|Season||Division||GtGR||Win %||Draw %||Loss %|
|Apps = First Team Appearances (Sub Appearances) | Gls = Goals|
|GtGR = Goals to Games Ratio | W/D/L - Games won, drawn or lost as percentage of games played in|
|Yel = Yellow Cards/Cautions | Red = Red Cards/Dismissals|
|Recent First Team Starts|
|Apr 27th, 1929||27/04/29||City Cup||vs. Queens Island (A)||3 - 3|
|Apr 20th, 1929||20/04/29||City Cup||vs. Newry (H)||7 - 1|
|Apr 13th, 1929||13/04/29||City Cup||vs. Distillery (A)||3 - 0|
|Apr 2nd, 1929||02/04/29||City Cup||vs. Cliftonville (A)||4 - 1|
|Apr 1st, 1929||01/04/29||City Cup||vs. Larne (H)||5 - 1|
|Recent First Team Goals|
|Dec 22nd, 1928||22/12/28||League||Irish League||vs. Ards (H)||4 - 2|
|Nov 17th, 1928||17/11/28||League||Irish League||vs. Portadown (A)||5 - 3|
|List of Goals Scored (click to expand)|
|List of Games Played (click to expand)|
Walter Clarke was an experienced yet nomadic winger who won the 1929 Irish Cup in his only season with Ballymena.
Clarke came to prominence through Army football and then via the junior ranks with Belfast based club St. Nicholas in his late teens and in particular his performances in the 1919/1920 season caught the eye of Linfield in April, joining their Swifts (Reserves) for the remainder of the campaign.
It would be the start of a journey through a number clubs in his football career for the outside forward, as by the following Autumn he had joined Queen’s Island, then of the Intermediate League. 21-year-old Clarke returned to Windsor Park at the start of their historic 1921/1922 seven trophy winning team – making four appearances, but not getting his hands on any of the seven pieces of silverware that would adorn the Windsor Park trophy cabinet that season.
Walter earned a move to the Football League in England with a short-term contract at Third Division club Halifax Town in September 1921. However, having failed to make a competitive appearance, he returned a month later to his former club Queen’s Island (now of the Irish League) and made his first inroads into establishing himself as a player worthy of a place in the senior ranks. His form was rewarded was a place in the Ireland Junior International panel in April 1922.
Even members of the Clarke family would have found it hard to keep track of who Walter was turning out for in the mid-1920’s. A third spell at Linfield as well as short and unremarkable stints at Glenavon and Brantwood (coupled with doubling up at crack Junior outfit St. Nicholas throughout) would keep him busy but stunted his ability to make a substantial breakthrough in the Irish League ranks.
It was only when Walter Clarke settled at Finaghy of the Intermediate League, in which he stayed at the club for three seasons between 1924 and 1927, that he finally halted his frequent changing of clubs throughout the province. He finally tried his hand at senior football again aged 29, when he made the move to Distillery in November 1927 and helped the Whites to third place in the Irish League that season.
The following season, he got the call to join the new look Ballymena club that had been formed in the summer. Clarke joined the Light Blues in November 1928 and was drafted into the outside left berth that had proved problematic for selectors with both Reg Bentley and David Cunning failing to be adequate solutions for the ambitions Braid club.
Clarke added experience and flair to the role and was a virtual ever present for Ballymena’s landmark debut season – making 26 appearances and scoring three goals. His most memorable outing was undoubtedly starting in the famous 1929 Irish Cup Final victory over Belfast Celtic, in which the ‘Ballymena Babes’ shocked the Irish Football community with a win that would go down in Irish League folklore for years to come.
Despite his role in the team’s success, Walter would only have one season to his name at the Showgrounds, being replaced by Scottish winger Thomas Kilpatrick for the following campaign and therefore released to join neighbours Larne in October 1929.
Now into his thirties, Walter’s football career would quickly wind down thereafter as he would have a short spell at Glentoran during the 1929/1930 season and then phased out his playing days into subsequent retirement at former clubs Distillery (Seconds) and Linfield (Rangers) at the age of 32.
Walter passed away in February 1969 in Belfast, aged 71.
St. Nicholas; (Apr 1920) Linfield; (Sep 1920) Queen’s Island; (Aug 1921) Linfield; (Sep 1921) Halifax Town; (Oct 1921) Queen’s Island; (Oct 1922) Glenavon; (Nov 1922) Linfield; (Mar 1923) Brantwood; (1924) Finaghy; (Nov 1927) Distillery; (Nov 1928) Ballymena; (Oct 1929) Larne; (Nov 1929) Glentoran
Irish Cup: (winner) 1928/1929;
City Cup: (runner-up) 1928/1929
Last updated: 28 August 2022
November 10th, 1928
Queens Island 3 - 7 Ballymena United
League (Irish League)