As much as they have struggled in recent years, there is no doubt that Villa are on of the most historic clubs in English football history. They were one of the founding members of the Football League, and have won numerous trophies and a European Cup. I doubt that I will ever bore from writing about legends of the club. But everyone once in a while, I'll take a look at the less spectacular moments in club history. So here is the first edition of Holte History: Not Quite Legends. This week we have three stories of men whose Villa history has at least one interesting moment.
Gershom Cox was born in March 1863 in Birmingham. He was by no means a bad player for Aston Villa. He made 102 appearances from 1888 to 1892 at fullback for Villa. He even has a FA Cup runners up medal from 1892. He also played for the wonderfully named teams of Excelsior, Willenhall Pickwick, Walsall Bruswick, and Bloxwich Strollers in his career. But why is he part of this. Well...
Cox took the field with Villa on September 8, 1888 against Wolverhapton Wanderers, in one of five games first ever day of the Football League. Because of the fact that it was 1888 this can't be confirmed, but, it is widely considered that in this game, Gershom Cox scored the first ever goal in the history of the Football League. For Wolverhampton Wanderers. In the Aston Villa net. In attempting to clear a shot, Cox mishit the ball and sent it into his own net. The game finished 1-1, but Cox is forever known as the first goal scorer in Football League history. But considering the circumstances, I think it's not a distinction he would enjoy.
Born on December 3, 1951, John Burridge grew up in the northwest town of Workington, England. He ended up becoming a goal keeper for his local club of Workington. After playing there from 1969-71, he signed for Blackpool where he played from 71-75 making over 100 appearances. Aston Villa signed him for £75,000 in 1975. He played at Villa Park from 75 to 78, but towards the end of his time at the club, he lost his place to eventual league winner and European Cup final starter Jimmy Rimmer. Burridge went on loan to Southend United in 78 and eventually left permanently for Crystal Palace later in the year.
After Crystal Palace, Burridge played for QPR, Wolves, Derby, Sheffield United, Southampton, Newcastle, Hibernian, Newcastle, Scarborough, Lincoln City, Enfield, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Dunfermline, Dumbarton, Falkirk, Manchester City, Notts County, Witton Albion, Darlington, Grimsby Town, Gateshead, Norhampton Town, Queen of the South, Purfleet, Blyth Spartans, Scarborough, and finished as a player-manager back at Blyth Spartans in 1997.
No relation to Gersham (as far as I know), Neil Cox was born October 8, 1971. Cox made his debut for his local club, Scunthorpe United at the age in 19 in 1990. After a season at the club, Cox was bought by Aston Villa for £400,000 and 1600 stadium seats. Yes, 1600 stadium seats.
You see, Scunthorpe's stadium, Glanford Park opened in August 1988, which means it probably had terracing. And after an event that happened later that season, Scunthorpe would've needed seats. And luckily for them they wear claret and blue, and when Aston Villa came asking for Neil Cox, luckily for them Villa had some seats that would fit in perfectly color wise in Glanford Park. So off went Cox to Villa and seats to Scunthorpe.
Cox played at Villa from 1991 to 1994, and even made an appearance in the 1994 League Cup final win over Manchester United. After Villa, Cox made several stops in English football, most notably making over 200 appearances for Watford. He was briefly manager of Leek Town from 2010-11, and even made a couple of appearances as a player for Leek during an injury crisis. He's currently the assistant manager at AFC Wimbledon.
The chairs meanwhile played four seasons at left back for Scunthorpe. After that, they became a lower league journeyman making stops at Lincoln City, Carlisle United and Motherwell in Scotland amongst others. They are currently the reserves manager at Macclesfield Town.