Billy Whitehurst was an English professional footballer during the 1980s-1990s.
Billy started his career playing for a number of local teams, one being Mexborough Town 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 Billy 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, Billy’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. He ended his playing days abroad, playing in Northern Ireland, Australia and in Hong Kong with South China before a long-standing knee injury caused his retirement in 1993.
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.”
It has been printed in the press that both Vinnie Jones and Neil “Razor” Ruddock consider Billy as the toughest player they have come across.
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