For the benefit of Mr Law

OLD VILLANS’ CLUB
President: J. E. Margoschis
Honorary Treasurer: H.Devey
Honorary Secretary: C. S. Johnstone

Dear Sir,
As you may have seen from the Press and from the Villa News, “Sammy” Law, the famous centre-back of bygone days, is unable to follow his employment of engraver owing to failing eyesight.

We earnestly appeal to you as a lover of the game to lend a helping hand to one who has always been associated with our club from its earliest days, and who assisted it in no little measure to attain the prominent position it has now reached.

He not only did yeoman service to his club as an amateur, but represented his city in the old Inter-association Matches v. London, Sheffield and Glasgow.

In better times no one was more willing to make sacrfices for his club, or to assist a fellow Villan who might be in difficulties.

Knowing our members as we do, we feel that this appeal will not be made in vain, but will meet with a prompt and substantial response in the usual Villa way.

Contributions may be sent to Mr F.B. Ramsay, Mr J.E. Margoschis, or myself.

Thanking you in anticipation,
I remain,
Faithfully yours
C. S JOHNSTONE
33, Turville Road, Handsworth

The fundraiser for Sammy Law in 1913 raised £65, equivalent to about £7,500 in 2020. Sports journalist Jack Urry had this to say about Law in a tribute he wrote for the Villa News and Record:

If you had enquired for Mr Samuel Law when he played for Aston Villa, they would not have known whom you meant, for Sammy was an immense favourite with the crowd, not only because he was an excellent half-back, but also because he was, perhaps, the most agile player ever seen at Perry Barr – which is saying a good lot. No merrier man ever went on to a football field, and I think his opponents had almost as great an admiration for him as his friends, though when it came to strenuous work in the game, Sammy Law was generally there or thereabouts – but always scrupulously fair. The only thing that used to rile one of the finest sportsmen I have ever met was a deliberate succession of dirty tricks by friend or foe.
As they say in rural places, “he couldn’t abide it” and used to express his feelings both on and off the field. The fact was, he played the game first as a game, and did not allow his conduct to spoil victory or exasperate defeat; and it was principally his sporting proclivities which endeared him to the first supporters of Aston Villa.

Sammy Law had a somewhat uncommon appearance on the field. Rather on the small size, but sturdily built, he was as nimble as a cat, and the way he could dance around an opponent, and especially the manner in which he could recover lost ground, were features which made him so useful and skilful a half-back. He used to wear mutton chop whiskers of a sunset hue – a la Lord Dundreary – and as they were always beautifully brushed and glowing it may be guessed that his figure was a rather conspicuous one, and he was, so to speak, the cynosure of all eyes wherever he went; not that Sammy was in any way egotistical; on the contrary, he was one of the most modest footballers I have ever met, though nobody sang the praises of his comrades louder that he did.

Where are the prophets now?

Fred Wheldon, beside the pavilion at Villa’s Perry Barr ground.

From a local newspaper report, April 4, 1897

Much doubt was expressed among a certain section of Aston Villa supporters before the present season commenced as to whether the committee had acted wisely in paying such a heavy sum as £300 to the Small Heath club for the transfer of their crack left-winger, George Frederick Wheldon, and a large number of “wiseheads” did not refrain from maing public their opinion that Wheldon had seen his best days, and would be of no use to Villa. Where are those “prophets” now?

As it has proved, the investment was one of the best the Villa have made in recent years, for the ex-Heathen has been the most consistent of as brilliant a quintette of forwards as ever stepped on a field, and is well worth every penny the League Champions paid for him.

He had the honour of playing for England against Ireland at Nottingham a few weeks ago, and scored three of the goals obtained by his side. In the opinion of many competent judges he is the best inside-left forward in the country, and England would have no cause to regret it had he been chosen to play against Scotland at the Crystal Palace tomorrow.

Wheldon has scored more goals for the Villa in League matches this season than any other player, the number to his credit being sixteen, Jack Devey being responsible for fifteen, In addition to being a champion footballeer, Wheldon is a smart cricketer, and played for Worcestershire on several occasions last summer. He is 26 years of age, being born on November 1st,1879, so should be of much use to te Villa club for many years to come.

Policing a football match

Letter of G. B. Ramsay to Chief Superintendent Adams, August 13, 1886

Dear Sir, We are now preparing for our forthcoming Football Season and shall require from three to a dozen policemen (according to the importance of the match) nearly every Saturday and Monday afternoon. Therefore would like to have an arrangement with you to the effect that I send you a cheque or Postal Order at the end of every month, which would release your men half an hour or more instead of waiting for about for their money.

Then again I understand that a neighbouring club only pays 1/- per man for the same time. Could you not reduce the rate you charge us from 5/-, which will amount to a considerable item every week. Your very kind consideration of this will much oblige.

I require two policemen for Monday evening next August 16th at Wellington Road, Perry Barr at 5.30.pm.

Yours respectfully
Geo B Ramsay,
Manager,
Aston Villa Football Club