Charlie Athersmith

William Charles Athersmith Harper (10 May 1872 – 18 September 1910), known as Charlie Athersmith, was an English professional footballer who played as a winger. He played the majority of his club career at Aston Villa, making 307 appearances and scoring 85 goals, and also made 106 appearances for Small Heath. He was capped 12 times for England.

Charlie Athersmith
Charlie Athersmith pictured in Aston Villa colours in 1897
Personal information
Full name William Charles Athersmith Harper
Date of birth (1872-05-10)10 May 1872
Place of birth Bloxwich, England
Date of death 18 September 1910(1910-09-18) (aged 38)
Place of death Shifnal, England
Playing position(s) Outside right
Youth career
Bloxwich Wanderers
Bloxwich Strollers
Unity Gas
1891–1901 Aston Villa[1] 269 (75)
1901–1905 Small Heath[1] 100 (12)
National team
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1892–1900 England 12 (3)

Personal lifeEdit

Athersmith was born William Charles Athersmith Harper in Bloxwich, Staffordshire, to Isaac Harper and Mary Jane Wootton. Before becoming a professional footballer he was a clerk in Birmingham where he married Elizabeth Baggott in 1893. He is a first cousin of Rotherham United and Liverpool player Vic Wright. He died in Shifnal, Shropshire at the age of 38.[2]

Playing careerEdit

Aston VillaEdit

Athersmith played a key role in Villa's title-winning sides of 1894, 1896, 1897, 1899 and 1900 as well as reaching three FA Cup finals, finishing on the losing side in 1892 before gaining winners' medals in 1895 and the Double-winning final of the 1896–97 season. He was also a member of the team that were victims of a giant-killing in the 1899–1900 FA Cup at the hands of Millwall Athletic.[3]

A league match in November 1894 against Sheffield United at Perry Barr was played in driving freezing rain. Villa's players had dry clothes available,[4] and were given hot drinks, a courtesy apparently not extended to the visitors.[5][6] The Sheffield players were worse affected, several – including goalkeeper Willie Foulke – needing treatment for exposure, and by the end of the match only six were still on the field.[6][7] Villa's Jack Devey put on an overcoat, and Athersmith played under an umbrella borrowed from a spectator[8][7] before collapsing in the dressing-room afterwards.[6] Claims that Athersmith scored a goal from beneath the umbrella appear to be apocryphal.[9][10]

Small HeathEdit

In 1901 he joined Small Heath, where he made 106 appearances and scored 13 goals.[11]

Representative footballEdit

Athersmith represented England at outside right on 12 occasions and scored three goals, each of which came against Ireland.[2] He also scored four goals from 9 appearancess for the Football League XI.[2]


  1. ^ a b Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: SoccerData. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-899468-67-6.
  2. ^ a b c "Charlie Athersmith". England Football Online. Chris Goodwin & Glen Isherwood. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  3. ^ "All time greatest F A cup giant killings Number 19". The Giant Killers. Steve Porter. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Ernest Needham's story". Sports Special. Sheffield. 28 December 1912. p. 5.
  5. ^ "Football". Burnley Express. 14 November 1894. p. 4.
  6. ^ a b c "Football Fancies". Evening Telegraph and Star. Sheffield. 16 November 1894. p. 4.
  7. ^ a b "Aston Villa v. Sheffield United. A farcical performance. United finish with six men. Serious illness of the players". Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 13 November 1894. p. 8.
  8. ^ Murray, Scott (2017). The Title: The Story of the First Division. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-4729-3662-2.
  9. ^ "Aston Villa v Sheffield United, 12 November 1894". AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Villa star Charlie Athersmith's England caps set to be sold for £1,000 each". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  11. ^ Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. pp. 148–151. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.

External linksEdit