Career : 1897
Debut and Only Game: Round 14, 1897 vs Collingwood, aged 24 years, 122 days
Carlton Player No. 39
Goals : Nil
Height : 5ft. 9ins. (175cm)
Weight : 12st (76kg)
DOB: 7 April 1873
Left; Bill Arnott is pictured in the Collingwood team 1895-96
Image: Courtesy Collingwood Forever web site.
Billy Arnott came to Princes Park from Collingwood VFA in the foundation year of the VFL in 1897. A defender, he had previously played with another inner-Melbourne team; Richmond Districts.
Ironically, Billy’s one and only appearance for Carlton came against Collingwood at Victoria Park in the last round of that historic season. The Blues put up a brave effort, but Collingwood’s height advantage proved the difference, and they won by five goals. This ended a disappointing debut season for the Navy Blues, whose only two wins for the year came at the expense of a hapless St Kilda.
Billy went and played with the Rovers in Western Australia. The Rovers forfeited their last few games of the 1897 season and in their last game that they actually played in 1897, Billy was named in the squad, but appears that he didn't play and was back in Victoria, where he played his only game for Carlton. In 1898 he was back with the Rovers.
The Argus April 27 1897 (p3) reporting on Collingwood for the coming season says;
"...Strickland will most probably lead the team again, and he will have with him all of last year's twenty, with the exception of Arnott and Dohrman (both of whom are in Western Australia)..."
Billy had played 36 games in his two seasons with Collingwood, which would have been nearly every game in 1895 and 1896! It does seem odd that he could not hold down a regular spot especially in a very weak Carlton outfit. Perhaps there were other reasons for his one game career at the Blues.
He served in the Boer War and was a private with the 4th Victorian Imperial Bushmen. (This fact was recorded in 1900 Collingwood Annual Report).
He passed away 18 May 1962 aged 89 years.