Older fans on here will recall George Andrews, a true Fellows Park hero in the mid 1970’s.I went along last Thursday for what turned out to be a long chat about his life and times. If you are too young to have seen him play, this is an insight to what he was all about…
What a great article - thanks for posting it.
I’ve never seen a better header of a ball than George -he wasn’t a tall man but had an amazing leap. As The Buck says in the article, George was a very unselfish player who laid on many of his goals.
It’s good to know that he is healthy and seemingly enjoy life.
Thanks for your feedback @Natalie-Drest. Yes he is amazingly fit and healthy and although now he is widowed he seemed quite contented with his life and sees his family quite often. Hasn’t put on an ounce of weight, is still careful of what he eats and as I sad in the article still walks a lot. Yes a very unselfish player who made loads of goals for others in his career.
Nice article and some really interesting stuff in there (Kevin Keegan must have been relieved Southport were so greedy!)
Thanks Sadlad. You are the man of all things Walsall history.
I was early/mid teens when George played and those years and the next 10 were the best of my Walsall watching life.
I remember talking to George in Tipton park many years later. I was like a big kid still.
Yes @Coop63 he sighed when he told me about the Shanks interest. He said if Southport were not in such financial difficulties he would have been happy to have seen out his career there. George and Bucko are my all time fave players brilliant combination from a special period.
Cheers @Belphegor When I was told George was willing to meet up I was like a kid in a sweetshop! Id only met him once before around 4 years ago (that’s when that picture of him was taken) and had 15 minutes with him then in the Saddlers Club. I was with him for around two hours 20 mins and he told me so many other stories of his time with us and other clubs that I couldn’t put into print! He is such a humble man and that bit about only wanting to play for the fans he must have said 3 or 4 times and it was certainly heartfelt.
Fans of a certain age would struggle to disagree with you on those 2 players.
I was a young lad at the time and in my early years as a fan but my god it was great to stand in the Street End and watch them terrorise defences…
Down to earth, genuine hard working men for whom the shirt meant something - Sorry to merge topics and sound like an old fart but how different things are today with the current bunch!
Yes @Coop63 Bucko, George, Bernie and Shinner - what a strike force they were and for 73-4 all four were on our books. He had no time for Ronnie Allen at all, despite him being one of his Albion boyhood heroes. Other ex-Saddlers team mates I’ve spoke to also have a bit of a downer on Allen. George made the point that if he hadn’t have been injured at the start of 73-4 we would never have had Buck and as fans tend to forget, we only had AB on an initial month’s loan to begin with.
Fate, luck (good and bad) and ironies all conspire in any good story…
I consider I was lucky to have started to follow the Saddlers when I did and the memories created remain (thanks to players like George…)
I’m getting all melancholic now:smiley:
Bobby Shinton lived opposite my primary school in Hateley Heath, West Brom.
Used to come into the playground and have a kick about with us.
Great article. So George was underrated by both of the high-profile managerial flops of the 70s. Says more about them than him.
I’ll never forget that goal against Newcastle- what a header. It was great being a Saddlers fan then: we had some real excitement from our cup runs. Now, it’s just a drudge. Very little excitement, players who don’t respect the shirt, a chairman who sees us just as a cash generator and nothing to look forward to apart from an annual fight against relegation. Will it ever change?
Cheers @Shrewsbury-Saddler He said he felt a bit guilty when he used to score against us for other teams, think he thought about us before he even joined us! Said Stan Jones was a little instrumental in making our management aware that he would be a good asset for us- as Stan had a job to keep up with him!
That iconic picture of him nodding home against Newcastle is in his lounge along with the one he allowed the press into his house the day after the Newcastle game of his wife and two young daughters. No pics hanging up from his days at other clubs.
@Belphegor there’s a Saddlers fan I know who was at Lye Town the same time as Bobby Shinton who speaks volumes of him.
What a great article and what a fantastic character. He was a real hero of mine, his ability to hang in the air for headers was exceptional.
I was at the 6-2 defeat at Grimsby. I’d forgotten it was George’s first game and goals. I remember it more for the fact that we had Joe Mayo at centre half and he had a shocking game!
Thanks @ShropsSaddler I wasn’t at Cleethorpes but I was at his second game at Wrexham. Funnily enough he mentioned Joe Mayo and said there was a wealth of talent like him and Bobby Shinton in the local West Midland leagues at that time.
I know this will sound like an old fart moaning on about the good old days, but it was a different world then.
Third division players lived in council houses or modest semis and didn’t drive around in Mercs at 22 years old, giving it large. Shinton lived in a maisonette in Hateley Heath - not the most affluent of areas. Nick Athey lived in a semi in Cherry Tree Avenue on the Yew Tree. George went to work as a park keeper after he finished. All genuine, down to earth, working class blokes.
Bernie Wright with his beer gut, sideburns and ketchup on his shirt.
Players had an affinity with the fans and most of them payed for the same club for most or all of their careers. As said above, the cup runs were fantastic, in the days when the big clubs prized them.
And then there was the buzz of wondering if you might get your arse kicked every time you went to a match, unless you were Chunkster, of course
@Belphegor Indeed mate. I remember in the mid 60’s Keith Ball lived in Rutter Street Caldmore (he wouldn’t like to live there now! ) Yes 24 years George worked for the parks and gardens and he gave me some advice on lawn care! Asked him why he always wore those black and white bathing trunks under his shorts (which were always evident when he leapt up to head the ball etc) Thought they may have been due to superstition but laughing he replied, “No, they were simply more comfortable than the jockstrap!”