Villa were of course one of the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888, but our story must start with four names: Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood.

Legend has it that the quartet from the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel cricket team met in 1874 under a gas-light in Heathfield Road to form a new club.

They were looking for a sporting pursuit to keep them occupied during the long winter months and turned their attentions to the beautiful game after witnessing an impromptu game on a meadow off Heathfield Road.
 
The newly-formed Aston Villa made their debut against Aston Brook St Mary's in 1874 in an unusual game - the first-half being played under rugby rules and the second-half under Association rules. For the record Villa won 1-0 with a goal from Jack Hughes.
 
Villa moved to their first proper home in 1876 and the Perry Barr HQ was taken on a three-year lease at a rent of £7 10s for the first year, rising to £15 and £20 in subsequent years.
 
By the late 1870s Villa were fast becoming the region's dominant side - one memorable game seeing neighbours Small Heath hammered 22-0.

The 1880/81season saw Villa win 21 of 25 outings and lift the Staffordshire Cup. The progress being made by the fledgling club was further illustrated by FA Cup quarter-final appearances in 1883 and 1884.

Villa were soon celebrating a triumph in the famous competition - lifting the trophy in April 1887 with a 2-0 victory against West Brom at The Oval. Aston Villa had become one of the premier teams in the land in just 13 years.