In Memory of 'Billy' Minter
Community fundraising effort provides memorial to the record goal-scorer of St Albans FC and Hertfordshire FA.
Wilfred ‘Billy’ Minter, who scored 356 goals in 362 games for St Albans City, has now been given the recognition he deserves with an official headstone by his grave.
It comes following a longstanding campaign by fans of the club, who collected just short of £2,700 to pay for the memorial, including a generous donation from Hertfordshire FA.
Minter, who died in 1984 aged 86, won three amateur caps for England. He also scored an incredible 57 goals in just 37 games for Hertfordshire FA. Much to the joy of those behind the headstone appeal, the monument was erected in time for the 95th anniversary of one of Minter’s most memorable feats.
On 22 November 1922, he scored a remarkable seven goals in an FA Cup match against Dulwich Hamlet but still ended up on the losing side as the South London side ran out 8-7 winners.
Hertfordshire FA Director and former St Albans City FC stalwart, Steve Trulock was quick to praise the actions of the club’s fans saying:
“In today’s age where so often greed and selfishness seem to be the norm, it is so good to see a group of supporters working together and donating their own money in such a good cause.
It came to the fans attention that their greatest hero was buried in an unmarked grave, and lead by David Tavener the campaign was started to right the wrong.
Having been associated with St. Albans City FC for many years I know how respected and admired the memory of Wilfred Minter is, even though most supporters who contributed to the fund had never met him.
As a boy selling programmes at the City from the age of 10 I personally met Mr Minter on many occasions, and even in his final years he still came down to the ground to support the club.
I remember a particularly incident when the club were near the bottom of the league and things weren’t going well on the pitch, a supporter jokingly asked him if he had brought his boots !”
The headstone is now erected in the Hatfield Road cemetery and I am sure this will be a place of pilgrimage for the supporters as it is less than ½ mile from the stadium.
The fundraising campaign is officially around £400 shy of its £2,700 target and the crowdfunding page will remain open until the end of the month.
Donate to the Billy Minter Appeal Just Giving Page
The One & Only - WH Minter Headstone Appeal
(The story was written by David Tavenor and Peter A. Taylor and initially published in the St Albans City FC programme on 11/03/2017)
DONATE TO THE BILLY MINTER APPEAL JUST GIVING PAGE
Back in the roaring twenties Wilfred Harry ‘Billy’ Minter was the local boy ‘done good’ and back then most of the St Albans City players had roots in the area. He attended the Hatfield Road School (no longer in existence) and then worked with his father in his store on Culver Road, later taking ownership of it.
Born on the 11th February 1898, Minter saw action with the Royal Field Artillery in Mesopotamia during the Great War and confessed to playing a good number of football matches while stationed there. He was demobbed after four years in 1919 and then began working for his father.
He played for Hatfield Road Old Boys before making his St Albans City debut on 5th February 1921 in a 4-1 win over Bromley at Clarence Park in the Athenian League. Minter failed to score in that game, but he did score in 14 of the next 15 St Albans matches. His 100th and 300th goals both came against Wimbledon, with his 300th goal coming in just 263 appearances.
He once scored in 11 consecutive matches, and during Minter’s 362 games for the club, they won the Athenian League twice and the Isthmian League three times.
Minter also gained three caps for the England Amateur Team and remains the record scorer for the Hertfordshire County FA Squads, scoring 57 goals in just 37 games.
However, for all of his remarkable achievements, Wilfred Minter will forever be remembered for a most astonishing game of football played at Champion Hill, home of Dulwich Hamlet on a Wednesday Afternoon on 22nd November 1922. He scored seven times that day, his highest ever tally, but was on the losing side as Hamlet, with virtually the last kick of the game, won 8-7.
The game has ensured that his name will forever live on in football history as it came in a 4th Round Qualifying Replay of the FA Cup and is likely to remain as the highest score by an individual on the losing side of an FA Cup tie.
He grew up with his St Albans City FC team-mates and some, such as right-back Harold Figg, remained as a friend for life. When the time came to give up his father’s shop he joined De Havilland in Hatfield in 1953 where he stayed until retiring in March 1964 at the age of 65.
Minter sadly passed away in 1984 and was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in the London Road cemetery.
Last month a campaign was launched to rectify this situation and have a headstone erected on his grave. Former St Albans City FC Chairman Ian Ridley was the first to come forward with a donation and from there it has snowballed, in little over a week £1,500 had been pledged.
The campaign is hoping to raise £2,700 and have just announced the opening of a ‘JustGiving’ page where those who have pledged and anyone new wishing to make a contribution, can send their donation.
If you would like to make a pledge and be kept informed as to how the appeal is progressing then please email David Tavener at firstname.lastname@example.org