Patrizio Billio 1974 – 2023

Everyone at Dundee Football Club are saddened to learn of the death of former player Patrizio Billio who passed away at just 48 years of age after suffering a heart attack whilst playing padel (a Mexican racket sport) with friends. Midfielder Pat joined Dundee in 1999 and would go on to make 30 appearances over the next two seasons and was involved in some famous victories over the likes of Rangers and Dundee United to earn a place in the hearts of Dees. 

Born in Treverso, Italy in 1974, Pat gained a Sports Management Degree from the Catholic University of Milan and started his football career at A.,C. Milan, coming through the youth ranks, before being promoted to the senior squad in 1992. 

Milan were enjoying a golden period in their history, winning one Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup and four Serie A titles during his time at the San Siro and with a star studded line up, Pat struggling to break into the first team. As a result, he went out on loan to several Italian clubs including Ravenna, Verona, Casareno, Ternana and Monzo before finally leaving Milan in 1998 to sign for Crystal Palace in the English Premier League.

Billio made his debut as a substitute away at Newcastle United in January 1999 before having a short spell at St James Park himself,  and then a brief return to Italy for the 1998/99 season to play for Ancona.

Pat returned to the U.K. in October 1999 when Jocky Scott brought him to Dens Park and made his debut in a 1-0 home win over Hearts and the following week the Dark Blues repeated that scoreline with an enjoyable victory in Perth.

After a 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox at the end of November, the combative, silky midfielder had his short term contract extended into a three year deal after a series of impressive displays. 

Towards the end of the season, Billio became a key player in the side after returning from injury and put in impressive displays in a 4-1 win over Motherwell, where he scored his first goal for the club, a 2-2 draw at Celtic Park, a 1-0 win at Pittodrie and most tellingly in a 3-0 win over Dundee United at Dens – the Dee’s first home derby victory in eleven years. 

Alongside Steven Boyack and Javier Artero, Pat helped dominate the United midfield on a day to remember – despite missing a first half penalty. With Boyack spraying the passes and Artero terrorising on the wing, Billio’s grit and determination helped drive The Dee towards their best home victory over The Arabs since the 1961/62 title winning season. 

In the summer of 2000 Jocky Scott was replaced by fellow Italian Ivano Bonetti and after starting the season well, scoring a cracking goal in the excellent 2-0 opening day win at Motherwell, fell out of favour by the end of the September after a slew of new signings came in. 

Alongside Marco Di Marchi, Pat was made to train either alone or with the youth team by Bonetti and after being allegedly attacked outside of Dens, applied to FIFA to have him released from his Dark Blue contract. They found in his favour and then joined fellow Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen on a free transfer in August 2002. 

It was a sad end to Dundee career for a player who was popular with the Dundee support and who would have preferred his differences with the manager were resolved with him staying at Dens. 

After leaving Aberdeen in December 2002, he returned to Italy to sign for Livorno in Serie B before going on to play for Sora, Pro Sesto, Massese and Colligiana in the Italian lower leagues. 

Following his retirement in 2010, Billio joined the LOYAC A.C. Milan Soccer School in Kuwait as the technical director and head coach and remained there until his death. He was highly thought of by the Rossoneri who wrote on their Instagram that “Over the past 10 years, Mr. Billio has done a remarkable job in elevating the training standards at the AC Milan Academy in Kuwait.

Billio was a wonderful footballer and in Dundee he will be remembered very fondly. The thoughts of everyone at the Kilmac Stadium are with Pat’s friends and family at this extremely sad time. 

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