1143 Billy Sharp

Biography

Highly experienced striker, the record goalscorer in the Championship and renowned exponent of football’s dark arts, Billy Sharp joined Laim Rosenior’s young Hull City squad in January 2024 to add guile and experience to his forward line as the Tigers readied for a push towards the play-off places.

Billy Louis Sharp was born in Sheffield and played junior football for Middlewood Rovers and Rotherham United as a youngster before joining Sheffield United’s academy system. He progressed through the ranks and made his Blades debut in a November 2004 Championship match against Watford. Two months later he joined League Two side Rushden & Diamonds on loan and while the Northamptonshire side were struggling at the foot of the table Sharp played an important role in improving their lot, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances including a first senior goal against Chester City in February 2005 and a first senior hattrick against Boston United in April 2005. He made a second appearance for the Blades on his return from loan in May 2005 but in August 2005 the form he displayed at Rushden & Diamonds encouraged League One side Scunthorpe United, managed by Brian Laws, to part with £100,000 to sign the teenage striker.

At Scunthorpe Billy continued his rapid development, scoring 15 goals in his first 19 appearances for The Iron and finished his first full season with 24 goals in all competitions. In the following 2006/07 season Sharp netted a further 32 times in all competitions as Scunthorpe powered to the League One title despite Brian Laws leaving The Iron mid-season to be replaced by future Hull City manager Nigel Adkins. By the end of the 2006/07 season Sharp had scored 56 goals in just 95 appearances for Scunthorpe United and was now regarded as one of the hottest properties in the lower leagues.

In August 2007 Billy re-joined Sheffield United, now a Championship rival to Scunthorpe United. A fee of £2 million plus a player was paid, a remarkable surplus for Scunthorpe in just two years. He scored his first goals for the Blades in September 2007 when he netted twice in a League Cup tie against Morecambe but was unable to match his previous form at Glanford Park and was on the fringes of the Blades’ first team for much of the 2007/08 season. He opened his 2008/09 season with an August 2008 hattrick against Queens Park Rangers but again the goals failed to flow and he was out of the first team for much of the latter half of the 2008/09 season – his last appearance of the campaign came in a FA Cup Fifth Round replay against Hull City, when he scored in a 1-2 defeat for the Blades. Marginalised by Sheffield United, Sharp spent the 2009/10 season on loan at Championship rivals Doncaster Rovers where he rediscovered his goalscoring form, striking 15 times in 35 appearances as Rovers secured a mid-table position. Sharp left Sheffield United for a second time in July 2010 having added 13 goals in 64 appearances for the club.

Billy made his move to Doncaster Rovers a permanent one in July 2010 in return for a £1.15 million fee and he scored regularly as Rovers struggled to maintain a foothold in the Championship, especially once manager Sean O’Driscoll left in September 2011. In November 2011, just days after the death of his newborn son Luey, Sharp played for Rovers against Middlesbrough and scored an early opener, paying an emotional tribute to his son by lifting his jersey to reveal a message on his t-shirt. By January 2012 Sharp had added a further 26 goals in 51 appearances for Doncaster Rovers and after a proposed move to Leicester City collapsed he was sold to Championship rivals Southampton, now managed by former Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins, for a fee of around £1.8 million. Sharp opened his scoring account for the Saints in February 2012 against Burnley and netted nine goals in half a season as Southampton won promotion to the Premier League. Sharp’s Premier League debut came in August 2012 against Manchester City but on the August transfer deadline day he returned to Championship and signed a season long loan deal at Nottingham Forest. He scored 11 goals in 40 appearances for Forest, then spent the 2013/14 season on loan at two Championship sides – Reading between October and December 2013 (two goals in 10 appearances) and a return to struggling Doncaster Rovers between January and May 2014 (four goals in 16 appearances). He left Southampton in the 2014 close season having scored 10 goals in just 18 appearances for the Saints across two and a half seasons.

Sharp joined Championship side Leeds United in August 2014 for a £600,000 fee, a move that saw him used largely as an impact substitute as the Whites struggled in the lower half of the table. Billy scored five goals in 35 appearances in his only season at Leeds before returning once more to Sheffield United in July 2015, who were now drifting in League One. He finally discovered his goalscoring form for the Blades, striking 21 times in his first season as the side finished in mid-table. Under new manager Chris Wilder Sheffield United dominated League One in the 2016/17 season, winning the title as Sharp contributed 30 goals. During the next two seasons Sharp continued to thrive and the Blades won promotion to the Premier League at the end of the 2018/19 season courtesy of 24 goals from Billy in all competitions, which included hattricks in October 2018 against Wigan Athletic and February 2019 against Aston Villa. In August 2019 he returned to the Premier League, seven years after his Southampton debut at that level, and scored in his first appearance against Bournemouth. He was used as a support player during the next two seasons as the Blades shocked the Premier League with a top half finish in the 2019/20 season, then slumped to relegation the following season. Sharp returned to Championship goalscoring form in the 2021/22 season but missed the closing weeks of the season as Sheffield United lost the play-off semi-final to Nottingham Forest after a penalty shoot-out. He again supported the first team during the 2022/23 season as the Blades won automatic promotion back to the Premier League. Billy Sharp’s third spell at Sheffield United, this one lasting eight years, ended in June 2023 and saw him add 116 goals in 311 appearances. His overall tally for his hometown club rested at 129 goals in 377 appearances.

In August 2023 Sharp signed for MLS side LA Galaxy and within a week he had scored on his MLS debut against Chicago. By the end of the MLS season in October 2023 Sharp had scored an impressive six goals in 12 appearances including a September 2023 hattrick against Minnesota United, demonstrating his continued prowess at the age of 37. It was this form that encouraged Liam Rosenior to claim his signature in January 2024.

Details

Nationality: England
Date/Place of Birth: 5 February 1986, Sheffield
Hull City First Game: 6 January 2024, Birmingham City H (FA Cup Third Round), 37 years, 335 days old
Hull City Final Game: [current player]

Clubs

Sheffield United (2002-2005), Rushden & Diamonds (2005, loan), Scunthorpe United (2005-2007), Sheffield United (2007-2010), Doncaster Rovers (2009-2010, loan), Doncaster Rovers (2010-2012), Southampton (2012-2014), Nottingham Forest (2012-2013, loan), Reading (2013-2014, loan), Doncaster Rovers (2014, loan), Leeds United (2014-2015), Sheffield United (2015-2023), LA Galaxy (2023), Hull City (2024-current)

Hull City Record

Career: 13 apps, 0 goals

Billy Sharp
SeasonLGE
App
LGE
Gls
FAC
App
FAC
Gls
FLC
App
FLC
Gls
EUR
App
EUR
Gls
OTH
App
OTH
Gls
2023/242 (9)01 (1)0

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.