Wednesbury Old Athletic F.C.

Wednesbury Old Athletic was an English association football club based in Wednesbury, West Midlands (Staffordshire at the time). There were three clubs that had this name.

Wednesbury Old Athletic
Full nameWednesbury Old Athletic Football Club
Nickname(s)Old 'Uns[1]
GroundThe Oval, Wednesbury[3]


The programme for the 1883 Birmingham Senior Cup final between the "Old Uns" and Aston Villa

The first began life as the Wednesbury Literary & Athletic Institute in October 1874, adopting the more familiar title of Wednesbury Old Athletic Club (WOAC for short) the following year. WOAC became a founder member of the Birmingham & District Football Association in December 1875 and won the inaugural Birmingham Cup competition, defeating Stafford Road 3–2 in the 1877 Final. This success was repeated two years later, and in 1880, having joined the Staffordshire Football Association, the Old Athletic won the Staffs Cup, beating Aston Villa 2–1 in the Final. The club played in the FA Cup of 1881–82 and reached the quarter finals, beating Aston Villa by four goals to two on the way. But they lost 13–0 to Villa in the Cup on 30 October 1886 (still Villa's biggest ever win) and would later be knocked out of the competition by Blackburn Rovers. The Old Uns played in the tournament in every season up to its eventual demise in 1893, but never matched the performance of that first season, and failed to progress beyond the qualifying rounds after 1888. Wednesbury Old Athletic played in the Birmingham & District League from 1890 to 1891, before joining the Midland League for the following two seasons. After narrowly missing out on the Midland League championship in 1892 the club's fortunes declined. Wednesbury was unable to support a professional club and the Old Athletic disbanded in July 1893. The second club was formed from the ashes of the first, but its career was to be brief. Unable to obtain the use of a regular home ground, the club withdraw from the Walsall Junior League half way through the season and subsequently folded. The third club began life as Wednesbury Excelsior in around 1891. It existed in local football, playing cup ties and friendlies, before joining the West Midlands Amateur League in 1896. Finishing as runners-up at the first attempt, the club joined the Walsall & District League in 1897 and adopted the title of Wednesbury Old Athletic. WOAC spent 10 seasons in this league, winning the title in 1900 & 1905, and the Staffordshire Junior Cup three times in six seasons, as well as various other local cup competitions. In 1907 Wednesbury Old Athletic joined the Birmingham Combination, spending three seasons there before joining the professional Birmingham & District League. Here, the club pitted itself against future Football League clubs Crewe Alexandra, Kidderminster Harriers, Shrewsbury Town, Stoke City, Walsall & Wrexham, in addition to the reserve sides of Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Coventry City, West Bromwich Albion & Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Old Uns never finished higher than 12th out of 18th in this league, and left the competition in 1924 following its sixth consecutive application for re-election. The club dropped back down to the Birmingham Combination, but after collecting just a single point from 12 fixtures the Old Athletic withdrew from the competition and disbanded.[4]

FA Cup recordEdit


Season Date Round Venue Opposition Result Score
1881–82 5 November 1881 First Round H Mitchell St George's W 9–0
3 December 1881 Second Round H Small Heath Alliance W 6–0
Wednesbury Old Athletic awarded a "Bye" in the third round
21 January 1882 Fourth Round H Aston Villa W 4–2
11 February 1882 Fifth Round A Blackburn Rovers L 1–3
1882–83 4 November 1882 First Round A Chesterfield Spital W 7–1
18 November 1882 Second Round A Aston Villa L 1–4
1883–84 10 November 1883 First Round H Mitchell St George's W 5–0
1 December 1883 Second Round H Wolverhampton Wanderers W 4–2
29 December 1883 Third Round H Aston Villa L 4–7
1884–85 8 November 1884 First Round A Derby Midland W 2–1
6 December 1884 Second Round A West Bromwich Albion L 2–4
1885–86 31 October 1885 First Round H Burton Swifts W 5–1
21 November 1885 Second Round A West Bromwich Albion L 2–3
1886–87 30 October 1886 First Round A Aston Villa L 0–13
1887–88 15 October 1887 First Round A West Bromwich Albion L 1–7


Played Wins Draws Losses "Byes" Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Most Successful Campaign Most Played Opposition Biggest Win Biggest Defeat
15 8 0 7 1 53 48 +5 1881–82 (Fifth Round) Aston Villa (4 times) 9–0 (vs. Mitchell St George's, 1881–82) 0–13 (vs. Aston Villa, 1886–87)

Home groundEdit

The original club initially played at the Well's Field, through which Rooth Street now runs, opposite the Horse & Jockey public house. It later played at the Athletic Ground, on the upper side of Wood Green Cemetery, a site which forms part of Brunswick Park. Its best known home ground is often listed as the Oval on St Paul's Road, Wood Green, but colloquially referred to as Elwell's Ground after a factory of the same name in the nearby area. It was also nearby Bescot Junction (Junction 9 of the M6 in modern terms) and Wood Green railway station.[5] This is close to the site of present-day Wood Green High School, where a playing field known affectionately as "Elwell's" existed until recently. (The site has been redeveloped in recent times and now forms part of Wood Green High School). The name "Elwell" refers to Edward Elwell, who owned a large forge in Wednesbury that was previously situated at Wood Green.[6] The later club played at several different grounds, including 'The Press Ground' in Wood Green (1894 to 1896), The Oval (1896 to 1898), The Central Grounds on Lloyd Street (1898 to 1910) and The Leabrook Grounds (known as The Boat) on Leabrook Road (1910 to 1924).

Former playersEdit

1. Players that have played/managed in the Football League or any foreign equivalent to this level (i.e. fully professional league).
2. Players with full international caps.
3. Players that hold a club record or have captained the club.

Related mediaEdit

  • Carr, Steve (2010). The Old Uns Revisited – Wednesbury Old Athletic 1893 to 1924. Spellbound. ISBN 978-0-9565030-1-5.

A matchday report from 1883 depicting a game between Wednesbury Old Athletic and Aston Villa is featured in The Aston Villa Chronicles.[7]