The Original William McGregor
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The Original William McGregor By Paul Wharton

Its Tuesday 20th December 2011, I am travelling to Villa Park, Birmingham. No I haven't gone mad and travelled a month early for our league game, this trip is more important than one or three points needed.
20th December is the 100th anniversary of the death of William McGregor, the Aston Villa Chairman who started the Football League, a League that was copied the world over. The Acclaimed author Peter Lupson "Thank God for Football" and "Across the Park" has written a new book with Aston Villa supporter John Lerwill "The Inspirational William McGregor".

Peter and John have done a terrific job in getting Aston Villa to hold a Memorial Service at St.Marys church, Handsworth, Birmingham with a 2pm kick off. 

The Aston Villa supporters trust have paid for the refurbishment if the Headstone, so well done to the Villans for knowing and respecting your heritage. 

Peter and John not only have Villa on board but the other original 11 members of the League who will be represented today:
Accrington Stanley 
Aston Villa 
Blackburn Rovers
Burnley FC
Bolton Wanderers 
Derby County 
Everton FC
Notts County 
Stoke City 
Preston North End 
West Bromwich Albion 
Wolverhampton Wanderers

Peter Lupson gave one of his Interesting and fascinating talks on William McGregor, telling how Everton FC owe a great debt to William as Everton and Bootle FC had both submitted applications to join the league. McGregor came down on Evertons side as he had seen how the crowds had been growing. After 3 years of the start of the league, 123 years ago, McGregor was proved right as we won our first league title at our old home Anfield. 

Robert Elstone, CEO of Everton FC and Lord Grantchester were representing our club along with other Evertonians, the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool Tom Williams, Paul Kelly, and EFC Heritage Society members; Brenden Connolly, David Starsky and myself. 

We have a very special bond with Aston Villa, we have the oldest rivalry in world league football as most games played against each other. We played Villa once in a friendly at Anfield in 1886 and we paid them £10 to cover their expenses, how times have changed. 

It has been a wonderful day here at Aston Villa with great credit to Peter and John and the Villans. Well done you have not just done yourselves proud but also Football.

If you are looking for a late Christmas present for your football fanatic relative then "The Inspirational William McGregor" is worth a read. 

Thanks. Paul Wharton.


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Comments about The Original William McGregor
Thanks for that. A great read, and great history.
DonegalVillan, Ireland, 3:43 PM 13/01/2012
Interesting that, after all this time, 7 of the original 11 teams are currently in the Premier league
Geoff Cobb, Denia, Spain, 9:19 AM 23/12/2011
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