Fascinating football facts
Curiosities of Midlands football, with Tony Matthews
Leeds United January 1930.
• In June 1934, Aston Villa set a new British transfer record when they signed Jimmy Allen from Portsmouth for £10,775.
• Peter Mcparland of Aston Villa was the first player to score in an FA Cup final and League Cup final – doing so in 1961 versus Rotherham United and in 1957 versus Manchester United.
• Jeff Astle (Albion) was the first to score in both finals of these two competitions at Wembley – FA Cup in 1968, League Cup in 1970.
• Con Martin of Aston Villa played international football for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the same year: 1949.
• Trevor Ford (ex-aston Villa) was the first player to score 20 international goals for Wales. Another ex-villa star, Danny Blanchflower, was the first player to win 50 caps for Northern Ireland while Steve Staunton (ex-villa as well) was the first footballer to gain 100 caps for Ireland.
• Aston Villa’s Bob Iverson set a Football League record by scoring after just 9.6 seconds at the start of a League game against Charlton Athletic in December 1938 … the fastest-ever by a defender. Villa went on to win 2-0.
• The first-ever Second City derby involving Aston Villa and Birmingham City (Small Heath) took place in September 1894 (Division 1) when Villa won 2-1.
• Johnny Giles became Albion’s first-ever player-manager when he was appointed in the summer of 1975. He guided the Baggies to promotion in his first season in charge. Giles was also the Republic of Ireland’s first player-manager, appointed in 1977.
• Midfielder Giles was also the first player to win both First and Second Division championship medals as well as both FA Cup and League Cup winner’s prizes.
• Aston Villa beat RAF Lichfield 19-2 in a Birmingham & District League game in March 1942. This is the biggestever win recorded in any game at Villa Park. Frank Broome, Harry Parkes and Billy Goffin all scored four goals each, in front of 700 spectators.
• In 1888 Birmingham City (Small Heath) became the first football club to be registered as a Limited Liability Company.
• The Coventry City v Aston Villa League North game at Highfield Road in February 1945 attracted a crowd of 4,000. Twenty or so miles away at Villa Park, 65,780 spectators gathered to watch England play Scotland.
December 1975, and Mick Martin (son of Villa’s Con Martin) is welcomed to The Hawthorths by player-manager Johnny Giles. Len Cantello and Ally Robertson complete the group