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Rovers sadness over former player’s passing

Prolific Rovers goalscorer Bill Holmes has sadly passed away at the age of 94

3 December 2020

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Rovers are saddened to learn that one of the club’s oldest surviving players, Bill Holmes, has passed away at the age of 94.

Born in Hunslet, West Yorkshire, Holmes started his career as an amateur with Wolves, before representing Doncaster Rovers in the Football League in the early 50s.

After playing non-league football with Morecambe, the forward joined Rovers midway through the 1951-52 Second Division season and made a sensational start to life at Ewood Park.

A team-mate of club legend Ronnie Clayton, Holmes scored on his debut in a 4-2 victory at home to Queens Park Rangers on New Year’s Day 1952.

In fact, he netted in each of his first five appearances for Rovers and scored seven goals in his first seven games for the club in league and cup.

He ended the season with 10 goals from 12 appearances in all competitions, including a goal in a 3-1 victory over local rivals Burnley in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in front of over 50,000 fans at Ewood Park.

That summer, Holmes was a member of the Team GB squad that competed at the 1952 Olympics, which were held in Helsinki, Finland.

Upon his return, the 1952-53 season was just as impressive for Holmes, who netted nine times in 13 league appearances, including his first hat-trick in Rovers colours in a 3-1 victory at home to Everton.

He left Rovers at the end of the season with a remarkable record of 19 goals in 25 games and returned to Morecambe, before later having spells with Bradford City and Southport.

The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Bill’s family and friends at this difficult time.

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