I've spent an enjoyable afternoon browsing the aston website. I have tiny tidbits of info on aston Villa - or more accurately, aston Wesleyans - if you're interested?
My Great Grandfather was a member of the aston Villa Wesleyans before they became aston Villa. I have a copy of a newspaper article with a photograph of this team, the photo and team dated at around 1885. (Birmingham Mail, Sept 20th 1960) Funnily enough, a follow-up article a month later was written by a "Rod" - Rod Davies. My Great Grandfather's sister had seen the earlier article.
clearly she well-remembered her brother's team mates, and she named the players in the 1885 photograph for this follow-up article. She had married the brother of Frederick Dawson, centre half, who played in Villa's first cup-winning side. My Great Grandfather was not in the team after they turned professional, but became a referee and later was secretary of the Birmingham Football League for over 40 years until his death.
at least Vaughton, however, remained in the team and is pictured in this early photograph. I remember vague tales being told around Nan's kitchen table in Wellhead Lane when I was a child....grown up chatter about the Villa and Great Grandad etc.
I took little notice I'm afraid, and not understanding my treachery I've been a lifelong Blues fan...Of course, now I understand why the whole family were Villa devotees except me, but I can't change my allegiance now.
In any case, I am happy to get you a copy of these two articles, if you'd like? at the time the photograph was discovered in a Lozells attic 40+ years ago, Villa director Bill Lovsey and Joe Mercer reckoned the photo was a missing link in the club's history. It is at least a year older than the oldest picture hanging in the Board Room at Villa Park.