Willie Irvine

Football, Football player

1943 –


Who is Willie Irvine?

William John "Willie" Irvine is a former professional footballer who played as a centre forward. Born in Eden, County Antrim, into a large family, he grew up in the nearby town of Carrickfergus. He did well at school, but chose to pursue a career in professional football and initially played for local club Linfield. After a spell in amateur football, Irvine travelled to England for a trial with Burnley at the age of 16. He was offered a professional deal and spent three years playing for the youth and reserve teams, before making his senior debut at the end of the 1962–63 season. Over the following seasons, Irvine became a regular feature of the Burnley team and in the 1965–66 campaign, he scored 29 goals and was the highest goalscorer in the Football League First Division.

Irvine lost his place in the Burnley team after suffering a broken leg during a cup tie in 1967, and never properly regained his form for the club. He was later transfer listed, and joined local rivals Preston North End in March 1968. In the Football League Second Division, he began to score goals again and was Preston's top goalscorer in the 1968–69 season despite suffering a serious leg injury which forced him to miss much of the campaign. When Alan Ball was named Preston manager in the summer of 1970, Irvine found himself out of the team. He joined Brighton & Hove Albion in July 1971 after impressing during a loan spell earlier in the year. He moved to Halifax Town midway through the 1972–73 season, but left the club after six months. Irvine ended his football career with a spell at semi-professional Great Harwood, before retiring at the age of 29.

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Jun 18, 1943
  • Northern Ireland

on July 23, 2013


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