- Billy Hardy (footballer)
Hardy began his career at his hometown club
Bedlington F.C.before moving to Scotlandwith Hearts quickly followed by a one-year spell at Stockport County. In 1911 he signed for Cardiff City and it was there his career flourished. Having joined the club when they were playing in the Southern League he was an ever present for the next decade before Cardiff joined the Football Leaguein 1920. His first ever match in the Football league was against his former side Stockport County and he was the clubs only ever-present player in the 1920-21 season.
Incredibly Hardy continued to be ever-present in the following decade for the Bluebirds, including both of their
FA Cupfinal appearances in 1925 and 1927. Instantly recognisable - he was stocky and practically bald from an early age - he played his last ever game for Cardiff in March 1932 in a 1-0 win over Gillingham at the age of 41 and when he left the club he had played in a total of 585 first team games. After leaving Cardiff he managed Bradford Park Avenue for four years, later working as a chief scout at the Yorkshireclub.
Despite his unquestionable ability Hardy was never selected for the
England national football team. It was often thought he was denied an international cap because he played for a Welsh team.
Billy Hardy's long career with Cardiff established him as a hero in the town. Described by a local newspaper as "the idol of all South Wales," it was said that when he appeared on a newsreel shown in Cardiff cinemas, the audience cheered for 10 minutes."South Wales Echo", 20 February 1922.]
Following his retirement he ran the Dolphin Hotel in
Somersetuntil 1949 when he emigrated with his wife Olive to Tasmaniawhere he ran a grocery store. They returned to Cardiffin February 1963 eventually moving to Teignmouthin Devon. Hardy died in March 1981 in Iver, Buckinghamshireat the age of 89. ["Player, coach, manager, hotelier and grocer" The Cardiff City Miscellany pg.31]
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