George Burrell Ramsay (1 March 1855 in Glasgow, Scotland - October 1935 in Llandrindod Wells) was secretary/manager of Aston Villa Football Club in the most successful period of their history. George Ramsay is quite simply, the most important figure in the history of Aston Villa.
In the modern game it seems no surprise that a lot of managerial greats hail from Scotland – Bill Shankly, Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jock Stein, George Graham to name a few, but George Ramsey was the first..
He was 21 years old when he made the trip south, arriving in Birmingham to work as a clerk in a brass foundry. Had the rough Scotsman not come across a practice football match (in 1876) between a bunch of ill-organised, inexperienced cricketers, it is unlikely that the name Aston Villa would be a household name today. In fact, the infant club would probably have spluttered out of existence within the year. Such was the impact George Ramsay had on the club's early years. Ramsay later described their approach to the game as 'a dash at the man and a big kick at the ball'. Ramsay was a gifted footballer, and amazed the players with his dribbling and control that day, so much so that he was persuaded to join them and was quickly made captain of the team. Soon people were coming to Villa matches just see him.
Ramsay, along with John Linsay discovered the ground at Perry Barr, which meant Villa were able to charge admission for the first time. He also took charge of training which saw dramatic improvement that showed in the results. Villa slowly improved under his guidance which culminated in Villa winning their first trophy in 1880 with Ramsay as captain. Ramsay retired from playing in 1882, but remained at the club as secretary/manager from 1884-1926. In which time Villa had won the Football League and FA Cup 6 times each, establishing themselves as the premier football club in England.
In all Ramsay's association with the football club lasted 59 years, a time which will always be known as Aston Villa's 'Golden Age' - a time that brought him a hatful of trophies which included six League Titles and 6 FA Cup wins – making him one of the greatest managers of all time. To put this into context, in terms of winning titles, he is ranked 3rd behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Bob Paisley no less – surely the greatest Villain of all.
Ramsay died in 1935 and was laid to rest in St Mary's churchyard, Handsworth Wood, his gravestone reads " Founder of Aston Villa". Within a year of Ramsay's death the Midlands giants were relegated,