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Game #114

Aston Villa

Saturday, 5 September 1891


Not recorded


Football League

Attendance: 10,000

Blackburn Rovers

Wellington Road, Perry Barr

Jack Devey, scored a brace on debut as Villa open the season with a fine win against Cup holders Blackburn.

Aston Villa


Blackburn Rovers

Assists(s) | Jimmy Cowan | Percy Hislop | Dennis Hodgetts |


Jack Devey, scored a brace on debut, Saturday, 5 September 1891




Saturday, 5 September 1891

1’ Debut, Jack Devey, Percy Hislop
Goal, 0-1, (Blackburn Rovers), Hall
Goal, 1-1, Percy Hislop, Assist by Jimmy Cowan
Goal, 2-1, Jack Devey, Assist by Percy Hislop
Player retired injured (Blackburn Rovers)
HT Aston Villa 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
Goal, 3-1, Billy Dickson, Assist by Dennis Hodgetts
Goal, 4-1, Charlie Athersmith
Goal, 5-1, Jack Devey
FT Aston Villa 5-1 Blackburn Rovers


Villa sweep aside FA Cup holders Blackburn in the first game of the season to make it three successive League wins as legendary Villa forward Jack Devey scored a brace on his League debut aged 24 after joining from Mitchell St. George’s. Also making a goal-scoring League debut for Villa was 20 year old forward Percy Hislop after joining from Glasgow Royal.

Aston Villa

Blackburn Rovers


Blackburn Rovers

Previous 5 vs. Blackburn: | 🟥 | 🟥 | 🟩 | 🟥 | 🟨 |


Season | 1891-92 |
Matchday | #1 |
League Match | #1 |
Manager Game | #88 |
Saturday, 5 September 1891


Manager | George Ramsay led Management Committee |
FT Score | 5-1 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | LLWWW |




Blackburn Rovers

All the matches refereed by:


Jack Devey and Percy Hislop came in for their Villa debuts.


Starting XI Average Age
| 24.03 |

Oldest Player |
D Gershom Cox | 28.53 |

Youngest Player |
W Charlie Athersmith | 19.33 |

George Ramsay led Management Committee



George Ramsay led Management Committee

Aston Villa

GK Jimmy Warner |
D Gershom Cox |
CB Jimmy Cowan |
FB Walter Evans |
M James Brown |
M George Campbell |
W Charlie Athersmith |
F Percy Hislop |
F Jack Devey |
F Dennis Hodgetts |
CF Billy Dickson |

Blackburn Rovers

Pennington, McKeown, Forbes, Barton, Dewer, Forest, Hall (g), Townley, Southworth, Campbell, Lofthouse.

Manager: Tom Mitchell.


No Substitutions permitted in period



No Substitutions permitted in period







Not recorded


Not Recorded

Player Positions:

GK : Goalkeeper
CB, D, B : Centre Back, Defender, Back
FB, LB, RB, WH : Full Back, Left Back, Right Back, Wing Back, Wing Half

M, CH, LH, RH : Midfielder, Centre Half, Left Half, Right Half
W, OL, OR : Winger, Outside Left, Outside Right
F, IF, IL, IR : Forward, Inside Forward, Inside Left, Inside Right, Second Striker, False 9
CF : Centre Forward

Match Symbols:

⚽ | Goal
🔥 | Assist
🔁 | Substitution

🟨 | Booking

🟥 | Sending off

🆘 | Poor refereeing performance
🟢 : Debut 🔴 : Final Game




Not recorded


2021-22 Matchweek 38.jpg


Quotation Marks.png


"For fully an hour before the announced time for the commencement of the match thousands of people assembled in Corporation Street, and every tramcar bound for Perry Barr was besieged by crowds of old and young men, who fought frantically to possess themselves of a seat."

*Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday, 7 September 1891



The opening of the football season was commenced in downright earnest on Saturday, when several matches in the League competition were played, and notably among the contests was the one played at Perry Barr between the Aston Villa and the famous Blackburn Rovers, who were the winners of the English Cup of last season.

Every admirer of the Association game knows full well how miserably the Perry Barr team failed to justify the high opinions entertained of them at the beginning of last season, and is equally aware of the brilliant series of success which fell to the lot of the Rovers.

In these circumstances a not very interesting match might reasonably have been anticipated for last Saturday, but during the "close" season it was tolerably well known that the Villa executive were strenuously working to place in the field for the beginning of the winter campaign as capable an eleven as money and other inducements could procure, and this had the effect of foreshadowing a gallant struggle with the Lancashire eleven.

All the old enthusiasm for football seemed to have sprung into active life before the deathknell of the cricket season of 1891 had been finally sounded, as was forcibly illustrated by the state of the roads from the Old Square to Perry Barr.

For fully an hour before the announced time for the commencement of the match thousands of people assembled in Corporation Street, and every tramcar bound for Perry Barr was besieged by crowds of old and young men, who fought frantically to possess themselves of a seat.

It was impossible for a person unwilling to encounter more than the ordinary crush and rush to get into a car to obtain a seat, and an extra force of police had their exertions taxed to the fullest in seeing that the cars were not overloaded.

During the whole of the time the cars were loading Mr. Farndale watched the proceedings from his brougham. Fortunately no accident occurred.

Not only did the tram company find that the match was a good thing for the shareholders' coffers, but cabdrivers from far and near reaped a good harvest.

At the ground the scene was one of great animation, for there must have been present between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators, with a preponderant proportion, of course, of Villa partisans.

The result of the match must have been most exhilarating to the supporters of the local team.

Either side put its strongest team in the field.

The choice of ends fell to the Villa, whose captain chose to play towards the Wellington Road goal, with the benefit of a somewhat strong wind blowing in that direction.

The ball had not travelled far from the kick-off when the right wing of the Villa got possession, and a foul falling to their luck, an early attempt was made to score. Devey, however, placed the ball outside.

The Rovers got away on the right wing, and Warner had a nasty shot to stop from Campbell.

Immediately following this, a few seconds of sharp work took place, in front of goal, and in the result Hall scored the first point for the visitors.

The feature of the game on the ball being again put In motion was the fast pace at which it was played.

Hodgetts and Hislop did some admirable work on their wing, and beating Campbell and Lofthouse, passed to Devey, who shot for goal. To save a score a corner was given but this advantage was neutralised by Southworth sending the ball up the field.

An attack on Warner’s charge looked dangerous until Cox got the ball away.

The Villa then made a determined run down the field and Devey concluded the attempt by kicking outside.

Just after, Hislop very cleverly headed the ball back, but no one of his side was near to add the finishing touch to a smart bit of work.

After the Rovers had made another attempt which was upset by Cox, Cowan brought the ball down the field, and centred to Hislop, who scored a very clean goal, and thus made the game equal.

For some few minutes the ball was kept in fast movement in the Rovers' quarters, notwithstanding a brilliant defence by the backs.

Ultimately Athersmith completely beat Townley and centred to Hislop, who passed the ball on to Devey. The latter had no difficulty in scoring the second goal for the Villa.

Although the Rovers showed great dash just now, their attacks on Warner's goal were not of long duration.

In racing up the field a regrettable accident occurred, which must have greatly handicapped the Rovers, in the subsequent play.

Devey had the ball, when he was tackled by Barton. The latter got his legs mixed up with Devey’s, and twisted one of his limbs so severely that he had to be carried off the field. He attached no blame to Devey, and said that the affair was an accident.

When the game was resumed a corner fell to the Villa, and the ball was well placed by Hodgetts. After bobbing about Pennington's goal for a little while the ball was headed outside.

The game continued very fast up to half-time, and either end was visited without any addition to the score being made.

With the hill and wind in their favour matters looked much more advantageous for the Rovers in the second half.

They started down the hill with a rush, but could not get beyond the half-backs.

A foul to the Villa gave them a chance of getting the ball up the field, and Athersmith showed some capital work against the opposing players. When tackled he passed right across the field to Hodgetts, who very cleverly passed back again to Dickson, the latter scoring with ease.

With the game standing at 3 goals to 1 in favour of the Villa, the visitors started off with a dashing ran, Southworth and Townley being the most conspicuous players in this movement. When near goal one of the Rovers fouled the ball, and spoiled what looked like a dangerous attack.

After the kick the visiting forwards made a spirited return, and gave Warner an anxious time. Eventually Southworth shot over the bar. Several fouls followed in quick succession, but in no instance did any appreciable result accrue to either side.

Immediately after one of these fouls a most unsportsmanlike incident occurred, and one which would not have been unduly marked by the offender being ordered off the field.

Hodgetts came in contact with McKeown whilst the latter was trying to relieve the pressure on his side, and the Villa left winger succeeded in passing the ball on. As soon as this had been accomplished, McKeown walked up to Hodgetts, when the ball was yards away, and deliberately kicked him. The punishment awarded for so despicable an action was merely a free kick to the Villa.

Athersmith and Devey played with remarkable dash, and so did Hodgetts and Hislop on the left wing.

Several attempts were made to increase the score, and, in one instance, Dickson nearly succeeded.

Southworth, Campbell, and Townley, for their side, likewise made bold endeavours to make matters more even, but Warner kept his goal grandly.

Southworth sent in a shot which looked Iike a certain score as it travelled towards goal, but Warner advanced a foot or so, and thus was able to turn it on one side.

From this Devey received the ball from Hislop and re-passed to Hodgetts, who made headway on the outside wing until he reached the top end. He challenged Pennington with a sharp low shot, which was struck out. A brisk scrimmage followed right before goal, and out of the tussle Athersmith scored-the fourth goal.

The Villa continued to play a grand pressing game, the forwards working in splendid combination.

Dickson came in for a hearty round of applause for a very clever dribble up the field, and Devey again made a shot for goal, but the ball went over the bar.

Although the allotted time had nearly expired the Villa played with surprising freshness, and gave their opponents very little chance.

The back division of the Rovers were beaten time after time, and Devey in the last ten minutes managed to score the fifth goal for the Villa.

Upon the point of time Athersmith sent the ball through for the sixth time, but a foul having preceded the shot the score was disallowed.

The game ended in a win for the Villa by 5 goals to 1.

As remarked above, the Villa played a splendid game throughout, and although for more than half the game the Rovers were without the services of Barton, it most be admitted the victorious team showed decidedly the better form.