A look at Arsenal heroes – Charlie George

I thought I would take a look back at a few of our Arsenal Heroes and I’m starting off with a local player that you will all recognize and admire – Charles Frederick “Charlie” George

Charlie George 1

Charlie was born 10 October 1950 in Islington, North London.

Brought up deep in Arsenal territory, Charlie was just a nipper when he made his first trip to Highbury to see the Gunners play. His fiery nature showed up early in his life when he was expelled from a local school. As a young boy he played for Islington Schoolboys before he realised his dream when in May 1966 he signed as an apprentice at Arsenal and turned professional eighteen months later. In a short period of three to four years he had progressed from standing on the terraces watching his heroes to actually playing among them.

He made his debut against Everton in the opening game of the 1969/70 season and scored his first goal against West Bromwich Albion two games later. Unfortunately, ill-discipline marred his initial season and as a result he spent three months in the reserves. He was reinstated in the spring and as a19-year-old he helped the Gunners to European Fairs Cup glory. He brought a swagger previously unseen in a Bertie Mee side, and his impact meant he attracted much of the pre-season hype in the summer of 1970. It wasn’t a case of if he would be good but more a case of just how good he would become. Disaster lurked just around the corner when after scoring at Goodison Park on the opening day of the League season; Charlie suffered a broken ankle which kept him out until the New Year. During his absence he was replaced up front by Ray Kennedy. His skills and creativity allowed him to thrive in his new role as an attacking midfielder and from there he gave the team an added dimension that would prove to pay the ultimate dividend on a historic day at Wembley in May 1971.

Arsenal had wrapped up the league title at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane on the Monday when Ray Kennedy headed home a cross from George Armstrong – now just a short few days later they had to face Bill Shankley’s Liverpool in the FA Cup final. After 90 minutes the game was goalless but just two minutes into extra time Liverpool were ahead through Steve Heighway. Nine minutes later Eddie Kelly started what would be a remarkable Arsenal comeback. With eight minutes to go the game looked destined for a draw with both sets of players dead on their feet until George, Arsenal’s long-haired talisman, stepped up. John Radford squared the ball just outside the box and George took a touch to steady himself before lashing a thunderbolt of a shot past Ray Clemence into the Liverpool goal.

The game commentator described the goal as follows –
Radford to George – George –

HE SCORES!
GEORGE HAS DONE IT!
GEORGE HAS DONE IT!

His celebration is almost as famous as the goal itself as he dropped to the floor in exhaustion and lay flat on his back as his team-mates celebrated. It remains one of the most rousing and lasting images in Arsenal’s history as well as the history of the FA Cup.

 

charlie george 4

With the FA Cup win Arsenal completed their first League and Cup double.

Charlie George 5
He played four more seasons at Highbury, however the latter stages of his career with Arsenal were hampered with injuries and his rebellious streak which created issues with the club’s management; during the 1971–72 season he was disciplined by the club twice, first after head butting Liverpool’s Kevin Keegan, and then for flicking a V-sign at Derby County’s fans after scoring away at the Baseball Ground. He scored eleven goals in both 1971–72 and 1972–73 but his form declined and he only scored five times in 28 matches in 1973–74 and once again ill discipline caused a problem and he was dropped from the first team in 1974–75 after falling out with manager Bertie Mee. By Christmas 1974 he had been transfer listed, and he moved to Derby County in July 1975 for £100,000.

He spent three and a half years at Derby but, predictably, he fell out with coach Don Revie after being substituted and he was never picked again. He also had a loan spell at St George’s Budapest in Australia. After Derby, he went on to play for the Minnesota Kicks in the North American Soccer League, where he made 18 appearances in the1978 season. He then returned to England with Southampton and then he had a short period on loan to Nottingham Forest in 1980, he could not agree an extension to his loan at Forest and returned to Southampton, playing his last league game for them on 14 March 1981. In the summer of 1981 he left the club to move to Bulova in Hong Kong. A year later he returned to England to have short spells with Bournemouth and Derby County for a second time, and had a short time with Scottish side Dundee United before retiring in 1983.

Always a controversial figure, Charlie had his run-ins with the game’s authorities, but his supporters loved him no less for it. Sadly for him he never got the chance to fulfil his potential on the international stage and the hour he played for England against the Republic of Ireland in 1976 was to be his only cap. A disagreement with then boss Don Revie led to his substitution and a falling out with the England set-up.
After retiring from football he moved to New Milton, Hampshire to run a pub. For some years he had joint ownership in a garage business now he is back at Arsenal where he conducts “Legends” tours, and also acts as a match day host.

charlie george 3

GunnerN5

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60 Responses to A look at Arsenal heroes – Charlie George

  1. Red Arnie says:

    Brilliant account, GN5. 🙂 Now, that is an Arsenal man. Extremely talented and hardworking, and fiercely different and diffident. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Red Arnie says:

  3. Red Arnie says:

  4. Red Arnie says:

  5. Red Arnie says:

    what the F is going on? I give up on WordPress. Bl**dy imbeciles!

  6. Red Arnie says:

    In case anyone is interested, there are still some first edition signed copies available on Amazon. I ordered one just now. 🙂

  7. Red Arnie says:

    OK, thats FIRST and TEN. Back to retirement now. 🙂

  8. RA says:

    Well, you have done it again, GN5, another super read from Arsenal’s history. 🙂

    I have seen the clips of that CG goal many times. 🙂

  9. Eddie says:

    Thank you GN5, great article. So in a nutshell Charlie George was a thug 🙂 But why was he punished for headbutting Keegan, surely it was a good thing

  10. RA says:

    Hi Arnie, 🙂

    Charlie – Diffident? A less diffident player would be difficult to find.

    He was always a showman, and never slow to come forward – he left Arsenal because they would not pay him what he felt he was worth. (And he was probably right, I suspect.)

    Shy? Lacking in confidence? Really?

  11. Red Arnie says:

    I stand corrected, Redders. Dont know what I am smoking this morning!

    Perhaps thinking too hard whether or not to attend the Corbyn public event in Dundee this evening! 😛

  12. Eddie says:

    I watched the 11:15 clip with interest. they played good footy then even by today’s standards. However, I don’t think Charlie George would be given free hand to be himself now – he wasted a few chances walloping the ball and hoping. Good wallops as they were, he wouldn’t be allowed them now. He would have to pass, be patient, wait, ticka tacka and still hope that the ball would go in. Personally I prefer the old school approach – if you don’t try you don’t have a chance. Shoot!!!

  13. RA says:

    I have been having a quiet chuckleat how the Specialist-In-Blaming-Everyone-Else has got himself into a sexist row with the Chav doctor.

    The man (?) is a bullying, vain, narcissist who clearly is jealous of Eva because she is prettier than he is, and has stamped his little foot and pouted his disapproval.

    Unbelievable!

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Arnie, RA, Eddie.

    Thank you all for commenting on my post. I was thinking of writing a series of posts on Arsenal Heroes about both current and past Arsenal legends so I assume that at least 3 readers that would be in favour.

    Arnie you are beginning to rival Chas with your ability to find video gems.

    RA Mourning is also a specialist in egoism.

    Eddie, In my mind it’s always good to take a shot – tip-tap-toe football is pretty but not effectual against double decker defenses.

  15. Eddie says:

    GN5 – e.xact.ly!! Wenger is always banging on being ‘peyshent’ and weyteeeng for our opportunity, but I am a strong believer is grasping the opportunity when it presents itself with both legs.

  16. GunnerN5 says:

    Eddie, How many goals are scored by deflected shots? Last weekend both Chelsea and Man U got points due to deflections. Powerful shots also create rebounds which lad to goals – I say shoot whenever the opportunity presents itself.

  17. Eddie says:

    GN5 – me too! Last Sunday I was hoarse from shouting at the ems, but would they listen? Would they feck

  18. chas says:

    Excellent, GN5, ta.
    “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, Charlie,”
    “Born is the King of Highbury….”

    “This appeared in a Bristol newspaper on 28 January 1967 when Arsenal played Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup. …….. Just below the “N” in the word “NORTH” on the banner you can see a young Charlie George who was in his first season as an Arsenal apprentice.”
    ( courtesy of thearsenalhistory.com)

    So May 1966 Charlie signed as an apprentice; 8 months later he was taking a football special to Bristol Temple Meads to see his beloved Gunners in the Cup. Somehow doubt that would happen today. 🙂

  19. RA says:

    Chas,

    If the prize for guessing who was the future Arsenal star standing under the N of the banner had amounted to £1 million ——- I would have waved goodbye to it as I can only see the likeness as you have pointed it out, but I would never have guessed it in a million years —- oops that word ‘million’ again.

    I will never forgive you!! 😀

  20. RA says:

    GN5,

    I certainly would be up for a series of past, famous Arsenal stars by your goodself.

    What might be an interesting addendum would be to finish with ‘where are they now’ — altho depending on how far back you went the answer might be the finger pointing up, or down. 🙂

    You did include some of the real old timers in an earlier Arsenal history series that you did — anyway — count me in! :-0

  21. RA says:

    Evonne,

    Is that a Polish saying in your comment, “grasp the opportunity when it presents itself with both legs”?

    You’re too sexy for AA — but I think by the power of telepathy I can almost hear Chas replying by singing;

    I’m too sexy for my shirt
    Too sexy for my shirt
    So sexy that it hurts

    I’m too sexy for my love
    Too sexy for my love
    Love’s going to leave me

    Mind you it does leave an unsettling image in the mind! 😀

  22. Eddie says:

    Dear RA, you do make me laugh 🙂 no, it is not a polish proverb, it is a football version of grabbing the opportunity with both hands 🙂

  23. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. What a terrific read. about one of my early heroes.

    I was on the North Bank the same time as C. George and watched his development as if he was one of my own.

    Sadly, the moment he got a curly perm his career waned but that goal at Wembley will be with me forever though I couldn’t get a ticket as I was missing one – yes, one – stamp from the programme, which upset me deeply as I had been to almost all the games both home and away 😦

    Kelsey was there – where are you old hairyman?

  24. Eddie says:

    chas – great photo of the young thug and co. Can you imagine now 12-16 year old organizing a march on the streets of London? they would have to be driven by their mums 4×4 there

  25. Eddie says:

    I mailed Kelsey, but there is no reply

  26. The Cockie Monster says:

    ## BREAKING TRANSFER NEWS ##

    I`ve just transferred some Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ (v) cuttings into some bigger pots !

    Cheers GN5…..top notch as per usual, but can I make a suggestion ?……how about an alternative set of posts ………….A look at Arsenal villains !………and I don’t mean the Peter Storey kind !….more like…..the Jeff Blockley kind, one whose technical abilities were classed like war crimes to the beautiful game and is still serving life on Devils Island where he`s had several marriage breakdowns to indigenous rodents !.

  27. Well done GN5, Charlie was a one off, No doubt about it.

    I have an abiding memory of standing behind the goal as Charlie received the ball from Big Raddy, rifled it into the Liverpool net and fell on his back with his arms outstretched.

    Being at Wembley that day was almost as good as being on the terraces at White Hart Lane the previous Monday evening. Priceless!!

  28. rabbit says:

    Them pesky injuries are to blame for Arsenal losing the opening game of the season.

  29. rabbit says:

    The Cock Monster

    You should be in pornos

  30. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5, lovely post. A very enjoyable read once i found a wifi connection in Greece. CG remains a great character as i understand even today and oozes gooner from his very pores.

  31. RA says:

    Gosh, GoonerB, are you in Greece, by any chance, lying on a Grecian beach, drinking Greek wine and eating spit roasted Greek lamb and charcoal grilled Greek chicken.

    What a bugger it must be having to use a Greek wifi.

    Oh, did I ask if you were in Greece, perhaps? 😀

  32. GoonerB says:

    Did I not mention it before Redders? A big hello to one of my favourite cousins from across the pond and one of the few well versed in sarcasm. You are well and truly Britified.

  33. GoonerB says:

    Sorry Redders. Meant to add the smiley face but forgot. I hope today finds you in good health.

    Chad, whats with the chicken on the beachball?

  34. GoonerB says:

    Sorry Chas not Chad. Bloody phones

  35. chas says:

  36. chas says:

  37. chas says:

  38. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Some LOL stuff this morning – thank you so much for continuing to find these excellent oddities to brighten our start to the day.

    I particularly enjoyed 6.07

  39. Eddie says:

    Raddy – are you being sarcastic? There was no comment @6:07. Are you suggesting that ‘No comment’ from Chas was the most enjoyable 🙂

  40. Eddie says:

    now, I find this funny – Ramsey the Angel of Death

    “Aaron Ramsey was light-heartedly being held responsible for the number of high-profile deaths following goals he scored against Manchester United, Marseille, Sunderland and Tottenham.

    Those strikes were spread over the course of a year, and were immediately followed by the passing of Osama Bin Laden, Steve Jobs, Whitney Houston and Colonel Gaddafi, leading to a stream of social media posts blaming the Welshman for their demise.

    But the Emirates’ ‘angel of death’ simply laughs off the stories.

  41. RA says:

    Hi Eddie,

    The 6:07 is a typo – it is 6:05.

    Have a look at how big the fist of the little girl on the right of the family photo is. 🙂

  42. Eddie says:

    RA – that’s her father’s fist, obviously

  43. RA says:

    Eddie,

    It’s a funny looking pic – with a finger spider o the father’s shoulder and the girl’s huge fist – Raddy liked it! 🙂

    There is a very small caption under the little girl’s picture which contains the joke: “I hear that girl on the right has a hell of a left hook”.

    Chas can explain his own vid – I was just trying to be helpful. 🙂

  44. Just found a posts from Steve Palmer 😳 will sort in a few minutes

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    19 years ago today Arsenal signed Patrick Vieira – here is the inside story……….

    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    Wenger – The story of the Vieira signing

    Arsène Wenger says only a last-minute phone call prevented Patrick Vieira from joining Ajax rather than Arsenal in 1996.

    On Friday, it is the 19th anniversary of the former France international signing for the club where he would go on to become a legend.

    But Wenger – who was behind the deal to bring Vieira to north London – has revealed that it could all have been so different.

    He was in Holland, he was there to sign but I knew his agents. I spoke to Patrick and said, ‘Please, stop. Come to Arsenal.’
    Arsène Wenger

    “I knew him very well because he played his first game with Cannes against Monaco in a post-season friendly,” the manager told Arsenal Player.

    “He played against one of my players who was quite tough and he dominated him physically. He was 17 years old at the time and I said after the game that this player would make a big career. I wasn’t wrong there.

    “I had a big hand in [signing him], yes. I did it from Nagoya. I think he trusted me because when I called him on the phone, he was in Amsterdam to sign for Ajax.

    “He was in Holland, he was there to sign but I knew his agents. I spoke to Patrick and said, ‘Please, stop. Come to Arsenal.’ They were waiting at a hotel to go to the headquarters of the club to sign and I could just stop it. The next morning, he flew from Amsterdam to London.

    “My whole history could have changed [without convincing him to join Arsenal]. That’s the coincidence and the luck in life. I just had the right luck to intervene at the right moment.”

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  46. Rasp says:

    PV – my all time favourite player GN5.

    Thanks for the great CG post yesterday, apologies I couldn’t gert on to comment.

  47. RC78 says:

    PV – great Arsenal career, actually a club legend…

    So annoying to see him at Man City now because he will become a great coach for sure…

    I would love for Vieira to be in our coaching staff together with Henry, Bergkamp and Sol Campbell or Adams…

  48. New Post everyone ……………….

  49. GunnerN5 says:

    I agree with you both Paddy was one incredible player – one who could single footedly change the course of a game.

    It brings back fond memories thinking of him playing on the same side with the likes of – Henry, Petit and Pires.

    Those were the days my friends…………….will the current side give us such memories??

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