Linfield FC remembers former player Billy Craig

Posted : 13th March 2016 at 00:32:41

On Saturday Linfield FC reported the sad passing of Billy Craig, a forward at the club from 1960-66.

Billy passed away on Friday after a long illness bravely borne.

The following details are provided from the personal handwritten archives of the late chairman David Crawford by way of fuller tribute to a player who scored in Europe and in 2 cup finals - as well as played two games in the famous 1961/62 season.

Billy Craig was born on November 1, 1943.

He lived at Upper Falls, Finaghy, Derriaghy and Lisburn.

He started playing football in the Finaghy Primary School football team.

He then played for the 84th company BB team and he was signed for Linfield in 1960 by Jack Booth, Newcastle United's scout in Northern Ireland.

The 5 ft 9 inside-forward or winger won the following honours

Schoolboy international cap

Youth international cap 1962 v Scotland

4 amateur international caps 1963-66

Under 23 international cap

3 Youth cup winners medals including 1961/62 with Linfield Rangers

George Wilson cup medal 1962

1962/63 - County Antrim Shield winners medal - scoring his first Linfield goal in a 4-0 final win against Bangor at Solitude on May 11, 1963. Dickson and Braithwaite were also on the score sheet.

1963/64 - City Cup winners medal

1963/64 - Gold Cup winners medal - scored 2 goals in 3-2 replay win v Glentoran at Windsor Park on February 12, 1964. Phil Scott scored the other goal.

1964/65 - Ulster Cup winners medal - Phil Scott scored the goal in a 1-0 win v Glentoran on December 2, 1964 at Windsor Park

He made 2 appearances in Europe - losing 4-1 away to Fenerbahce on November 13, 1963 and scoring in the 2-0 win in the second leg on December 11, 1963

He made 2 appearances in Linfield's 7 Trophy Winning season of 1961/62

He made his Linfield debut in a 4-2 defeat away to Ballymena United on Boxing Day 1961 and his other appearance in the famous 7 Trophy season was in a 3-0 home win against Bangor in the County Antrim Shield on April 9, 1962

He made the following Linfield appearances

1961/62 - 2 appearances

1962/63 - 8 appearances and 1 goal

1963/64 - 35 appearances and 17 goals

1964/65 - 27 appearances and 5 goals

1965/66 - 14 appearances and 2 goals

He scored in his final game, a 1-1 City Cup draw away to Glentoran on May 16, 1966

With Linfield Rangers - 1960/61 and 1961/62

With Linfield Swifts

1960/61 - 13 appearances

1961/62 - 32 appearances

1962/63 - 30 appearances

1963/64 - 7 appearances

1964/65 - 12 appearances and 6 goals

1965/66 - 20 appearances and 3 goals

He signed for Distillery for season 1966/67

He was with Dundela from 1969-71 and Brantwood for season 1971/72

Billy passed away on March 11, 2016 aged 72

A minutes applause was observed by way of tribute prior to the 'Big Two' derby game at Windsor Park on March 12. The Linfield team wore black armbands in a further tribute to Billy.

The deepest sympathy and most sincere condolences of everyone at Linfield FC are extended to the family circle of the late Billy Craig at this very sad time.

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