Express & Star

Fan launches appeal for commemorative plaque for footballer murdered 100 years ago this weekend

A football fan is beginning a campaign to help tell the story of a player who was murdered by his landlord 100 years ago on Armistice Day.

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Graham Payne, 76, from Pelsall says the story of Tommy Ball is very little known. He has been working for two years on the project and wants to see a plaque to remember the former player

Aston Villa super-fan Graham Payne, from Pelsall, said he is preparing to launch an appeal to install a commemorative plaque to murdered Villa player Tommy Ball.

Tommy was shot dead by his landlord on November 11, 1923, in his cottage home on Beeches Road, West Bromwich, in a row over chickens.

Now, Mr Payne is preparing to appeal to bosses at Aston Villa Football Club to create a remembrance plaque for the football player on the site where he died.

Mr Payne said: "I have been working on this project for over two years. It is something that I have had on my mind since I learned about Tommy Ball.

"This is information that I was raised on - it's sad that every Villa fan I have talked to is mostly unaware of Tomy Ball.

"This is what I am approaching the club about, getting some sort of memorial created, a commemorative plaque to remember him."

Tommy was murdered by his landlord George Stagg, a former Birmingham City Police officer, on Armistice Day following a dispute over Ball's chickens getting into Stagg's garden.

Mr Payne continued: "As far as I know he is the only professional league player to be murdered to date.

"I am really hoping the club will go along with this idea. He is really part of the fabric of what the club is. It's really important that he be recognised."

If successful, the plaque will sit on the site of Tommy Ball's death which has since been turned into the Beeches Pool and Fitness Centre.

Mr Payne is expecting to approach the club with the appeal later this month.