Unveiling a tribute to a true Villa legend
By Ian Robathan
Thursday 26 Nov 2009 20:30:00
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Before Villa take on Spurs this weekend, a statue that has been years in the planning will be unveiled outside the directors’ entrance in the Trinity Road stand.

This statue was raised on a joint fund raising effort between the Villa Supporters’ Trust (http://www.villatrust.org.uk/) and Aston Villa and was raised to celebrate the driving force of William McGregor into the formation of the Football League back in 1888.

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It should not be forgotten the part that McGregor played in the history of football in this country or indeed Villa’s own past.

While the names of Ramsey and Rinder are well-known for driving the club forward, the contribution of McGregor in the background and administration should not be forgotten. In fact, as John Lewrill's fantastic book The Villa Chronicles points out, it could be argued without McGregor we may have been forced to fold - on more than one occasion.

The statue will be unveiled by the current Football League chairman Lord Brian Mawhinney.

For those not familiar with McGregor’s move towards forming the league, here is what he proposed: ‘Every year it is becoming more and more difficult for football clubs of any standing to meet their friendly engagements and even arrange friendly matches.

‘The consequence is that at the last moment, through cup-tie interference, clubs are compelled to take on teams who will not attract the public.

‘I beg to tender the following suggestion as a means of getting over the difficulty in that ten or twelve of the most prominent clubs in England combine to arrange home-and-away fixtures each season, the said fixtures to be arranged at a friendly conference about the same time as the International Conference.

‘This combination might be known as the Association Football Union, and could be managed by representative from each club. Of course, this is in no way to interfere with the National Association; even the suggested matches might be played under cup-tie rules.

‘However, this is a detail. My object in writing to you at present is merely to draw your attention to the subject, and to suggest a friendly conference to discuss the matter more fully. I would take it as a favour if you would kindly think the matter over, and make whatever suggestions you deem necessary.

‘I am only writing to the following - Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion, and Aston Villa, and would like to hear what other clubs you would suggest.’

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