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WILLIAM ROBERT MOON
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"In goal behind them was W.R.Moon. The Corinthians have to thank the playing-field of Westminster for some of their greatest players. Billy Moon was one of those. So good was he that almost up to the time of his retirement, no other goal-keeper was even thought of for the International matches. Oh how he must envy the present-day goal-keeper!"
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William Robert Moon, more popularly known as Billy Moon, was born on June 7th 1868 in London, England, and he quickly asserted himself as a leading talent in the English footballing circuit. While quickly becoming a leading goalkeeper for Corinthian FC and the Old Westministers, The Times quoted Moon as being "one of the best of his generation, whose reach helped him punch the ball with real authority". 

It was with this authority where, in 1888, Moon became the youngest ever Senior goalkeeper for England, debuting in a 5-1 victory against Wales at Nantwich Road, the home of Crewe Alexandra. The match saw Moon team-up with four of his Corinthian FC teammates, Tinsley Lindley, Frank Saunders, Cecil Holden-White and Frederick Dewhurst.

At just 19 years and 222 days old, Moon recorded an impressive unmatched 124 year record, one that was only surpassed in 2012, by Jack Butland - by just 64 days! Moon would go on to play another 6 international matches, captaining the side in his final match against Scotland at Ewood Park on April 4th, 1891.

A 2-1 victory for his England side, Moon was sadly at fault for the Scots late conciliation goal when it was reported he, "for once erred, leaving an easy opening for Frank Watt". Extraordinarily it should be noted, it was the first time goal nets had been used for a match between the two sides.

 


 W.R.Moon pictured here (Bottom Middle), prior to his final match for England against Scotland in a 2-0 victory.
Moon wore the captains armband that day.
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In total, W.R.Moon played a total of 95 games for the Corinthians, becoming the 23rd highest Capped player in the club's illustrious history.

Outside of football, Moon was both a capable Solicitor, as well as a hard hitting wicket-keeper batsman. He fielded finely in the deep cover, earning his cricketing legacy through his suring catches. 

 

W.R.Moon (3rd from right bottom), sitting alongside fellow Corinthian W.S.Gosling (Left bottom) in a London XI that took on Sheffield, on October 22nd 1892. The London side were victorious by a scoreline of 3 goals to nil. 

 

A Times match report of Moon's final game for England read:

Ewood Park, Blackburn, was the scene of the 20th annual match between England and Scotland on Saturday. The weather proved inclement, and the torrents of rain which had fallen during the morning caused the turf to be slippery. There was a great influx of visitors from Scotland, and about 10,000 spectators were present. Large as this number was, it would probably have been still larger but for the chagrin felt by many of the Lancastrians that not a single place was found in the English eleven for the Blackburn Rovers, who recently won the Association Challenge Cup, and on whose ground the match was decided. England were successful in the toss, and elected to have the advantage of the strong wind...

For a long time the Scotch kept up a gallant defence ; but after about 20 minutes' play it was broken through by Goodall, who received the ball from one of the left wings and shot it between the posts. There was a demur as to whether the off-side rule had not been infringed, which, however, was not sustained...

After half an hour's play, a pass from Goodall to Chadwick enabled the latter, by a brilliant shot, to place the second goal to the credit of England. A trifling objection was raised, but negatived...

...A few minutes later Watt guided the ball right up to the posts, and after a little opposition screwed it through, thus scoring for Scotland...

The defence on both sides was excellent, but the winners' advantage lay in their superior forward game ; they passed with great judgment, and their kicking was well-timed and accurate. - The Times, Monday April 6th, 1891

 

Billy Moon, Football Archive, Corinthian 1882

 

 

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