Jump to content

Anyone remember.... Big Billy

Big Geordie

Recommended Posts



William "Billy" Whitehurst was an English professional footballer during the 1980s-1990s and was widely regarded as the hardest man to have played the game. Respected BBC football pundit Alan Hansen claims that Whitehurst was the hardest footballer he played against, whilst other notable football hardmen Neil "Razor" Ruddock and Vinnie Jones have both stated that Whitehurst was the hardest opponent they faced. Indeed Whitehurst is alleged to have beaten up Jones whilst the two were team mates at Sheffield United.


Whitehurst was born on June 20 in 1959 in Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire and started his career playing for a number of local teams, in the semi - professional leagues,whilst working for the local council as a bricklayer. He eventually made the move into the professional ranks with Hull City in 1980 and after a shaky start soon cemented his place as one of the most popular players to have ever played for the club. His upturn in form had not gone un-noticed and he joined Newcastle United in 1985 as their then record signing. Despite playing in a side featuring Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne, the move did not work out and following a spat with his own supporters Whitehurst joined Oxford United, where it was rumoured he supplemented his football earnings by engaging in bare knuckle boxing bouts with local gypsies.


The move there was similarly disappointing and Whitehurst became something of a footballing wanderer, playing for a further six football league clubs. Spells at Reading, Sunderland, Sheffield United, Stoke City, Doncaster Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and a second spell at Hull City produced mixed results. However Whitehurst's hard man persona and colourful off field antics ensured he always caused a reaction and cemented his place as something of a cult figure within the game. Whitehurst ended his playing days abroad, playing in Northern Ireland, Australia and Hong Kong before a long-standing knee injury caused his retirement in 1993.


After his football career ended Whitehurst ran several pubs in his native South Yorkshire, however he gave up his license following an alleged assault on a customer for which he was eventually found not guilty. Whitehurst again hit the headlines in 2005 when he was convicted of a £12,000 benefit fraud after failing to declare a footballer's pension whilst he claimed unemployment benefit. Whitehurst claimed the matter was an oversight and he was given a probation order. In mitigation he also admitted to a long standing addiction to gambling which had cost him much of his earnings as a footballer. Today he does occasional work on building sites and trains greyhounds. He has made forays into the after-dinner-speaking circuit and is planning an autobiography entitled "Football's hardest man."




I was about 12/13 when we signed Billy Whitehurst - he'd done well at Hull and built himself a fearsome reputation in the lower leagues. So, Willie McFaul went out and paid £250000 for his services - think it equaled the club record at the time.


Billy was something or a one off on the football field. An extremely hard, hard man who would eat the likes of Roy Keane and Patrick Viera for breakfast. He was big, powerful, and downright dirty. He must have been an absolute nightmare to mark for an opposing centre half. Indeed, Alan Hansen noted he was the player that he feared facing the most, in the whole of his illustrious career.


However, after a reasonable start, Billy clearly wasn't happy and departed for Oxford United after flicking the V's at some of our lot - think it might have been a League Cup game. At that point, he jumped and moved like a bag of cement, so it was no great loss.


He then did a tour of a few clubs (including the mackems), before he retired in the early/mid 90's. Since then, he's been in a bit of bother as you may have read above.


I remember reading one story about him on the net some years ago, about him jacking off to a porno infront of his room-mate at the time. I'm buggered if I can find that story now !


Anyone else remember Big Billy ?  bluebiggrin.gif





Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of his own team mates when he was at Newcastle were genuinely afraid of him.


He was a real hard case. And looked it, he really was built like a brick shithouse.




He played like a brick shithouse as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was reading earlier - apparently it was Bracewell who tackled Whitehurst, but he came off worst.


It was also around the time where a fella in the East Stand used to do an Indian call at home games. I wonder whatever happened to him ?  blueconfused.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whitehurst had to have a special extra-large set of shorts mad for him, as the club didn't haveone big enough ....!

Remember the tackle with Bracewell - was at SJP, Boxing Day 1985 v Everton. It was Bracewell who went into the tackle, but 'Billy the Brick' saw it coming and ensured that Bracewell came off worst...

Was quite a good game, a 2-2 draw with a great goal from Peter Beardsley and another good one from Gazza.

As has been said, Whitehurst would have just had to LOOK at Keane and the former Man U 'hardman'

would have fainted......!! Pity they played at different times ... would have been worth the admission alone to see that contest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite playing in a side featuring Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne, the move did not work out and following a spat with his own supporters Whitehurst joined Oxford United, where it was rumoured he supplemented his football earnings by engaging in bare knuckle boxing bouts with local gypsies.




Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest Billy Whitehurst

A truly dreadful footballer.


I chose my nickname to remind me that no matter how bad things are now, they'll never be as bad as when that big useless lump played for us.


Even at the top of his game, he wouldn't have looked out of place playing pub football.


We may have had some dross playing for us recently but none of them even come close to Big Billy's shiteness.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest thenorthumbrian

Whitehurst might have been hard ...but he was utter shite as a footballer.

Aye, he was ****ing well hard though.


As shite footballers go he was the hardest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite a throw back but I don't think he would have stood a chance against the players of even 20 years earlier - people like Jim Scoular


and there were some guys who played for teams like Bradford who would be inside for 20+ years now

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest reefatoon

I remember being at one particular game with Billy playing.


I think it might have been Birmingham at home in a cup, and we had a young right winger called Paul Stephenson at the time.


Well the opposition left back was sticking the boot in to Stephenson everytime he was getting the ball, and you could see his head going down.


So after this one tackle, Stephenson was getting up and Billy Whitehurst went over to him, He had a little chat with him and then Billy started pointing at the left back as if to say "is that him?". Well as play started again, Whitehurst made his way over to the left back and said something to him, you could only imagine what it was like because after that the left back went nowhere near Stephenson again after that.


All these years later and i still remember that.


Complete heed the ball and crap footballer but he did look after the youngun's on the pitch.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest East Stander

Did Whitehurst break Paul Bracewells leg?


I seem to remember him almost snapping someone in half with a crunching tackle at St James'.


That would probably be when we played Monterrey in a pre season friendly in 1986. You could hear the clattering (and resulting squeal) all around the ground.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ex-Blade Billy in benefits swindle


FORMER Blades striker Billy Whitehurst has narrowly escaped jail for fiddling £12,000 benefits.

During his career Whitehurst played for several top clubs and was described by TV pundit Alan Hansen as the opponent he had feared the most.

But, as a footballer whose career ended in 1993, Whitehurst never earned the big money associated with today's top players, Barnsley magistrates heard.

And when the one-time Thurnscoe brickie's career ended, he turned to gambling and in just one day at the races, lost his year's income from investments.

Whitehurst, aged 45, of School Street, Great Houghton, and whose other clubs included Newcastle, Sunderland and Doncaster Rovers, pleaded guilty to six charges of falsely obtaining money from the department of work and pensions and asked for other offences to be taken into consideration.

Prosecutor Gerald Casey said Whitehurst had signed forms saying he was not in receipt of any other income when in fact he had an occupational pension of £322 a month and was paid £12,232 in benefits that he was not entitled to.

Steve Smith, defending, said: "He was a top player at a time when footballers did not get the financial rewards they get these days." He said when Whitehurst retired he had a legacy of footballing injuries to his back, knees and ankles which made him incapable of doing most jobs.

To make matters worse he enjoyed gambling and when he retired and found work difficult he turned more and more to gambling as a "solace".

"His entire annuity went in one day, his wife of 20 years showed him the door, it broke down his marriage, many of his so called friends and hangers-on deserted him and he is now living in rented accommodation," he said

But Mr Smith said since fully admitting his false benefit claims, Whitehurst had finally admitted his addiction to gambling and his wife has indicated she will have him back. "He admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity and had admitted his gambling problems. He is at last facing his demons."

Chairman of the bench David Dennis sentenced Whitehurst to an 18-month rehabilitation order and ordered him to pay £120 costs.

He said: "It is always sad when somebody who has been respected and admired by lots of people goes off the rails, but the fact is that you have broken the law and these are serious offences. If you had not immediately pleaded guilty it is almost certain you would have been given a custodial sentence."

Whitehurst declined to comment on gambling losses and described his soccer earnings as "a pittance".

In 1991 he was fined £250 after admitting failing to take a breath test and obstructing a police officer. In 2000 he was cleared of assaulting a woman drinker and causing affray during a row at the pub he then ran, the Butcher's Arms in Thurnscoe. As police prepared to revoke his licence, Whitehurst surrendered it saying: "I've had enough of running a pub and it's become too much hassle."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite a throw back but I don't think he would have stood a chance against the players of even 20 years earlier - people like Jim Scoular


and there were some guys who played for teams like Bradford who would be inside for 20+ years now

Aye, me Dad often goes on about Jimmy Scoular. Nails he reckons, good player too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My memory of Billy Whitearse is when I used to have my season ticket in the benches,a fan shouted some constructive critisism towards him and he stopped running faced towards the direction of the heckler and did the 'wanker sign'

Don't thing he would make the Top 50 Toon No.9s list bluebigrazz.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...