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Billy Hampson

Billy Hampson (26 August 1882 – 24 February 1966) was an English football player and later manager.

Hampson was born in Radcliffe, Lancashire. He played for Rochdale, Bury and Norwich City before moving to Newcastle United for £1,250 in January, 1914. However before Hampson could properly settle at the club, war broke out later that year and Newcastle closed St James' Park. Hampson was determined to continue playing, and joined Leeds City as a 'guest' player during the war. He was a regular, turning out in 91 matches between December 1916 and April 1919 and helping them to win the unofficial title of League Champions in 1918.

When the war ended he returned to Newcastle at the age of 37 but found he had lost his place in the first team to an even older player, Billy McCracken. Hampson pledged to fight for a first-team place at the club and was granted it when McCracken left in 1923 to manage Hull City. He went on to become the oldest FA Cup finalist ever when he appeared in the 1924 Final, in which Newcastle beat Aston Villa 2-0. Hampson was 41 years and eight months old at the time.

He stayed at Newcastle for the next three years, before leaving for nearby South Shields in September 1927. He continued playing until March 1930, when he finally retired at the age of 47. He was back in the game instantly as he took over as manager of lowly Carlisle United later that month. His time at the club was largely unsuccessful as the team finished 15th and conceded 101 goals in his first campaign. However he did unearth two footballing gems in Bill Shankly and Bob Batey, who went on to have excellent reputations. He left the club in May, 1933.

He had a short stint in charge of Ashington back in the north-east before taking over from Dick Ray as manager of Leeds United in March 1935. They finished 18th at the end of his first season in charge. Hampson felt the team need experienced players which prompted him to sign former England internationals, goalkeeper Albert McInroy and forward George Brown, in the summer. The signings didn't prove to have a great effect on the club's fortunes, but they consolidated their First Division status in the few years before World War II. They avoided relegation by just two points in 1936-37. Hampson began to develop a lot of young players, leading to Leeds' only Central League win that same season. He was also known for scouting Ireland for young players. His squad generally consisted of both youth and experience but by the team football officially restarted after the war, in 1946-47, these players were well past their best. Hampson stood by his pre-war squad which proved to be the downfall.

Leeds had a dreadful season, with only one point taken away from Elland Road and just six victories all year. They finished bottom with eighteen points - fifteen points away from safety. Hampson resigned soon after the relegation and was replaced by former Leeds player Willis Edwards in April 1947. Hampton continued working at the club until October of that year as the chief scout, before coaching in schools football.

In total Hampson held the post of Leeds United manager for 12 years. However, as that period spanned the Second World War, he was only in charge for five seasons of official football.

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