Billy Stevenson was a solid, not especially quick right back, who spent much of his Everton career on the fringes of the first team, deputising for the first choice in the berth, Robert Balmer.
He joined Everton for £30 from Accrington Stanley in April 1906 but had to wait until December the following year to make his first team debut, against Newcastle at St James’s Park. Reports suggest it was inauspicious, with the watching Balmer given ‘considerable cause for anxiety’ and the defender was ‘repeatedly disturbed’ by the opposing winger, although he ‘played better as the game wore on’.
Stevenson usurped Balmer midway through the 1910/11 season and held the right back berth for the subsequent two campaigns. He was, noted one contemporary report, ‘clever in anticipating opponents movements and speedy in recovery’. On this particular occasion, the Lancastrian ‘had no superior in defensive work.’ During this period Everton finished fourth and then runners up, missing out on the league title by just three points.
Everton dropped to eleventh in 1912/13 and as the directors sought to find the winning formula, Stevenson was a victim. Leicetser Fosse’s Bon Thompson was drafted in to replace him in April 1913 and proved an excellent choice, helping Everton lift the League Championship in 1914/15.
Stevenson was by now Everton’s Central League captain, quite a responsibility at a time when reserve games were played in front of several thousand fans. Following the outbreak of war he remained on Everton’s retained list for the 1915/16 season, but is not listed as making a senior appearance in the wartime leagues.