Eminent Victorians (The Midlands)
During the 1860s Notts County, Stoke, Nottingham Forest were founded and by the end of the decade, association football was beginning to become established in the densely populated industrial heartlands of Birmingham and the Black Country. Labour reforms meant that working people now (generally) had Saturday afternoons free for leaisure and, as happened in Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North-East, this provided fertile ground for the development of the game and the involvement of working people.
The Birmingham & District Cup, which started in 1876-77, was for a period second only to the FA Cup in importance.
Professionalism, legalised in 1885, had a dramatic impact on the game in the Midlands just as it did in Lancashire. Professional teams with a large population to draw on could attract the best players and more spectators at the expenses of the smaller, amateur sides, many of whom went to the wall.
Sources: Peter Ferrette, Lost Teams of The Midlands (M Bradbury 2013), Charles Alcock's Football Annuals 1868-1891 researched by Robin Horton, The Straw Plaiters.
Photograph: Gottfried Fuchs Blogspot