Huddersfield Town legend Billy Smith became the first player in English football to score directly from a corner
- Billy Smith scored the first ever goal from a corner in 1924
- Today marks the 96th anniversary of the strike against Arsenal
- Billy Smith made over 500 appearances for Town, scoring 126 goals
Today marks the 96-year anniversary that Huddersfield Town legend Billy Smith became the first player in English football to score directly from a corner kick.
The goal came in a 4-0 win over Arsenal at home in the season where Huddersfield Town earned its second consecutive First Division title.
The rules of the game had just been amended in that special year of 1924 that would assure Billy’s goal was legitimate. Smith remains the first to do it with one kick, still a rarity even in the modern game.
‘The Great’, as he is commonly known, is one of the most iconic players to have taken the field for Town. Born in Tantobie, County Durham in 1895, Smith played for Huddersfield for 21 years between 1913 and 1934, being one of the first players to see the introduction of the now iconic blue and white stripes.
Smith played as an inside-left or winger in a traditional 2-3-5 formation commonly used at the time, playing an integral part to the successes of the all-conquering Town teams of the 1920s under the genius tutelage of Herbert Chapman.
A 21-year career at Leeds Road ended with 574 total appearances, amassing 126 goals in that space of time. Amongst the Huddersfield Town history buffs, he will be remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 1922 FA Cup Final against Preston North End. Smith made team history with the Club as Town won the First Division three times in a row, but he made history himself two years later.
Billy Smith retired in 1935 after a brief player-manager spell at Rochdale. The game that had given him so much and given joy to thousands would sadly take his life only 16 years later in 1951.
A mistreated footballing injury ended with cancer claiming one of Huddersfield’s adopted sons but his legacy has lived through the generations with his son Conway playing for the club between 1945-51 as well as his grandson Robert, who played in the last ever game at the Leeds Road ground in 1994.