Tributes paid to Aberdeen football hero Billy Chalmers

The victorious Sunnybank team that won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1954.
The victorious Sunnybank team that won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1954.

Tributes have been paid after the death of one of the last surviving players of Sunnybank’s greatest ever football team.

Billy Chalmers, 92, was part of the Sunnybank squad of 1954, which became the first team from the North region to lift the Scottish Junior Cup since its inception in 1887.

Billy, who was born in Old Aberdeen, scored the winning goal to secure a 2-1 win over Lochee Harp – but the players had to celebrate on their way back to Aberdeen with a gruelling journey on an overnight mail train.

The historic day was witnessed by 22,000 fans at Hampden.

Sunnybank captain Bobby Simpson receives the trophy at Hampden
Sunnybank captain Bobby Simpson receives the trophy at Hampden

Graham Davidson, Billy’s son-in-law, today said the talented footballer was modest about his achievements.

He said: “It was very emotional when he passed away.

“It was a fantastic achievement to have won the Scottish Junior Cup.

“Billy had a brother called Jimmy Chalmers who played professionally for Dunfermline before emigrating to New Zealand.

“He was never one to blow his trumpet.

“You would tease information out of him, but he did come out with a lot of good stories.

“He was a real sporty man who just loved football.He was a right winger and went on to serve on Sunnybank’s committee.”

Despite the early morning arrival time after the cup win, the players and committee were stunned to be welcomed by hundreds of cheering Sunnybank fans.

The team, which included Aberdeen legend Teddy Scott, were rewarded with a civic reception for their cup heroics.

On the road to lifting the cup at Hampden, the all-conquering Sunnybank had seen off the top three sides in the country.

Four of the legends in the team, including Billy, linked up for the first time in 2004 – 50 years on to relive their past glories.

Graham recalled the moment he read the Aberdeen Through The Decades – 1950s magazine to Billy. He said: “On the very front page there was a photo of the Sunnybank team and before he passed away, I got a copy of it and read it out to him.

“He really enjoyed it and it brought back a lot of good memories.”

“We think he was the last remaining squad member of the Sunnybank side to have still been alive,” said Graham. “It was an amazing story to have Sunnybank winning the Scottish Cup.”

The victorious Sunnybank team that won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1954.
The victorious Sunnybank team that won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1954.

Billy had a number of interests, including Dee Swimming Club, which he was a part of for around 50 years.

Graham added: “Billy had a good life and was the honorary president of Dee Swimming Club. He was the driving force when the club had its premises on Catherine Street and he was instrumental in getting a move to the current venue at Gerrard Street.

“Billy had a fantastic career as a footballer.”

Billy is survived by his wife Chrissie, his two daughters Irene and Moira, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Billy and Chrissie lived in Sheddocksley for 59 years before moving to sheltered accommodation in Bridge of Don where he died last week.

His funeral will be held at The Aberdeen Funeral Home, 49 Causewayend, on Wednesday at 1pm, followed by a private cremation.

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