The older brother of Aston Villa player Andy Hunter, Joppa, Ayrshire born centre forward Archie Hunter played for Ayr Thistle and Third Lanark, featuring on the losing side in the 1878 Scottish Cup Final when they were beaten 1-0 by Vale of Leven at Hampden Park, before coming to England to join Aston Villa in August 1878, just four years after their formation. His Aston Villa career began 10 years before the commencement of the first Football League season. In his League career (1888–1890) he played 35 matches scoring 11 goals.
Despite being one of the greats of the 19th century game, Hunter never played for Scotland because at the time the Scottish Football Association had a policy of not picking ‘Anglo-Scots’ i.e. Scots who played for English clubs.
Hunter originally came to Birmingham planning to sign for Calthorpe FC, but after failing to locate them was persuaded to sign for Villa instead after hearing of Aston Villa’s Scottish connections. Hunter later recalled in his memoirs;
“Aston Villa to me was a club that had come rapidly to the fore and asked me to become a member of it. I hesitated for some time, but at last my friend told me that a “brother Scot,” Mr. George Ramsay, was the Villa captain and that decided me. Mr. Ramsay was a Glasgow man and had exerted himself very considerably to bring the Villa team into the front rank.”
The headstone on his grave reads:
This monument is erected in loving memory of Archie Hunter, the famous captain of Aston Villa, by his football comrades and the club as a lasting tribute to his ability on the field and his sterling worth as a man.