Bill Draper RIP

Paul Vanes writes:

RICHARD WILLIAM WALTER ‘Bill’ DRAPER born Leamington 26th September 1932 and died in Leamington March 2015.

Brakes 1949 Team Photo Bill Draper

Young Bill joined West Bromwich Albion youths from school but was released and moved to Lockheed Leamington after playing for a Boys Club in the area. Bill, an old fashioned centre forward who was fearless made his league debut earlier than originally thought as he was mistakenly named as Ron against Oakham Rovers at Tachbrook Road on 25th January 1949 and he opened his account with goal in a 9-1 victory. He also played in the 4-2 defeat of Coventry Amateurs.

In 1949/50 Bill played at least 8 times scoring twice and by Christmas, had become a National Servicemen doing his stint in the Army which left little time for football and could only manage at least three games and one goal, 1951/52 was a complete blank. Demobbed in January 1953, Bill netted 2 goals in a 5-0 thrashing of Atherstone at Sheepy Road ending the season with 6 goals in 15 games.

1953/54 saw a big improvement in the club as Bill knocked in 30 goals in 43 goals which brought scouts sniffing around including Aston Villa who dangled a full time contract which was not as much money as he was already earning at Lockheed in the Experimental Shop. His last season with the Brakes was highly successful, 43 goals in the same number of games brought scouts flocking to the Birmingham League grounds.

Northampton Town won the race for Bill’s signature and he again refused to sign full time forms and in his one and a bit seasons with the Cobblers scored 22 goals in 52 appearances. He moved back into non league football with Kettering Town and ended as top scorer in each of his three seasons at Rockingham Road amassing 98 goals in 141 games.

Bill’s final move was to Rugby Town in 1960/61 and netted 24 goals in 47 starts, 22 in 44 appearances and finally in 1962/63 he played 13 games and found the net on 5 occasions. His total of 254 goals in 411 games bears tribute to the man with the cannonball shot.

He played in two losing finals, for Kettering in the Maunsell Cup against Northampton Town on May 5th 1960 which was also Bill’s last match with the Poppies and for Rugby Town ironically against Lockheed at Highfield Road on 30th April 1962.

Bill’s son David, who also played for Lockheed, has provided Courier writer Oliver Williams with a great article about his Dad and his post football career which was just as good as can be seen in last week’s paper.

On behalf of all regulars and everyone connected to Leamington Football Club, we offer our deepest and sincere condolences to the Draper Family and Friends at this very sad time.

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