William Henry Meredith (July 30, 1874 – April 19, 1958), better known as Billy Meredith, is perhaps one of the most famous names in British football. He was the game's first superstar, and achieved 22 caps for Wales.
Meredith was born in 1874 in Black Park, Chirk, Wales and started work at Black Park colliery as a pit pony driver.
After spells at Chirk and Northwich Victoria, Billy joined Manchester City in October 1894 for an unknown fee. He made his debut against Newcastle in the same month, when City lost 5-4, but the following week Meredith would take the first step to becoming a legend in Manchester by scoring two goals against Newton Heath - who would later become Manchester United - in the first Manchester derby. He was loved by the City fans and would draw huge crowds for any public event he attended.
Meredith's career with City was distinct in two parts. His first time was tarnished by allegations of bribery and in 1904 he was hit with an 18 month ban from playing for City.
In May 1906, he moved to Manchester United, made his debut on January 1, 1907 in a 1-0 win against Aston Villa, and quickly became a firm favourite amongst the fans there. In 1921 he returned to City where he continued to play with his customary toothpick in his mouth until the age of 47. In 1924 he played for City in the FA Cup where he was still able to score against Brighton. His last match was against Newcastle in the semi-finals at the age of 49 years and 245 days, making him the oldest player ever to play in the FA Cup. In total, Billy appeared 390 times for Man City and scored 150 goals.
Billy Meredith died in Withington, Manchester, England in 1958 at the age of 83.
After spending many years in an unmarked grave, the Professional Footballers Association, the Welsh FA, Manchester United and Manchester City, in a remarkable tribute to the man's influence, all agreed to cover the cost of upkeep on a new headstone and, after consultation with Billy's 94-year-old daughter, a special service was held to mark the new gravestone.
Billy is honoured in the Hall of Fame at the City of Manchester Stadium.