To mark the centenary of Wilfred ‘Billy’ Minter becoming the first St Albans City player to score 100 goals for the club, the Our First and Our Last articles for the visit of Slough Town on 21st October 2023 looked back on how he got there, and then how Our Last (or most recent) player, Steve Clark , also chalked up his first 100 goals for the Saints.


Wilfred Harry Minter 20th October 1923

7a Billy Minter Slough Town 21 OctDiscovering that St Albans-born Wilfred Harry Minter – better known as Billy Minter – was the first player to score 100 goals for St Albans City will come as a surprise to virtually no one. That he achieved the feat in just 89 games may raise an eyebrow or two. It was 100 years ago last Friday, 20th October, that Wilf hit the three-figure mark during an incident packed Isthmian League encounter with Wimbledon at Clarence Park .

The 1923/24 campaign was our first in the Isthmian League following elevation from the Athenian League. With defeats in each of the opening three league games – followed soon after by a 9-1 reversal away to Wycombe Wanderers – we had some catching up to do. Our first win at this level came on 15th September when Wilf scored all three of our goals as Tufnell Park were seen off 3-1 at Junction Road in North London. It was one of 41 hat-tricks that he scored for the club.

By the time that Wimbledon visited Clarence Park we had begun to haul ourselves away from the foot of the table in no uncertain manner. Wimbledon had been defeated 3-2 at Plough Lane a week earlier but took an early lead at the Park as they sought revenge. City were not to be beaten though as goals by Minter, George Biswell (created by Minter who beat four players) and Fred Holland clinched another 3-2 City win.

The description of Wilf’s goal, at the Hatfield Road end of the ground, in the Herts Advertiser was close to being poetic. ‘Receiving a pass from H.E. (Ted) Miller, he (Minter) tricked first Armitage and then Gregory, and finally steadying himself, placed with a left-footed cross-drive which never left the ground and found a resting place in the right-hand corner of the net.’

The final 20 minutes of the game were played in the murkiest of conditions, this was partly caused in the late arrival of the Wimbledon players, something that led to the kick off being delayed by 12 minutes. The game came close to being terminated prematurely but it had nothing to do with the overhead conditions. Referee P.G. Arnold received some barracking following a few decisions that did not go down well with the locals. Discontent among the 3,000 strong crowd reached new heights when awarding Wimbledon a corner after one of their players had shot wastefully over the crossbar. As the barracking continued Mr Arnold stopped the game and appealed for calm. His actions had the opposite effect and it was left to City officials to reduce the level of barracking.

Wilf had become our leading goal scorer on 22nd November 1922 when his seven F.A. Cup goals during the 8-7 defeat at Dulwich Hamlet took him onto 64, one more than our then top marksman, George Edmonds. Minter has stayed at the top of our goal scoring charts since that day and when he hung up his boots he had posted 356 goals on behalf of the club in just 362 games. Twelve years after Minter scored his 100th goal the feat was repeated by Charlie Bunce . Having scored just 15 times in his first 55 games for the club, it took Charlie 136 games to notch his 100th City goal.

Wilf used hat-tricks to underline two other significant landmarks during his time at the Park. On 10th April 1926 (a 7-2 win over Leytonstone) he moved to 200 goals for the Saints with his 24th hat trick and on 19th January 1929 he breezed his way to 300 with his 37th triple as Wimbledon slithered to a 4-3 defeat at St Albans.

Photo: Wilf Minter in his England kit for the Amateur International against Wales at Wrexham on 20th March 1926.


Steve Clark 12th March 1994

7b Steve ClarkSlough Town 21 OctHopefully, Steve Clark will not be our last but simply our most recent Centurion Goal Scorer, a feat he achieved on 12th March 1994 when we went down to a 4-1 Isthmian League defeat to Sutton United at Gander Green Lane.

Born in Hull on 4th February 1964, Steve joined City in the summer of 1991 from Wivenhoe Town and took 144 games to chalk up his first 100 goals. It is a rate that was beaten by Billy Minter (89) and Charlie Bunce (136) but was swifter than Bobby Childs (218), John Butterfield (220) and Paul Mayles (322). It could be argued that Clarky is not our most recent centurion as Simon White of Hendon scored the 100th own goal in our favour on 29th March 1997 (our 3,648th game). Another Hendon player, Carl Procopi, has the dubious distinction of being the only opposition player to score two own goals in one game as he helped us to a 3-1 win on 29th August 1995. Steve Clark played in that game but our other goal was put away by midfielder Jon Daly.

To have two players in our history who have both scored over 300 goals is quite an honour for both the club and the players, Minter and Clark are also twinned courtesy of the F.A. Cup. Double hat-tricks is the link with Wilf scoring seven times during the historic 8-7 4th Round Qualifying defeat at Dulwich Hamlet on 22nd November 1922, and Steve put six past Hillingdon Borough (11-1) in the 2nd Round Qualifying on 24th September 1994. Two F.A. Cup double hat-tricks is pretty good and added to that are the six goals that Charlie Bunce scored against Wycombe Wanderers as we celebrated Christmas Day 1935 with a 9-2 Isthmian League win.

Aged 27 when he joined us, Steve was already an experienced goalscorer when City manager John Mitchell signed him from Wivenhoe along with Jimmy King, former Wales captain Paul Price and Garry Brooke . The signing of the two-footed King was just as significant as Clark as the Scot supplied the crosses for a good number of Steve’s goals. The cross (a free kick) for Clarky’s 100th goal came from the cultured foot of Allan Cockram just four games into his reign as joint manager along with Martin Duffield.

His 100th goal may have been nothing more than a last-minute consolation but Clarky moved to 200 with a double blast during a 4-2 home win over Croydon in the League Cup in August 1996, while his 300th completed a City comeback from a goal down to win 2-1 at Top Field over Hitchin Town in August 1999.

Steve was forever chasing Wilf’s total of 356 goals and established several records for himself along the way. With four goals in the last game of the 1994-95 season, a 6-0 win over Fisher 93 at The Valley in the final of the London Challenge Cup, he moved to 56 for the season and took from Charlie Bunce the honour of the highest tally by a City player for a season. He was top scorer for nine consecutive seasons, a record only bettered by Minter’s run of top scorer for 11 successive years. Clarky’s total of 22 hat-tricks is, again, second only to Minter’s record. He also scored in the 2nd Round of the F.A. Cup at Bristol City and the semi-final of the F.A. Trophy.

Dulwich Hamlet and Hitchin Town, with 16 apiece, are the sides that Clarky enjoyed most success against but, once more, Minter surpassed those figures with 22 against Dulwich and plundered 25 from both Clapton and Oxford City.

Total number of goals scored by St Albans City during the time it took our six centurions to reach 100: Minter 261, Clark 311, Bunce 330, Butterfield 421, Childs 482, Mayles 563.