington arrived at the club in 1954 as one of Bill Shankly’s summer signings and an understudy to Malcolm Newlands. An injury to the latter saw Billington start the 1954-55 season as first choice and he made his debut in the opening game at Darlington, helping Reds to a 2-1 victory.

He made 19 appearances in his first season and 24 the following campaign. He remained at the club for four seasons making fifty-five first team appearances in total, keeping sixteen clean sheets in the process.

Wilf Billington (back row, third from left) pictured with Reds in 1955

Wilf’s final first team outing was not the farewell probably anticipated – he shipped half a dozen goals in a 6-3 defeat at Mansfield Town in March1958.

In addition, he made no fewer than seventy-five appearances for Workington Reserves in the North Eastern League.

Wilf then emigrated to Australia in the late fifties and played for Balgownie, South Coast United and Melbourne Hellas.

Billington died at the beginning of October and our condolences go to his family and friends.

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