My mother was an enthusiastic Aston Villa supporter, like her father before her, and she was sure and certain that her maternal grandfather Charles Samuel Davis (above) had played for Aston Villa Football Club. Mom was sure she also had seen a photo of him in Villa uniform. When we were talking to one of her maternal cousins, they too were convinced that their grandfather, a Squelch, had also played for Villa.
And so my mother’s cousin wrote to the Archives at Aston Villa to see if they had any records of Albert Charles Squelch or Charles Samuel Davis playing for the team. They had not. They asked to see the picture of Charles in kit, but we were unable to find the picture among the images Mom had inherited from her father. And so that is where the story was left. Unproven.
Fast forward to today – yes a very recent discovery. I had been going through the British Newspaper archives in search of articles on my mother’s paternal relatives – the Paulins to see if they had participated in any kind of associational or social activities when they were living in Birmingham from the late 1870s to the mid 1880s. And score! Ernest Alfred Paulin, my great-grandfather, and his older brother Frederick Paulin both played soccer for the Acock’s Green Star. Frederick was a forward and Ernest was the captain. They appear to have played for the team from about 1880-1884.
Ernest apparently was also a part of the Acock’s Green cricket club.* Anyway, this got me to thinking….. what if I key in the terms Squelch and football and see what that gets me? I was going to then do Davis and football, but I got scared of the possibilities. In the end it resulted in one article, and it was enough to prove that my ancestors played football – both Davis and Squelch…..
Both a Davis and a Squelch played for Perry Barr Holders in 1887. Not a coincidence in naming – for those who say that last names are insufficient – both Charles Davis and Albert Squelch lived in Perry Barr at the time.
So we did not play for Aston Villa, which is sad, because it would have pleased my Mom to no end if we had, but they were keen football players, and we can prove that they did play in their area.
*Ernest was also the captain of the Victoria Albion Cricket club in British Columbia, and a competitor in the Caledonian Games in Victoria, and a billiards competitor. I get tired just thinking about it.