St Albans' record-breaking goal scorer is finally given gravestone
PUBLISHED: 21:00 09 November 2017
The grave of a St Albans footballing legend has been memorialised with a headstone after nearly a century laying in unmarked land.
Wilfred “Billy” Minter played for Hatfield Road Old Boys before sidestepping to St Albans City Football Club and the Herts County XI throughout the 1920s - he was a record-breaking scorer with 356 goals in 362 games for SAFC and 57 in 37 matches for Herts.
He also holds the record for the number of goals scored by a single person in an FA Cup tie on the losing side. He netted seven times in an 8-7 defeat against Dulwich Hamlet in a fourth round qualifying replay of the FA Cup at Champion Hill.
In 1923 he was invited to play on the England squad in Sweden, but declined. He helped SAFC win the Athenian League twice, the Isthmian League three times, and reach the semi-final of the Amateur Cup.
Billy did not ease up for friendlies, racking up 72 goals in 67 for-fun matches.
SAFC historians and campaigners, David Tavener and Peter Taylor, have been raising money to fund a memorial on his unmarked 1984 London Road grave and searching for the plot owners for permission.
After months of hard work, they tracked down long-lost owner Bryan Chapman and fundraised just enough to get the project underway. The £2,700 headstone has now been erected.
David said: “I am absolutely delighted, when I went down to see it the sun was shining on it and it looked really good.
“We are really pleased, it’s gone down really well and it’s a fitting tribute to him - we had to wait a long time because we first spoke about it 15 years ago - but it’s superb.”
It was crafted by stonemasons at Phillips Memorials.
Lots of fans stepped up to help, including famous TalkSport presenter Adrian Durham and SAFC supporter Matt Newby. Matt said: “I’m proud to contribute to the memory of a man who brought so much to this club. We still get a lot of reference in the media to his FA Cup record.”
Billy was born locally and lived his entire life in St Albans - working at his father’s shop before taking over the family business.