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Players Index Page Last Updated
9 July 2023

Charlie Athersmith

Aston Villa FC

12 appearances, 3 goals

P 12 W 9 D 1 L 2 F 43: A 13
79% successful

captain: none
minutes played:


  William Charles Athersmith Harper
Birth Friday, 10 May 1872 in Bloxwich, Walsall, Staffordshire
  registered as William Charles Athersmith Harper in Walsall April-June 1872
Baptism Saturday, 8 June 1872 in Bloxwich
Family History Notes Athersmith is absolutely certainly a Harper. In early reports, he is known for being a cousin of Vic Wright. The Family Tree reveals that a first cousin of William Harper is Vic Wright, born in Bloxwich, 1909. The only mystery then, is why, and how, did William Harper become Charlie Athersmith.

 (Charles' father died on 30 March 1873. His mother remarried in July 1874).
According to the 1881 census, W C A Harper, the only child to Isaac and Mary Jane (née Wootton), is living with his mother and his step-father, Charles Perry. These in turn, live with the Wootton's at a public house at 6A, 7 & 8 The Green in Walsall. Charles and Mary Jane with three children of their own, William's half-siblings. Charles is a stirrup flier.


According to the 1891 census, Charles Athersmith is an office clerk lodging at 30 Cattell Road, Aston, with the Baggott's, his future in-laws.

Marriage to Elizabeth Baggott, Sunday, 1 January 1893 at St. Saviour Church in Saltley, Birmingham, occupation registered as clerk. Elizabeth was a British subject born in Cincinatti, United States.
  registered in Aston January-March 1893
Children Charlie and Elizabeth Athersmith have one daughter together, Eveline Marie (b.9 November 1895).

According to the 1901 census, Athersmith, along with seven other footballers, is visiting Blackpool, for they are staying at the Station Hotel on Talbot Road.
His family home was at 37 Carlton Road in Aston, where his wife, Elizabeth and daughter, Eveline Marie, and one servant were living.
The advert (left) comes from the Walsall Observer, from July and August 1901.
His mother married again, this time to James Hancocks in Cannock, April 1907.

...TRANSFER DAY. The Bench granted transfers of licenses as under: —Red Lion, Bloxwich, from William Booker to William Charles Athersmith (the Aston Villa international footballer);"; - The Walsall Advertiser, Saturday, 13 July 1901.

ACKING HORSES OR BREAKING WINDOWS?.On Monday, at the Walsall Police Court, George Ball (79), Green Lane, Bloxwich, was summoned for refusing to quit the Red Lion, and also for breaking the window, doing damage to the extent of £2 10s. William Charles Athersmith, landlord of the Red Lion, had one of his window's broken by defendant's brother, and it seemed that whilst he was chasing the brother, the defendant broke another window.—The Chief Constable (Mr Thomson) said that no doubt the magistrates would remember that defendant's brother was chased and caught by Athersmith, and sent to gaol for two months.—Defendant said he went into the house to back a horse.—Mr Moseley (a magistrate) wanted to know, at this point, if it was a custom, at Bloxwich, to back horses in public houses, and the defendant replied that he could always back a horse with a person at this house. Proceeding, he admitted breaking the window, but told the magistrate that the landlord first pitched him into the street.—Fined 40s and costs, also ordered to  pay 30s damages, or two months' hard labour." - The Walsall Advertiser, Saturday, 19 September 1903.

"TRANSFER DAY. The magistrates granted the following applications for transfers of licenses:—Red Lion, Bloxwich, from Wm Chas Athersmith to W, Henry Bratt." -
The Walsall Advertiser, Saturday, 30 July 1904.
"Charlie Athersmith, the well-known Aston Villa international footballer, who is landlord of the Vine Inn, Bloxwich, Walsall, was fined yesterday for supplying a girl with beer in bottles which were unsealed." -
Dundee Courier, 19 May 1905.

"WEDNESDAY.WELL-KNOWN EX-FOOTBALL PLAYER'S APPLICATION.—Mr. G. W. Hobson applied for a temporary transfer of the license of the Royal George beerhouse, Evesham Street, Redditch, from Mr. Salisbury to Mr. William Charles Athersmith, of Grimsby, Mr. Hobson remarked Mr. Athersmith was formerly well known in the football field, having played for Aston Villa, and had a national reputation. Since he gave up playing football he kept a public house at Bloxwich, and had lately been living at Grimsby, where he acted as trainer for the Grimsby Town club—Satisfactory testimonials as to character were given, and the Bench granted the application." - The Alcester Chronicle, Saturday, 20 October 1909.
"'Charlie' Athersmith, the old Aston Villa forward, is lying seriously ill at his mother's house in Oakengates, near Wellington. For some time he managed the Grimsby Town Football Club, and recently he had charge of a public-house in Evesham-street, Redditch." - Hull Daily Mail/Aberdeen Express, Monday, 13 September 1910

Death Sunday afternoon, 18 September 1910 at Victoria Villas, Station Hill, Oakengates, Shifnal, Shropshire. Address stated as The Royal George, Evesham Street in Redditch.
aged 38 years 131 days registered in Shifnal July-September 1910


The death of Charles Athersmith, the once famous Aston Villa right-winger and athlete, occurred at the residence of his mother (Mrs. Hancocks) at Oakengates, Shropshire, shortly after noon on Sunday. Athersmith, who was about 40 years of age, leaves a widow and one child. In his day he was the fastest football player in the country, and won many prizes on the running track. He took part in twelve international football matches (Scotland 1897-98-99-1900, Wales 1897-98-99-1900, Ireland 1892, 97-98-99), and was at one time one of the 'stars' of the Aston Villa team. Athersmith's illness is thought to have had its origin in a severe strain or a kick in the stomach when playing football.
"During the earlier part of his career Athersmith was a member of the Unity Gas combination, a junior club in the Saltley district, which carried off some few honours in six-a-side contests, a particular phase of football in which he was adept. When first joining Aston Villa there was some little uncertainty as to how far his amateur status on the running path would be affected, but this was quickly decided when he boldly embraced professionalism. In running matches he met with several notable successes, and at distances varying from 100 yards to a quarter of a mile he was without a doubt the fastest man of his day. The part he played in many famous games for Aston Villa could not easily be exaggerated. For several seasons, the Athersmith-Devey right wing of Aston Villa was famed in every football centre, the perfect understanding and combination of the pair proving of inestimable value to the team. His decease will be generally regretted by the older school of players from one end of the country to the other"
The Derby Daily Telegraph/gloucester Citizen, Monday, 19 September 1910
Thursday, 22 September 1910
Bloxwich Cemetery
"The funeral took place at Bloxwich Cemetery, near Walsall, yesterday of the late Charles Athersmith, the old Aston Villa forward. Representatives were present from the Aston Villa and Birmingham clubs, the bearers being several old players of the Bloxwich Wanderers, the cub with which deceased commenced his career." - The Nottingham Daily Express, Friday, 23 September 1910
Probate "ATHERSMITH William Charles of the Royal George Evesham-street Redditch Worcestershire died 18 September 1910 at Victoria Villas Station-hill Oaken Gates Shropshire Administration London 21 October to Elizabeth Athersmith widow.
Effects £175." [2019 equivalent: £20,768].
  Following his death, according to the 1911 census, Elizabeth Athersmith and her daughter, Marie, are living at 27 Wyndcliff Road in Aston, along with her father and uncle.


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990], Patrick Talbot's White Shirt, Black Country [2004] &

Playing Career

Played for Bloxwich Wanderers FC when he was only 12 years-old, until the team amalgamated with the Bloxwich Strollers FC, and then he became a Strollers' player. Joined and played with the Unity Gas Depot in Saltley before joining Aston Villa FC in February 1891. After ten years, Villa did not offer Charlie a new contract because he was running a Public House. He was refused a free transfer on 21 July. He joined Small Heath FC in September 1901. It was reported that Athersmith had agreed to join newly-formed professional club Plymouth Argyle FC of the Southern League on 30 March 1903. Athersmith did leave when he announced his retirement on 23 April 1905. He went on to play on a Tagg & Campbell tour of Germany and Austria in September and October 1905, for which he received a suspension.
"When Mr. Tagg, of the National Football Agency, said that he meant to take an English team to the Continent the idea was laughed at, but Mr. Tagg, who takes himself very seriously, has been as good as his word, and last evening his team left Birmingham en route for Berlin. True, his many internationals did not turn up, but there was his team, and Mr. Tagg said that he received a deposit which covered all expenses. The English Ramblers is the proud title they will tour under. Asked if he had obtained the sanction of the Football Association. Mr. Tagg replied, 'No; but I have written for it.' - Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, Wednesday, 27 September 1905.
"With regard to the application of Messrs. Tagg and Campbell, of the National Football Agency, the Football Association has issued the following statement:
   "The Football Association has refused its approval to the proposed tour on the ground that it is being arranged by an agency which has been acting in disregard of its rules, and they have no information as to its financial arrangements. It is against the policy of the Football Association allow the game to be expoited by individuals for their private profit."
- The Daily News, Thursday, 28 September 1905
"The application of W. C. Athersmith for relief for having played with Messrs. Tagg and Campbell's team on the continent was declined."
- The Nottingham Evening Post, Tuesday, 6 February 1906.
"F.T. Bailey, E. Cooper, W.C. Athersmith, and H. Fish, who took part in the Tagg-Campbell tour, applied for their suspension to be removed. With regard to the application of Athersmith, the committee decided that it should not be entertained until the end of this season. The suspensions of Fish, Bailey, and Cooper will be removed after December 31st, 1906."
- The Birmingham Daily Mail, Monday, 3 September 1906
"The Football Association have officially notified W.C. Athersmith that his suspension had been removed as from May 16th" - Eastern Daily Press, Saturday, 18 May 1907
Attempts to be reinstated as an amateur failed on 1 August 1907.

League History
369 appearances, 88 goals
Aston Villa FC 1891-1901 269 appearances, 76 goals.
debut: 9 March 1891 Aston Villa FC 0 Preston North End FC 1.
Small Heath FC 1901-05 one hundred appearances, twelve goals.
debut: 14 September 1901 Small Heath FC 4 Manchester City FC 1.
last: 7 January 1905 Notts County FC 0 Small Heath FC 0.
Club honours FA Cup runners-up 1891-92 (5ᵃ 1ᵍ), winners 1894-95 (5ᵃ 2ᵍ), 1896-97 (7ᵃ 4ᵍ);
Football League Division One Champions 1893-94 (25ᵃ 10ᵍ), 1895-96 (29ᵃ 8ᵍ), 1896-97 (30ᵃ 8ᵍ), 1898-99 (28ᵃ 4ᵍ), 1899-1900 (24ᵃ 4ᵍ); Division Two runners-up 1902-03 (30ᵃ 6ᵍ);
Individual honours Football League (nine appearances, four goals)
Distinctions Athersmith was reputedly the quickest footballer in his day. His club, Aston Villa, pitted him up against the quickest the other teams could offer.
Height/Weight 5' 8", 10st 4lb [1892], 5' 8½", 11st  [1895]


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990], Patrick Talbot's White Shirt, Black Country [2004] & ENFA.

England Career

Player number One of five who became the 185th players (187) to appear for England.
Position(s) Outside-right
First match No. 44, 5 March 1892, Ireland 0 England 2, a British Championship match at Cliftonville Gardens, Cliftonville, Belfast, aged 19 years 300 days.
Last match No. 70, 7 April 1900, Scotland 4 England 1, a British Championship match at Celtic Park, Kerrydale Street, Parkhead, Glasgow, aged 27 years 332 days.
Major tournaments British Championship 1891-92, 1896-97, 1897-98, 1898-99, 1899-1900;
Team honours British Championship winners 1891-92, 1897-98, 1898-99;
Individual honours The Whites (two appearances, 1ᵍ March 1891-February 1892)
The Professionals (one appearance, 1ᵍ March 1897)
The North (one appearance, February 1899)

Beyond England

Regarded as a player with pace, this came from track experience - he had run both as an amateur and professionally with some success, in an unusual variety of distances from 100 yards to a mile. Became a landlord in his native Bloxwich in August 1901 after Villa let him go, namely at the Red Lion and the Vine Inn, he also took possession of the Bloxwich Alexandria grounds, before he spent two seasons with Grimsby Town FC as a trainer from 15 June 1907 (manager from 17 October) until his departure in August 1909. He returned to Redditch, where he was landlord of the Royal George in Evesham Street. Died soon after. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.15/16

The Numbers
parties Appearances comp. apps minutes goal ave. min comp. goals captain
12 12 12 1080 3 360 min 3 none
minutes are an approximation, due to the fact that many matches rarely stick to exactly ninety minutes long, allowing time for injuries and errors.
12 9 1 2 43 13 +30 0 5 3.583 1.083 79.2 +7
All of his matches were played in the British Championship

Venue Record

Venue P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
Home 6 5 0 1 30 5 +25 0 3 5.00 0.167 83.3 +4
Away 6 4 1 1 13 8 +2 0 2 2.167 1.333 75.0 +3

Tournament Record

British Championship Competitions
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1891-92 1 1 0 0 2 0 +2 0 1 2.00 0.00 100.0 +1
BC 1896-97 3 2 0 1 11 2 +9 0 2 3.667 0.667 66.7 +1
BC 1897-98 3 3 0 0 9 3 +6 0 1 3.00 1.00 100.0 +3
BC 1898-99 3 3 0 0 19 3 +16 0 1 6.333 1.00 100.0 +3
BC 1899-1900 2 0 1 1 2 5 -3 0 0 1.00 2.50 25.0 -1
BC All 12 9 1 2 43 13 +30 0 5 3.583 1.083 79.2 +7

All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 12 9 1 2 43 13 +30 0 5 3.583 1.083 79.2 +7
12 9 1 2 43 13 +30 0 5 3.583 1.083 79.2 +7

Match History
 Club: Aston Villa F.C. - twelve full appearances (1080 min) 3ᵍ F.A. International Select Committee - twelve full appearances (1080 min) 3ᵍx

Age 18 trial  
one appearance - The Whites vs. The Stripes, 24 March 1891;
Age 19    
one appearance - The Whites vs. The Stripes, 29 February 1892;

apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

1 44 5 March 1892 - Ireland 0 England 2
Cliftonville Gardens, Belfast
BC AW   or

one of five who became the 185th player (187) to appear for England
one of two who became the sixth player from Aston Villa FC to represent England

Age 24
2 59 20 February 1897 - England 6 Ireland 0
Trentbridge Cricket Ground, Nottingham
BC HW crossbar [3-0]

one appearance - The Amateurs vs. The Professionals, 15 March 1897;

3 60 29 March 1897 - England 4 Wales 0
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
BC HW disallowed [4-0] or
4 61 3 April 1897 - England 1 Scotland 2
Sports Arena, Crystal Palace
BC HL   or

Age 25
5 62 5 March 1898 - Ireland 2 England 3
Cliftonville Gardens, Belfast
BC AW 43 popped
disallowed [1-3]
6 63 28 March 1898 - Wales 0 England 3
The Racecourse, Wrexham
BC AW   or
7 64 2 April 1898 - Scotland 1 England 3
Celtic Park, Glasgow
BC AW   or

Age 26 trial  
one appearance - The South vs. The North, 1 February 1899;

8 65 18 February 1899 - England 13 Ireland 2
Roker Park, Sunderland
BC HW 22 long shot
crossbar [3-0]
9 66 20 March 1899 - England 4 Wales 0
Athletic Ground, Bedminster
BC HW hit post [1-0] or
10 67 6 April 1899 - England 2 Scotland 1
Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham
BC HW   or

Age 27
11 69 26 March 1900 - Wales 1 England 1
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
BC AD   or
12 70 7 April 1900 - Scotland 4 England 1
Celtic Park, Glasgow
BC AL   or