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Players Index Page Last Updated
30 January 2024

Howard Spencer

Aston Villa FC

6 appearances, 0 goals

P 6 W 4 D 1 L 1 F 14: A 4
75% successful


captain: three
minutes played:

Howard Spencer's bath time


  Howard Spencer
Birth Monday, 23 August 1875 in Lichfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, Warwickshire
  registered in Aston July-September 1875.
Baptism 24 Aril 1876 at St. Peter's & St. Paul's Church in Aston

According to the 1881 census, Howard is the fifth of seven children to Joseph Henry and Fanny (née Lester), living at 33 Aston Village in Aston Manor. His father is a grease merchant.


According to the 1891 census, Howard is still one of the seven children still at home with their parents now at 23 Trinity Road in Handsworth, alongside two servants. His father is an oil merchant.


According to the 1901 census, all seven of the children are still at home with their parents, now at Moorfields, 17 Church Lane in Handsworth. Howard is an oil agent too, as is his father.
(His mother died in early 1906)


According to the 1911 census, Howard is living with his oldest brother and his young family. Howard is a coal factor, and with one servant, they live at Dunkeld, in Jockey Road, Sutton Coldfield.

Marriage to Maud Nevill, on Tuesday, 24 June 1913 at High Ercall Parish Church in Wellington.
  registered in Wellington April-June 1913.
"Howard Spencer, a former captain of Aston Villa Football Club, and a present member of the directorate, was married quietly yesterday to Miss Maud Nevill at High Ercall Parish Church, near Wellington, Salop. Mr. Howard Spencer has been aptly described as 'the knight-errant of the football field, his name stood for all that is best and chivalrous in the world of sport.'" - Birmingham Gazette, Wednesday, 25 June 1913
Children Howard and Maud Spencer had one son together. Nevill, (b.7 June 1916)

(His father died in the middle of 1913)
According to the 1921 census, Howard is living with his older sister, Kate, and younger sister, Charlotte, at 7 Windsor Road in Boscombe. Howard is still a coal factor.

  "It was announced yesterday that Mr. Howard Spencer will not seek re-election to the directorate of Aston Villa at the annual meeting next month. Mr. Spencer emphasises that his decision has been arrived at 'solely due to the fact that health does not permit him to devote the necessary amount of time to work.' Mr. Spencer's health during recent years has frequently interfered with his connection with the club, and only last season he was away for about four months, three of which he spent on a cruise in order to recuperate" - The Birmingham Gazette, Friday, 29 May 1936.
'The 61st annual ordinary general meeting of the shareholders of the club at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, on 3 July.'
  According to the 1939 register, Howard and Maud are married and they live at 62 Four Oaks Road in Sutton Coldfield. Howard is a retired Coal Contractor.
Death Sunday, 14 January 1940 at The Hollies on Four Oaks Road in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire
Buried in Little Aston.
aged 64 years 144 days registered in Sutton Coldfield January-March 1940.


"The death took place yesterday at The Hollis, Foar Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, of Mr. Howard Spencer, founder of the firm of Spencer, Abbott and Co., coal contractors, Birmingham, but better known as one of the greatest football players ever to wear the Aston Villa club's colours.  Mr. Spencer used to pride himself on the fact that he was 'a Birmingham man, bred and born.' and that, after being introduced to League football, he never played for any other club than Aston Villa. He was born in Edgbaston sixty-four years ago, and as a schoolboy played with the Albert Road team. He joined Aston Villa when barely eighteen years of age. and immediately entered the senior team, as right-back, with sturdy James Welford as his partner. Howard Spencer played in the Villa team from 1893 to 1907, and, except for one season when he was disabled by injury, he was rarely absent from the side.
"Howard Spencer typified all the virtues—manly, athletic and intellectual—that combine to make the great player. He has been described as 'the knight-errant of the football field,' for his name stood for all that is best and chivalrous in the world of sport. With a gravely handsome face, commanding stature and splendid physique, he was an outstanding figure on the field of play—and outstanding as much because of his intelligence and scientific resource as because of his physical qualities. He was modest to a degree both on and off the field.
"Mr. Spencer was co-opted to the Board of Aston Villa more than thirty years ago, and served the club in that capacity with the same disinterested earnestness as he did as a player. He retired from the Board in 1936 owing to ill-health. The present chairman (Mr. F. H. Normansell) says of him: 'Howard Spencer was one of the most loyal and lovable of friends. His geniality was a byword; and, just as he was a gentleman on the field of play in his early days, so, in his later years, he was a gentleman in the Boardroom His personal qualities endeared him to men everywhere. There was no football Boardroom throughout the country in which he was not always welcome.'
"In his playing days Mr. Spencer did not neglect the more serious side of life. Besides being the founder of his very successful firm, he had many other irons in the fire. In his leisure hours he was fond of a game of tennis or, in winter, of billiards and snooker.
"He is survived by his widow and one son, Mr. Nevill Spencer"
- The Birmingham Post, Monday, 15 January 1940..
Probate "SPENCER Howard of The Hollies Four Oaks-road Sutton Coldfield Warwickshire died 14 January 1940 Probate Birmingham 15 February to Nevill Spencer commercial clerk and Stanley Morris solicitor.
Effects £148325 14s." [2023 equivalent: £6,870,517]
"Mr. Howard Spencer...left estate value £148,325, with net £132,194, duty £34,968. Probate has been granted to his son, Nevill Spencer, commercial clerk of the same address, and Stanley Morris, solicitor of Neville House, Waterloo-street, Birmingham. He left some specific bequests:—His residence to his wife and £15,000 upon trust for her during widowhood, with the remainder to his son Nevill, stating that he made no provision for her on re-marriage, as she is otherwise provided for' £15,000 upon trust for his son for life, with remainder to his children; £2,000 each to his brothers, Joseph, Ernest, and George Spencer, and his sisters Kate and Charlotte Spencer, Marion Harris, and Maud Claddo; £250 to his niece, Phyllis Rawlinson; £50 each to other nephews and nieces; £100 each to Sutton Coldfield Cottage Hospital, the N.S.P.C.C., the R.S.P.C.A., the Children's Hospital, Birmingham, and the City of Birmingham District Nursing Association, and the residue of the property to his wife during widowhood with the remainder to his son Nevill, or his issue." - The Evening Despatch, Friday, 23 February 1940.
Wednesday 2.30pm, 17 January 1940
Little Aston Church.
"The funeral of Mr. Howard Spencer, a former director of the Aston Villa Football Club, took place at Little Aston yesterday. Among those who attended the service yesterday at the Parish Church were representatives of football clubs, and some of Mr. Spencer's contemporaries during the period he played for Aston Villa. The service was conducted by the Rev. G. B. Cranwill, Vicar of Little Aston, and the Rev. W. W. Cruickshank, Vicar of Four Oaks." - The Birmingham Post, Thursday, 18 January 1940

Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990] &

Playing Career

Played schoolboy football in Birmingham before joining Birmingham junior side Stamford FC and then Birchfield Trinity FC, from where he joined Aston Villa FC in August 1894. In the early part of the 1898-99 season, Spencer refused to re-sign with Villa because of injury, despite the club offering to pay for specialist treatment. But he recovered, and he came to terms with Villa in December. After a successful playing career, and after playing his last league matches in November 1907, he was eventually reinstated as an amateur by the Football Association on 26 August 1909 after it had been defered a year. In 1912, Spencer was playing football with a coal trade team in a charity match.
League honours
258 appearances 2 goals
Aston Villa FC 1894-1907 258 appearances two goals
debut: 13 October 1894 Aston Villa FC 3 West Bromwich Albion FC 1.
last: 30 November 1907 Aston Villa FC 3 Newcastle United FC 3.
Club honours Football League Division One third place 1894-95 (23ᵃ 1ᵍ); Champions 1895-96 (29ᵃ 1ᵍ), 1896-97 (28ᵃ), 1898-99 (10ᵃ), 1899-1900 (28ᵃ), runners-up 18902-03 (27ᵃ), 1907-08 (3ᵃ);
FA Cup winners 1894-95 (4ᵃ), 1896-97 (7ᵃ), 1904-05 (5ᵃ);
Individual onours Football League (nine appearances)
Distinctions None
Height/Weight 5' 10½", 12st. 12lbs [1905].


Douglas Lammings' An English Football Internationalist Who's Who [1990].

England Career

Player number One of two who became 234th players (235) to appear for England
Position(s) Left/right-back
First match No. 60, 29 March 1897, England 4 Wales 0, a British Championship match at Bramall Lane, Highfield, Sheffield, aged 21 years 218 days.
Last match No. 85, 1 April 1905, England 1 Scotland 0, a British Championship match at The Sports Arena, Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London, aged 29 years 221 days.ᶜ
Major tournaments British Championship 1896-97, 1899-1900, 1902-03, 1904-05;
Team honours British Championship shared 1902-03, winners 1904-05;
Individual honours The Professionals (one appearance March 1897)
The North (one appearanceᶜ January 1903)
Distinctions Died twelve days after Tommy Boyle

Beyond England

Became a director of Aston Villa FC from 18 June 1909 until ill-health forced his resignation on 3 July 1936. Also became managing-director of a coal and coke contracting firm, Spencer Abbott & Co.. - An English Football Internationalists' Who's Who. Douglas Lamming (1990). Hatton Press, p.232.

The Numbers
parties Appearances comp. apps minutes captain
7 6 6 540 0 three
The minutes here given can only ever be a guideline and cannot therefore be accurate, only an approximation.
6 4 1 1 14 4 +10 0 3 2.333 0.667 75 +3
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 5 4 0 1 13 3 +10 0 3 2.60 0.60 80.0 +3
Away 1 0 1 0 1 1 =0 0 0 1.00 1.00 50.0 =0

Captain Record

Venue P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
Home 3 3 0 0 8 1 +7 0 2 2.667 0.333 100.0 +3
3 3 0 0 8 1 +7 0 2 2.667 0.333 100 +3

Tournament Record

British Championship Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 1896-97 2 1 0 1 5 2 +3 0 1 2.50 1.00 50.0 =0
BC 1899-1900 1 0 1 0 1 1 =0 0 0 1.00 1.00 50.0 =0
BC 1902-03 1 1 0 0 4 0 +4 0 1 4.00 0.00 100.0 +1
BC 1904-05 2 2 0 0 4 1 +3 0 1 2.00 0.50 100.0 +2
BC All 6 4 1 1 14 4 +10 0 3 2.333 0.667 75.0 +3

All Competition
Type P W D L F A GD FTS CS FAv AAv Pts% W/L
BC 6 4 1 1 14 4 +10 0 3 2.333 0.667 75.0 +3
6 4 1 1 14 4 +10 0 3 2.333 0.667 75 +3

Match History

 Club: Aston Villa F.C. - six full appearances (540 min) 3ᶜ F.A. International Select Committee - six full appearances (540 min) 3ᶜx

Age 21 trial  
one appearance - The Professionals vs. The Amateurs, 15 March 1897;

apps match match details comp res. rundown pos

1 60 29 March 1897 - England 4 Wales 0
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
BC HW   lb

one of two who became the 234th players (235) to appear for England
the twelfth player from Aston Villa FC to represent England

2 61 3 April 1897 - England 1 Scotland 2
Sports Arena, Crystal Palace
BC HL   lb

Age 24
3 69 26 March 1900 - Wales 1 England 1
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
BC AD   rb
70 7 April 1900 - Scotland 4 England 1, Celtic Park, Glasgow BC AL reserve

Age 27 trial  
one appearance - The South vs. The Northᶜ, 26 January 1903;

4 77 14 February 1903 - England 4 Ireland 0
Molineux, Wolverhampton
BC HW   ᶜrb

the 31st player to captain England

Age 29
5 84 27 March 1905 - England 3 Wales 1
Anfield Road, Liverpool
BC HW   ᶜrb
6 85 1 April 1905 - England 1 Scotland 0
Sports Arena, Crystal Palace
BC HW   ᶜrb