Billy Steel Player Profile

Personal

  • Full Name: William Steel
  • Born: May 1st, 1923 (Denny, Stirlingshire)
  • Died: May 13th, 1982 (Lancaster, California)
  • Height: 5' 6

Career

  • Position: Inside-Left
  • Signed: September 21st, 1950 (£23,500)
  • Date Left Club: July 31st, 1954
  • First Manager: George Anderson
  • Dundee Career Totals:
    131 first team competitive appearances
    45 first team competitive goals
  • Also Played For: Derby County, Greenock Morton, St Mirren


Dundee Career Summary


Competitive Friendlies Other (War)
1950-51 30 8 - - - -
1951-52 35 14 1 1 - -
1952-53 33 14 3 2 - -
1953-54 33 9 1- - -
TOTAL 131 45 5 3 - -

NOTES:
Other Cups may include: Anglo-Scottish Cup, Challenge Cup, Cup Winners' Cup, Drybrough Cup, International Soccer League, League Cup, Summer Cup, Texaco Cup.


Biography


Billy Steel was one of Scotland’s greatest inside forwards who combined a brilliant footballing brain with a busy work ethic and an explosive shot. He was a genius, a maverick, an individual, a joker, the superstar of his day and was arguably the best player ever to play for Dundee Football Club. Signed for a Scottish record fee, he brought with him a national interest in Dundee that had been previously unheard of and brought glory to Dens as the Dark Blues won their first silverware for over four decades just over twelve months after he arrived.

Born in the Stirlingshire village of Denny on May 1st 1923, Billy Steel started his professional career with Leicester City when they nipped in, in front of a host of clubs, to sign the sixteen-year-old but his spell at Filbert Street was short lived when the manager was sacked and no one remembered to renew the young Scot’s contract.

After a short spell at Love Street as an amateur, Billy joined St Mirren’s Renfrewshire neighbours Morton but his stint in Greenock was soon interrupted by the Second World War during which he turned out for the British Army on the Rhine. Re-establishing footballing connections with other teams on the Continent, the team visited France, Holland, Poland, Switzerland, the Channel Islands and Germany, and Steel played alongside such notables as Leslie Compton, Eddie Hapgood and Matt Busby before being demobbed in December 1946, when he returned to Morton.

In 1947, Billy enhanced his growing reputation when he was selected to play for Great Britain against The Rest of Europe at Hampden Park in Glasgow and he turned in a star performance, scoring Britain’s third goal in a 6-1 win. His place as one of the game’s rising stars was now assured and Billy decided to try his luck south of the border once more when Derby County were persuaded to part with a then British record £15,500 for his signature later that year.

By September 1950, ‘The Pocket Dynamo’ had developed into one of the first football superstars who, with seventeen Scottish caps in his locker, was determined to earn enough money from the game to make him financially secure by the time he had retired from playing. His wife however was by then homesick and Billy moved back to Glasgow with her, only travelling down to Derby on match days, but it was an arrangement that was never going to work. As he started to attract interest from clubs north of the border, Billy took the unprecedented step of calling his own press conference to announce that he would be leaving Derby and it looked odds on that he would be going to boyhood heroes Rangers when he started using training facilities at Ibrox.

What the press didn’t know however was that Dundee manager George Anderson had been secretly working on a deal to bring him to Dens and once Billy met the flamboyant Dark Blues boss, he was convinced that Dens Park was the place for him. Steel remembered an act of kindness Anderson had once shown him during the war, when he had organised some food and drink for the train journey home after playing in a five-a-side competition in the Granite City and so was happy to shake hands on a move with the bowler-hatted gentleman.

The genial Aberdonian was a highly persuasive character and on September 21st 1950, Dundee F.C. called a press conference where a beaming Anderson stunned the assembled media by declaring: “Gentlemen, I want to introduce you to Billy Steel, ex-Derby County and now of Dundee!” The country was shocked as the club had paid a Scottish record fee of £23,500 for one of the best known players in British football and it was one of the transfer coups of the century.

Two days later, 34,000 fans, around 8,000 more than normal, turned out for Steel’s debut against Aberdeen and while the flaxen-haired forward clearly lacked match practice, his clever positioning and masterly touches were an inspiration. With only nineteen minutes remaining, Steel became an instant hero to his new adoring public when he scored Dundee’s opener with a low shot and the extinct volcano known as The Law which overlooks the ground almost erupted with the noise.

‘Midget Gem’ had been an automatic choice for Scotland since 1947 and further caps against Wales and Northern Ireland that autumn made Billy Dundee’s first full internationalist since Colin McNab’s Wembley appearance against England in April 1932.

The stocky inside-forward brought power and imagination to the Dundee front-line and by mid-November, they led the Scottish League ‘A’ Division with only one defeat in ten matches. Dundee continued their challenge for the league title and eventually finished third in April but the real glory was to come six months later and Billy was at the very heart of it.

‘Budgem’ as his team mates nicknamed him had outstanding ability which gave him a confidence which was often seen as arrogance and wasn’t welcomed by his fellow players. He had a sharp tongue, which his team mates often found themselves on the wrong end of during the ninety minutes, but the impact he made on the park brought them the success that had slipped from their grasp in previous years.

The first of those successes came in October 1951 when Dundee beat Rangers 3-2 to lift the Scottish League Cup with Billy setting up skipper Alfie Boyd for the winner. Steel was a genius and he knew it and when Dundee won a free kick with only seconds remaining, after Rangers had just drawn level, Billy told Boyd to get in the box, saying to him, “I’ll place it on your head Alfie,” and he did just that as Boyd leapt high to head home from eight yards out from Billy’s high centre.

By the end of the season, Steel had scored six goals on a second ‘Road to Hampden’ but this time Dundee lost out 4-0 to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup Final. Six months later however, they were back on the Hampden trail and became the first side to retain the League Cup when Kilmarnock were put to the sword 2-0, with Billy scoring another six en route to the final.

Steel earned three League caps and thirteen full caps during his time at Dens and in one of those appearances became the first Scotland player to be sent off in May 1951. Billy took umbrage at the treatment dished out to his good friend George Young of Rangers and sought retribution against one of the offending Austrians in a match which became known as the ‘Battle of Vienna’.

His time at Dens lasted four glorious years and his departure from Dundee was in typical Steel fashion when he called another press conference and shocked Scottish football by announcing he was emigrating to the United States. Steel saw out the rest of his days in America where he managed the Los Angeles Danes before taking a job in advertising after retiring and where he sadly died aged just fifty-nine in May 1982.

Billy Steel, ‘Mr. Perpetual Motion’ will never be forgotten at Dens Park where a hospitality lounge and supporters club bear his name and in May 2009, he was inducted into the inaugural Dundee F.C. Hall of Fame, having already been inducted into the S.F.A Hall of Fame three years before.

Steel was a hard little man with bounding vitality who as a perfectionist often did not suffer the short comings of less gifted colleagues, but he was adored on the Dens Park terracing and prior to Claudio Caniggia joining the club fifty years later, no Dundee signing had captured the public imagination and national headlines quite like Billy Steel’s record-breaking move to Dens.

Debut

September 23rd, 1950
Dundee 2 - 0 Aberdeen

League (A Division)


Playing Statistics - First Team Competitive matches (All Seasons)



Competition NPS Win % Draw % Loss %
League 9427- --
Scottish Cup 137- --
League Cup 2411- --
Totals: 13145- --

 Recent Starting Appearances (First Team Competitive matches)
 17/04/54 A Division vs. Partick (H) 6 - 0
 10/04/54 A Division vs. St Mirren (A) 0 - 3
 03/04/54 A Division vs. East Fife (A) 1 - 1
 27/03/54 A Division vs. St Mirren (H) 2 - 0
 20/03/54 A Division vs. Hibernian (A) 0 - 2

 Recent Goals Scored (First Team Competitive matches)
 23/01/54 A Division vs. Hearts (H) 2 - 4
 09/01/54 A Division vs. Hamilton (H) 3 - 2
 01/01/54 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H) 4 - 2
 14/11/53 A Division vs. Airdrie (A) 2 - 2
 10/10/53 A Division vs. Queen of South (H) 4 - 1

 List of First Team Competitive matches played (click to expand)
 17/04/54 A Division vs. Partick (H)  6 - 0
 10/04/54 A Division vs. St Mirren (A)  0 - 3
 03/04/54 A Division vs. East Fife (A)  1 - 1
 27/03/54 A Division vs. St Mirren (H)  2 - 0
 20/03/54 A Division vs. Hibernian (A)  0 - 2
 13/03/54 A Division vs. Stirling Albion (A)  3 - 2
 10/03/54 A Division vs. Airdrie (H)  1 - 0
 27/02/54 3rd Round vs. Berwick (A)  0 - 3
 20/02/54 A Division vs. Celtic (A)  1 - 5
 17/02/54 2nd Round vs. Albion Rovers (H)  4 - 0
 06/02/54 A Division vs. Rangers (A)  0 - 2
 23/01/54 A Division vs. Hearts (H)  2 - 4
 16/01/54 A Division vs. Queen of South (A)  1 - 5
 09/01/54 A Division vs. Hamilton (H)  3 - 2
 02/01/54 A Division vs. Clyde (A)  0 - 2
 01/01/54 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H)  4 - 2
 26/12/53 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (A)  2 - 1
 14/11/53 A Division vs. Airdrie (A)  2 - 2
 07/11/53 A Division vs. Partick (A)  0 - 1
 31/10/53 A Division vs. Celtic (H)  1 - 1
 24/10/53 A Division vs. Rangers (H)  1 - 0
 10/10/53 A Division vs. Queen of South (H)  4 - 1
 03/10/53 A Division vs. Hamilton (A)  3 - 2
 26/09/53 A Division vs. Clyde (H)  2 - 0
 19/09/53 A Division vs. Aberdeen (A)  1 - 1
 12/09/53 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (H)  0 - 0
 05/09/53 A Division vs. Falkirk (A)  0 - 4
 29/08/53 Group 4 vs. Partick (A)  0 - 4
 26/08/53 Group 4 vs. Clyde (H)  4 - 2
 22/08/53 Group 4 vs. Stirling Albion (A)  2 - 0
 15/08/53 Group 4 vs. Partick (H)  1 - 1
 12/08/53 Group 4 vs. Clyde (A)  4 - 2
 08/08/53 Group 4 vs. Stirling Albion (H)  6 - 1
 02/05/53 A Division vs. Rangers (A)  1 - 3
 04/04/53 A Division vs. Celtic (H)  4 - 0
 28/03/53 A Division vs. Partick (A)  3 - 0
 14/03/53 A Division vs. Falkirk (H)  2 - 1
 07/03/53 A Division vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 0
 28/02/53 A Division vs. St Mirren (A)  0 - 0
 21/02/53 A Division vs. East Fife (H)  1 - 1
 14/02/53 A Division vs. Rangers (H)  1 - 1
 07/02/53 2nd Round vs. Rangers (H)  0 - 2
 31/01/53 A Division vs. Hearts (A)  1 - 1
 17/01/53 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (H)  2 - 3
 01/01/53 A Division vs. Aberdeen (A)  2 - 2
 27/12/52 A Division vs. Queen of South (H)  0 - 0
 20/12/52 A Division vs. Motherwell (A)  1 - 2
 13/12/52 A Division vs. Celtic (A)  0 - 5
 06/12/52 A Division vs. Partick (H)  6 - 0
 29/11/52 A Division vs. Airdrie (H)  0 - 2
 22/11/52 A Division vs. Third Lanark (A)  0 - 0
 15/11/52 A Division vs. Hibernian (A)  0 - 3
 08/11/52 A Division vs. St Mirren (H)  0 - 0
 01/11/52 A Division vs. East Fife (A)  2 - 3
 25/10/52 Final vs. Kilmarnock (N)  2 - 0
 11/10/52 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (A)  1 - 1
 04/10/52 Semi Final vs. Hibernian (N)  2 - 1
 20/09/52 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H)  3 - 1
 17/09/52 Quarter Final 2nd Leg vs. Stirling Albion (H)  5 - 0
 13/09/52 Quarter Final 1st Leg vs. Stirling Albion (A)  1 - 3
 30/08/52 Group 4 vs. Clyde (A)  3 - 3
 27/08/52 Group 4 vs. Airdrie (H)  3 - 2
 23/08/52 Group 4 vs. Raith Rovers (A)  2 - 1
 16/08/52 Group 4 vs. Clyde (H)  2 - 2
 13/08/52 Group 4 vs. Airdrie (A)  3 - 1
 09/08/52 Group 4 vs. Raith Rovers (H)  2 - 1
 26/04/52 A Division vs. Third Lanark (H)  6 - 0
 19/04/52 Final vs. Motherwell (N)  0 - 4
 12/04/52 A Division vs. Partick (H)  0 - 2
 09/04/52 A Division vs. Hibernian (A)  1 - 3
 29/03/52 Semi Final vs. Third Lanark (N)  2 - 0
 22/03/52 A Division vs. Airdrie (H)  0 - 1
 08/03/52 Quarter Final vs. Aberdeen (H)  4 - 0
 01/03/52 A Division vs. St Mirren (H)  3 - 0
 23/02/52 3rd Round vs. Berwick (H)  1 - 0
 16/02/52 A Division vs. Motherwell (H)  1 - 2
 13/02/52 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (A)  2 - 1
 09/02/52 2nd Round vs. Wigtown & B'noch (A)  7 - 1
 26/01/52 1st Round vs. Ayr Utd (H)  4 - 0
 19/01/52 A Division vs. Celtic (A)  1 - 1
 12/01/52 A Division vs. Morton (A)  0 - 3
 05/01/52 A Division vs. Hearts (H)  3 - 3
 02/01/52 A Division vs. Rangers (A)  2 - 1
 01/01/52 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H)  3 - 2
 29/12/51 A Division vs. Third Lanark (A)  2 - 0
 25/12/51 A Division vs. Partick (A)  3 - 1
 22/12/51 A Division vs. Stirling Albion (H)  4 - 1
 15/12/51 A Division vs. Airdrie (A)  3 - 4
 17/11/51 A Division vs. Queen of South (H)  0 - 0
 03/11/51 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (H)  2 - 0
 27/10/51 Final vs. Rangers (N)  3 - 2
 20/10/51 A Division vs. Celtic (H)  2 - 1
 13/10/51 Semi Final vs. Motherwell (N)  5 - 1
 29/09/51 A Division vs. Rangers (H)  1 - 0
 22/09/51 A Division vs. Aberdeen (A)  1 - 3
 20/09/51 Quarter Final 2nd Leg vs. Falkirk (H)  2 - 1
 29/08/51 Group 3 vs. Hearts (A)  2 - 5
 25/08/51 Group 3 vs. St Mirren (H)  0 - 1
 18/08/51 Group 3 vs. Raith Rovers (H)  5 - 0
 15/08/51 Group 3 vs. Hearts (H)  2 - 1
 11/08/51 Group 3 vs. St Mirren (A)  2 - 2
 28/04/51 A Division vs. Partick (A)  1 - 1
 07/04/51 A Division vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 2
 02/04/51 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (H)  2 - 0
 31/03/51 A Division vs. Clyde (H)  1 - 1
 24/03/51 A Division vs. Airdrie (A)  0 - 2
 17/03/51 A Division vs. East Fife (H)  2 - 4
 10/03/51 Quarter Final vs. Raith Rovers (H)  1 - 2
 03/03/51 A Division vs. St Mirren (A)  2 - 2
 24/02/51 A Division vs. Third Lanark (H)  2 - 1
 17/02/51 A Division vs. Motherwell (A)  2 - 0
 10/02/51 2nd Round vs. St Johnstone (A)  3 - 1
 31/01/51 1st Round Replay vs. Dundee Utd (A)  1 - 0
 27/01/51 1st Round vs. Dundee Utd (H)  2 - 2
 20/01/51 A Division vs. Celtic (H)  3 - 1
 06/01/51 A Division vs. Falkirk (A)  1 - 2
 01/01/51 A Division vs. Aberdeen (A)  0 - 1
 30/12/50 A Division vs. Rangers (H)  2 - 0
 23/12/50 A Division vs. Hearts (A)  1 - 1
 16/12/50 A Division vs. Airdrie (H)  3 - 0
 09/12/50 A Division vs. East Fife (A)  3 - 1
 02/12/50 A Division vs. Hibernian (A)  0 - 2
 25/11/50 A Division vs. St Mirren (H)  5 - 0
 18/11/50 A Division vs. Third Lanark (A)  0 - 2
 11/11/50 A Division vs. Motherwell (H)  0 - 0
 04/11/50 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (A)  1 - 0
 28/10/50 A Division vs. Partick (H)  3 - 2
 14/10/50 A Division vs. Clyde (A)  1 - 2
 07/10/50 A Division vs. Falkirk (H)  2 - 0
 30/09/50 A Division vs. Morton (A)  3 - 2
 23/09/50 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 0

 List of First Team Competitive goals scored (click to expand)
 23/01/54 A Division vs. Hearts (H)  2 - 4
 09/01/54 A Division vs. Hamilton (H)  3 - 2
 01/01/54 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H)  4 - 2
 14/11/53 A Division vs. Airdrie (A)  2 - 2
 10/10/53 A Division vs. Queen of South (H)  4 - 1
 26/09/53 A Division vs. Clyde (H)  2 - 0
 26/08/53 Group 4 vs. Clyde (H)  4 - 2
 08/08/53 Group 4 vs. Stirling Albion (H)  6 - 1
 08/08/53 Group 4 vs. Stirling Albion (H)  6 - 1
 28/03/53 A Division vs. Partick (A)  3 - 0
 14/03/53 A Division vs. Falkirk (H)  2 - 1
 07/03/53 A Division vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 0
 17/01/53 A Division vs. Raith Rovers (H)  2 - 3
 06/12/52 A Division vs. Partick (H)  6 - 0
 06/12/52 A Division vs. Partick (H)  6 - 0
 06/12/52 A Division vs. Partick (H)  6 - 0
 01/11/52 A Division vs. East Fife (A)  2 - 3
 04/10/52 Semi Final vs. Hibernian (N)  2 - 1
 17/09/52 Quarter Final 2nd Leg vs. Stirling Albion (H)  5 - 0
 17/09/52 Quarter Final 2nd Leg vs. Stirling Albion (H)  5 - 0
 23/08/52 Group 4 vs. Raith Rovers (A)  2 - 1
 23/08/52 Group 4 vs. Raith Rovers (A)  2 - 1
 16/08/52 Group 4 vs. Clyde (H)  2 - 2
 29/03/52 Semi Final vs. Third Lanark (N)  2 - 0
 08/03/52 Quarter Final vs. Aberdeen (H)  4 - 0
 08/03/52 Quarter Final vs. Aberdeen (H)  4 - 0
 09/02/52 2nd Round vs. Wigtown & B'noch (A)  7 - 1
 09/02/52 2nd Round vs. Wigtown & B'noch (A)  7 - 1
 26/01/52 1st Round vs. Ayr Utd (H)  4 - 0
 19/01/52 A Division vs. Celtic (A)  1 - 1
 05/01/52 A Division vs. Hearts (H)  3 - 3
 02/01/52 A Division vs. Rangers (A)  2 - 1
 29/12/51 A Division vs. Third Lanark (A)  2 - 0
 15/12/51 A Division vs. Airdrie (A)  3 - 4
 29/09/51 A Division vs. Rangers (H)  1 - 0
 20/09/51 Quarter Final 2nd Leg vs. Falkirk (H)  2 - 1
 18/08/51 Group 3 vs. Raith Rovers (H)  5 - 0
 07/04/51 A Division vs. Hibernian (H)  2 - 2
 31/03/51 A Division vs. Clyde (H)  1 - 1
 31/01/51 1st Round Replay vs. Dundee Utd (A)  1 - 0
 16/12/50 A Division vs. Airdrie (H)  3 - 0
 16/12/50 A Division vs. Airdrie (H)  3 - 0
 28/10/50 A Division vs. Partick (H)  3 - 2
 30/09/50 A Division vs. Morton (A)  3 - 2
 23/09/50 A Division vs. Aberdeen (H)  2 - 0

  = Starting Appearances (Sub Appearances) | = Goals | NPS = Squad Appearances (as Non-Playing Sub) | GtGR = Goals to Games Ratio
 Yel = Yellow Cards/Cautions | Red = Red Cards/Dismissals | W/D/L - Games won, drawn or lost as percentage of games played in


Timeline


  • Date of Birth


  • International Debut


  • Signed For Dundee


  • First Team Debut

    Dundee 2 - 0 Aberdeen
    League (A Division)


  • First Goal

    Dundee 2 - 0 Aberdeen
    League (A Division)


  • 50th Appearance

    Dundee 3 - 3 Hearts
    League (A Division)


  • 50th League Appearance

    East Fife 3 - 2 Dundee
    League (A Division)


  • 100th Appearance

    Clyde 2 - 4 Dundee
    League Cup (Group 4)


  • Last Appearance

    Dundee 6 - 0 Partick
    League (A Division)


  • Left the Club



International Career (Scotland)


Caps: 30

Goals: 12

International Debut: April 12th, 1946 v. England

Billy Steel made thirteen appearances and scored five goals for Scotland while as a Dundee player.

Four of these goals came in in a 6-1 victory over Northern Ireland at Hampden. All Steels' goals came in a 26 minute period in the second half.

Steel also holds the 'honour' of being the first Scottish player to be sent off for the national side in May 1951 during a 4-0 defeat away to Austria.