Leamington’s Greatest Footballer

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G H Green, Capt, 1st left, front row.  c 1934

George Henry Green was born in Leamington on May 2nd 1901. As his mother died giving birth, he was brought up by his grandmother in Eagle Street. His father George ( ‘Daddy’ senior) was a painter and decorator who also played football for Leamington Town. It was not long before George junior was following in his father’s sporting footsteps.  On 24th May 1919, George junior, playing for Leamington Imperial against Leamington Standard at Victoria Park in the Leamington Victory Cup final, was watched approvingly by the scouts of the Spa’s senior club, Leamington Town, who promptly signed him up.

George junior was an instant hit in the Coventry and North Warwickshire league for the Magpies. The following season at Nuneaton, they won the Birmingham Junior cup, defeating Lower Gornal Athletic 5-0. Nuneaton promptly paid the Magpies the princely sum of £5 to sign Daddy over to them, with further to come if Daddy moved upwards. The scouts were soon flocking to Manor Park and while several clubs were debating about signing him, Sheffield United nipped in in May 1923 with a cheque for £250, followed by another £100 in November.

Green's Cup Final Shirt

Green’s Cup Final Shirt

George was immediately switched from right half to the left, where he formed a formidable triangle with Billy Gillespie and Fred Tunstall that lasted until the end of 1931/32. On April 25th 1925, in front of 91,763 spectators, Sheffield United defeated Cardiff City in the FA cup final at Wembley Stadium by a single goal scored by Tunstall. Within a month, ‘Daddy’ collected the first of eight England caps in France and was again on the winning side. His second and third caps were defeats by Wales and Scotland, the fourth saw a victory in Belgium then numbers five and six were draws against Ireland and Wales, his seventh was a 5-1 victory in France and he collected his last cap in Belgium, on the winning side yet again.

‘Daddy’ Green was ever present in 1923/24, 1924/25 and 1927/28. He captained the club from 1931 to 1934 and after eleven years at Bramall Lane, he had played 393 league games, made 29 FA cup and 16 “other” appearances totalling 438, scored 10 league goals and one cup goal. During his time in Sheffield, he was known as an all-round sportsman who also played the violin, earning himself the nickname “Fiddler” from his team mates. His courage was never in doubt: in a defeat by Blackburn Rovers, ‘Daddy’ dislocated his shoulder. It was put back without pain killers and he went back on the pitch to finish the game. ‘Daddy’ left Sheffield to return home, re-joining Leamington Town as player/coach in the summer of 1934 and the club immediately benefited: the average attendance shot up to 1,413. This figure fell slightly the next season to 1,343 and sadly, by 1936/37, the Magpies had decided to go into voluntary liquidation, selling the Windmill Ground to Coventry City for their “A” team. (They then took the Magpies’ place in the Birmingham Combination.)

Green worked at Benford’s factory for a while then took over the Ranelagh Inn for 4 years.   At the outbreak of war in 1939, he joined the Army as a Physical Training Instructor and on demob at the end of the war, became landlord of the Cottage Tavern in Ashorne village, where he stayed for the next 20 years. In retirement the family moved to Kineton, where George died on March 1st 1980.

Paul Vanes. July 2012