Aston Villa


West Brom

Scorer(s) | Jack Reynolds (pen), Jack Devey, Albert Woolley

Assists(s) | Not recorded

Game #176

Division One

Wellington Road, Perry Barr

Attendance: 15,000

Saturday, 2 September 1893



Game #176

Season | 1893-94 |
Matchday | #1 |
League Match | #1 |
Manager Game | #151 |
Saturday, 2 September 1893


Manager | George Ramsay led Management Committee |
FT Score | 3-2 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | WWLDW |


Starting XI Average Age
| 24.78 |

Oldest Player |
F Dennis Hodgetts | 29.78 |

Youngest Player |
W Charlie Athersmith | 21.33 |


Villa hand debuts to Jim Elliott and Jack Reynolds


Not recorded


Not recorded


"A penalty kick was given, and Reynolds, who has never yet failed to score under such circumstances, gave the Villa the lead."



Screenshot 2021-07-13 at 00.17.05.png


GK Bill Dunning |
D John Baird |
CB Jimmy Cowan |
FB Jim Elliott |
M Jack Reynolds |
W Albert Woolley |
W Charlie Athersmith |
F Bob Chatt |
F Jack Devey |
F Dennis Hodgetts |
CF Jimmy Logan |


ex: Also played for the Villa

g: Scored

s/o: Sent off

s-: Sub off; s+: Sub on


No Substitutions permitted in period


No Substitutions permitted in period


[Exact timings not recorded]
1’ Debut, Jim Elliott, Jack Reynolds
Goal, 1-0, Jack Reynolds (pen)
Goal, 1-1, (West Bromwich Albion)
HT Aston Villa 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Goal, 1-2, (West Bromwich Albion), Jimmy Cowan o.g.
Goal, 2-2, Jack Devey, Assist by Dennis Hodgetts
87’ Goal, 3-2, Albert Woolley
FT Aston Villa 3-2 West Bromwich Albion


Midfielder Jack Reynolds made a goal scoring debut for Villa against his former club aged 24 after joining for a fee of £50.

Full back Jim Elliott made his Villa debut aged 23 after joining from Middlesbrough Ironopolis.


Jack Reynolds, debut goal, Saturday, 2 September 1893


*The Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday 04 September 1893

THE LEAGUE. - 1st Division

Aston Villa v. West Bromwich Albion.

The opening match of the season was played at Perry Barr on Saturday, when the West Bromwich Albion was pitted against the home team in the competition for the championship of the first League.

The weather was beautifully fine, and there were about fourteen thousand persons present. Owing to the late arrival of Mr. J. .J. Bentley, the referee, play was not commenced until a quarter to four o’clock. Then the Albion, whose captain had lost the toss, started the ball towards the goal farthest removed from Wellington Road.

For the first few minutes the game was well and evenly contested, Athersmith on the one side, and Norman, who was playing instead of Bassett, on the other, being conspicuous for some fine runs. The respective backs, however, defended extremely well. The game was vigorously contested for some considerable time, but at length the Villa began to get the upper hand, and Athersmith’s rushes caused the Albion’s backs no end of trouble.

Thirty-five minutes passed, however, without any score, but then the Villa made a prolonged attack on the Albion goal. Reader put out two shots, the first by Athersmith and the second by Hodgetts, but the ball was again sent in, and Nicholson knocked it down. A penalty kick was given, and Reynolds, who has never yet failed to score under such circumstances, gave the Villa the lead.

The Albion now played better, and before half-time Geddes scored from a centre by Norman.

The second half opened in favour of the Villa but the players could not break through the Albion defence, and the latter’s forwards at length forced a corner kick. It was well taken by T. Perry, and Cowan had the misfortune to head the ball through his own goal.

Soon afterwards J. Devey equalised from a free kick taken by Hodgetts, and the Villa during the next few minutes were seen to great advantage. J. Devey put the ball through again, but the point was not allowed on account of Hodgetts impeding Reader. Some exciting play followed, and three minutes from time Woolley scored again, and the Villa won by 3 goals to 2.

The following were the teams:- Aston Villa: Dunning, goal; Elliott and Baird, backs; Reynolds, Cowan, and Chatt; half-backs; Hodgetts and Woolley (left), J. Devey (centre), Logan and Athersmith (right wing), forwards.

West Bromwich Albion: Reader, goal; Nicholson and Crone, backs; T. Perry, C. Perry, and Taggart, half- backs-; Geddes and Pearson (left), Nicholls (centre), McLeod and Norman (right wing), forwards.
*The Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday 04 September 1893


The Groves case is still a burning question among local footballers, and seems no nearer settlement than it was some weeks ago. Indeed if rumour is correct, there is now no possibility of an amicable arrangement being arrived at between the two clubs interested. The Albion Committee have taken umbrage at the opposition of Mr. Dunkley to Mr. Louis Ford for a position on the council of the Association, and have, so it is said, decided not to entertain any proposal respecting the transfer of Groves to the Aston Villa. Matters are, therefore, at a deadlock, and the time has arrived for the interference-of the League itself.

Under Rule 6 of the League Groves is still an Albion League player, although he is the registered professional of the Aston Villa. The portion of the rule bearing upon the case reads as follows:-

“If he has so played or he remains on the League’s register-of players permission for his transfer must be obtained from the club with which he was first engaged, and sanctioned by the management committee of the League.”

Hence a League player is always the property of the club with which he first entered into an engagement, unless it is the pleasure of the committee to release him. The rule is in many respects an admirable one, inasmuch as it prevents poaching, and is a means of protection to the poorer clubs against their richer rivals; but no rule is perfect, and the Groves case seems to show the necessity for some remodelling of it. The League Executive needs the power to deal with this and similar vexed questions, not only in the interests of the clubs, but in those of the players themselves.

It is a shame that a fine player like Groves should be debarred from taking part in League contests, and that a club for which he wishes to play, and which has been held to have broken no League law, should be unable to utilise his services.

To settle this knotty question, now the clubs have failed to do so, should be the immediate business of the League.

A question which sooner or later must command the attention of football legislators is the provision of efficient referees. This all-important position is, frequently filled by an incompetent person, incompetent not from lack of knowledge of the game but from the non-possession of the mental and physical qualities which are desirable.

A good referee ensures a quiet game, whereas a bad one is frequently the cause of those scenes of disorder against which the Football Association have recently directed such stringent legislation. The association invest the referee with the most despotic powers, and it therefore behoves them to provide competent and skilled men to exercise them.

A school in which referees might graduate should be provided, and only the fittest and best men should be allowed to possess a full certificate, which should stamp them as capable of exercising their office at any match. There might be three classes of referees-A, B, and C.

(A) Referees of experience, who have shown a thorough knowledge of the game, and a firm and resolute determination to discharge the important duties without fear or favour;

(B) men who have passed through a twelvemonth’s apprenticeship, but lack the experience of those in Class A;

and (C) new men knowing the game, and possessing ability to manage minor matches.

This was the solution of the referee difficulty offered by Mr. McGregor at the conference in November, and the sooner some such a scheme is adopted by the council the better will it be for the game generally.
The season at Perry Barr was opened most auspiciously on Saturday. The prospect of witnessing an interesting match, with the Villa as one of the competitors, drew a grand gate, fully 13,000 persons being present when play commenced.

As a matter of fact, 11,912 persons paid, and there must have been a large percentage of the members and season-ticket holders present. The receipts amounted to £383. 13s.

The ground, upon which a great deal of attention has been bestowed during the summer, was in excellent condition, and the erection of the iron fencing all round the field answered the most sanguine expectations of the committee.

The fencing, which is about 4ft high, has been fixed close up to the barrier, and effectually prevents any encroachment on the field during the match, and also puts a stop to the mad rush across the field at the close of play, a proceeding that cannot fail to do considerable injury to the turf. The services of a number of policemen can also be dispensed with, to the advantage of the exchequer.

The game was a regular Villa and Albion tussle, full of exciting play, and with the result never safe until the close. It came indeed as a surprise to most folks, for it must be admitted that the Villa players were confidently expected to gain an easy victory. The Albion team, however, rose to the occasion, and made such a hard and desperate fight that many a Villa supporter did not breathe freely until the referee blew his whistle and closed the game.

After thirty-five minutes’ play slightly in favour of the Villa, the forwards of the latter club, well backed up by the half-backs, made the hottest attack seen so far, and Nicholson, in a moment of excitement, handled the ball. A penalty kick was awarded, and Reynolds, by whom it was taken, easily scored, a feat that he has never yet failed to perform.

The cheers were of course tremendous, but they had hardly died away when the Albion forwards made one of their characteristic rushes; Norman centred the ball across goal, and Geddes, dashing in, easily equalised. This was the position of affairs when the teams changed over.

The commencement of the second half was distinctly in favour of the home team, but they were met by a cool and steady defence, Read in particular keeping goal brilliantly. At length the Albion broke away, Elliott hard pressed gave a corner, and Cowan unfortunately headed the ball through his own goal.

This reverse stimulated the Villa to further effort, and J. Davey succeeded at length in equalising from a free kick given against Nicholson for tripping. The Villa forward put the ball through again, but the point was disallowed because Hodgetts impeded the goalkeeper. and the score remained in an equal position until three minutes from time and until nearly all hope of winning had left the breast of every Villa supporter.

Then, however, Woolley dodged the backs and shot the ball into the net, and the match was won.

It must be confessed that, on the whole, the Villa men scarcely played up to expectations, but the players have not yet had sufficient time to settle down, and it would be unfair to criticise them too harshly.

In goal Dunning played very well, but he was outshone by Reader, who was in admirable form, and kicked beautifully, a method of getting rid of low shots that might with advantage be practised by Dunning. The Villa backs, Baird and Elliott, played a fair game, but in this department again the Albion men were the better, Nicholson perhaps being the pick of the four.

The half-backs on each side worked extremely well, but Reynolds was far and away the best of the six, and was really the best man on the field. He tackled excellently, and passed with unfailing judgment and accuracy.

Cowan also played well, but Chatt seemed to tire, and towards the finish made several mistakes which might have ended in disaster.

The Albion forwards exhibited their usual dash and determination, but the Villa were scarcely as combined as they might have been, and the attacks principally came from one wing at a time.

The weakest man was Logan, whilst the strongest was Woolley, who played brilliantly, a result due in no little measure to the protection afforded him by Hodgetts, who looked after his little partner most carefully. J. Devey worked hard, but was scarcely in his best form, whilst Athersmith made some dashing runs, but shot inaccurately.