William McGregor is to be inducted into prestigious Hall of Fame
William McGregor is set to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.
It is impossible to overestimate the tremendous debt football owes to McGregor, who held every post possible at Villa Park during his time with the claret and blues.
McGregor, the father of the Football League passed away in December 1911 but his statue stands guard on the game outside Villa Park, clutching the letter that changed the world.
On March 2, 1888 - 125 years ago this week - the Villa secretary wrote to Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion and his own club, proposing they confront the spiralling wage bills of players and a stop-start, cup-riddled fixture list with an organised division. The Football League was born!
The 12 founder members were Accrington, Villa, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It was a wondrous written document that changed the face of football.
It was also McGregor who recognised that Villa needed to be put on a more business-like footing and first proposed, in January 1889, that the club be converted to a limited liability company. He then fought hard to bring this to fruition, achieving his ultimate target in January 1896.
His achievements are now set to be recognised in the prestigious Hall of Fame, which was launched in 2002.
The Hall aims to celebrate and highlight the achievements of the all-time top English footballing talents, as well as non-English players, managers and officials who have become significant figures in the history of the English game.
McGregor joins the 1982 European Cup side in the Hall of Fame, the Rotterdam heroes having been inducted in 2011 by Ron Saunders at a star-studded ceremony.
Other notable names in the Hall of Fame include Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton and the 1966 England World Cup team.
The induction panel includes the likes of Gordon Banks, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Ray Clemence, Kenny Dalglish and Peter Schmeichel as well as former boss Graham Taylor.
Villa have loaned their famous portrait of McGregor - previously housed in the McGregor Suite - to the National Football Museum for one year for the '125 Years of the Football League' exhibition, which launches on Thursday.
Check out the Villa Hall of Fame.
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