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The complete history of the Mighty Magpies

Billy Boyd

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Billy Boyd*


5 CFC Games Played

0 CFC Goals

Recruited From
Kew Juniors
Collingwood Debut
Round 2, 1894


There was no bigger name in football in the 1890s than Essendon champion Albert Thurgood. He was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, players of the era. So when a newspaper described a player as “another Thurgood”, it was worth paying attention.

That’s what happened with William ‘Billy’ Boyd, a one-time Collingwood player who seemed to reach his footballing peak years after he left Victoria Park, but never got a second crack at elite level football.

Boyd came to Collingwood in 1894 from the Kew Juniors. He debuted in the second round against Fitzroy and immediately made an impact. “A big powerful young fellow who, although he doesn’t make the fullest use of his height and strength, quite earned his place,” said The Argus. The Sportsman added: “Boyd, a fine strapping specimen of humanity from the Kew district, shaped very fairly on his first appearance in senior ranks. He is a bit slow off the mark, but should improve with experience.”

He played in four of the next five games and continued to attract mostly positive reviews. “Boyd did a lot of useful work forward,” said The Sportsman after one game. “Long Boyd marked well, and was imperturbably good-tempered forward,” said The Australasian after another.

But his senior appearances dried up after the Round 8 game against Port Melbourne at Victoria Park. He was still part of the Magpie scene, regularly being chosen in matchday squads, and he even won a handicap race at a Collingwood Footballers’ carnival held at the end of the season (belying any concerns about his pace). But he couldn’t get back into the senior team.

By 1895, he was plying his trade elsewhere. Hawthorn (a different club to the one we know today) reported that he began playing with them that year, alongside his brother, and in 1896 he played briefly with the Imperials club in WA (the same team in which another former Magpie, Thomas Keenan, was playing).

By 1897 he was back with Hawthorn – and playing as captain. The change seems to have done no harm to his game, and the press reports are full of admiring references. “Boyd’s marking was a treat to witness,” said The Herald after a game against Collingwood Juniors. “Saved his goal many times. Fit for any team. Defended admirably,” said the same paper after a different game. And finally: “Boyd, of Hawthorn, is a second Thurgood.”

While that last claim was undoubtedly hyperbole, it’s clear that the two players did share some characteristics: big, strong, fast, capable of taking a big mark and dominating games. So it was no surprise when whispers began to emerge about Boyd making a return to the highest level.

In August of 1897 he was reported to be about to play with Melbourne in the semi-finals. That didn’t end up happening, but a week later he was named in Collingwood’s squad of possible players for a game that was to have been played on August 14, but which ended up being postponed. When the game was played a week later, Boyd wasn’t to be seen.

And that seems to have been Billy Boyd’s final flirtation with senior football. There was a Boyd playing footy for Fitzroy Crescent around the turn of the century (in one instance getting rubbed out for half a season for charging), but it’s not known whether it was Billy or his brother.

In the end, the Thurgood comparisons didn’t quite stack up for Billy Boyd. But even so, it was a feather in the cap of any 1890s footballer to be likened to the Bomber champ, and it’s something Billy likely held onto for the rest of his days.

– Michael Roberts



CFC Career Stats

Season played Games Goals Finals Win %
0 0 0 %

CFC Season by Season Stats

Season GP GL B K H T D Guernsey No.
  • GPGames Played
  • GLGoals
  • BBehinds
  • KKicks
  • HHandballs
  • TTackles
  • DDisposals

Key Facts

CFC VFA Debut Number


VFA Matches Played at Collingwood
CFC Debut
Round 2, 1894
Recruited From
Kew Juniors
Full Name
F Boyd

* Player statistics include VFA (Victorian Football Association) results.

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