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Frederick William Rinder (July 1858, Liverpool – 25 December 1938, Harborne, Birmingham) was a committee member and later chairman of Aston Villa during the club's 'Golden Age'. Known as the 'Grand Old Man of Aston Villa'; he is widely regarded as one of the greatest association football administrators. He was also largely responsible for the design and development of Villa Park.
Finance is important, but we should never forget that we are not talking about a mere business. This is the Aston Villa football club, and it deserves nothing short of the best.
—The Little Book of Aston Villa - Dave Woodhall – page 13
Rinder arrived in Birmingham in 1876 at the age of 18 and became a member of the club in 1881. He first came to the fore in 1887 when Villa built the Grand Stand at Perry Barr, as he was by trade, a surveyor for the Birmingham City Corporation his expertise and contacts proved invaluable to the club. He became the club's financial secretary in 1892, and set about installing turnstiles at Villa's Perry Barr ground. Gate receipts immediately increased from £75 to £250. He introduced many other good business practices to the club. It was his idea to make Aston Villa a limited company.
Rinder was also the instigator of the infamous Barwick Street meeting in February 1893, at which he swept away the men who were running Villa into the ground, criticizing the board's tolerance of ill discipline and players' drinking. The following season saw Villa win their first League Championship.
He became chairman in 1898 and remained in the post until his resignation in 1925, when he stepped down largely due to the criticism he received for the spiralling cost of the new Trinity Road Stand. However, Rinder's view was that nothing but the very best was good enough for Aston Villa with its stained glass, Italian mosaics and grand frontage.
Following Villa's first relegation in 1936, the 78-year-old Rinder was brought back after an 11-year absence. His first act was to introduce a coach whom he met whilst on FA duty at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jimmy Hogan, who led Villa to the Second Division championship in 1937/38.
Rinder died on Christmas Day, 1938.
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