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Billy Reid Ancell Babes

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Strangely apt that we play his other senior club tomorrow. Hopefully both sides can show their respect, perhaps black armbands?

RIP and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

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 MOTHERWELL FC 1954/55 – 1961/62

When Motherwell manager George Stevenson signed William (Billy) Reid on his 17th birthday on 31st January 1955 from Wishaw High School he disappointed fifteen top ranking clubs in Scotland and England who had been angling after him for some considerable time. According to the 1955-56 club handbook he was 5’ 6” and 10st when he arrived at Fir Park.  He came from a football background as his father played juvenile and junior football, his younger brother Sammy (who eventually joined Motherwell) played schools and youth football and his uncle was the former ‘Well wing half, Tommy McKenzie who was on the Fir Park staff when Billy arrived. As a teenager he won many honours and prior to arriving at Fir Park he possessed 3 Schools International and 3 Youth International caps.

He proved his worth when playing in the reserve side and scored 7 goals in Division ‘C’, 2 in the Supplementary League and 2 in a friendly against Dumbarton. Billy made his league debut in claret and amber and solitary game in 1954/55 season against Dundee on 26 March 1955, ‘Well lost 2-0.

He also played in the Lanarkshire Cup Final against Airdrie on 14 May 1955 scoring one of the goals in a 3-2 ‘Well win after extra time.

When Bobby Ancell arrived in 1955 he started to sign young players like Billy,  John Martis, Ian St John, Charlie Aitken.

In Ancell’s first league game as Motherwell manager Billy scored in a 5-2 win over East Fife at Fir Park on 10 September 1955, Johnny Aitkenhead with a hat-trick and Alex Bain were the other scorers.

Billy lined up in the first floodlit match at Fir Park against Preston North End on Wednesday 29 February 1956. Unfortunately he was injured after a few minutes and was replaced by Pat Quinn, ‘Well lost 3-2.  The Motherwell team that night was; Weir, Kilmarnock, McSeveney, Forrest, Paton, Aitken, Kerr, Reid, Gardner, S. Brown, Williams.  Scorers for ‘Well were Brown and an own goal from a soon to be famous manager, Tommy Docherty. Preston scorers were Dennis Hatsell, Tommy Thomson and legendary Tom Finney.

According to the 1961/62 club handbook he played in 8 league games during season 1960/61 and 3 league cup fixtures, his last appearance was on Boxing Day 1960 at Fir Park in a 2-1 defeat to Rangers.

Although he appears in the 1961/62 club handbook as being one of the signed players for that season he didn’t play a league game again and moved to Airdrie in October 1961 for £4,500.

In just under 7 years at Fir Park Billy made 73 appearances scoring 11 goals, (56 league/9 goals, 3 Scottish Cup/0 goals & 14 League Cup/2 goals) add to this a number of friendly games during his time.

This is only a brief summary of his career whilst wearing claret & amber but it can be clearly seen that he is one of the clubs legends and long remembered as a member of THE ANCELL BABES.

Condolences to his family, friends & former teammates.

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