Stoke Newington, London born amateur centre half George Armitage represented Hackney Schools in 1912-13 but soon found himself involved in the First World War, in which his brother was killed. Conscripted in 1916 he served in France and Salonika before transferring to The Durham Light Infantry in June 1917 before being discharged with tuberculosis in April 1919.
He began his football career with St Saviour’s of Chelsea and played for Isthmian League club Wimbledon around 150 times in the early 1920’s, and while at Wimbledon he became their first player ever to be picked for an England squad when he was a reserve for the match against Belgium in Antwerp in November 1923, before joining Third Division (South) club Charlton Athletic in March 1924, making his Football League debut at Brighton & Hove Albion the same month. He spent five seasons as a first team regular, and in October 1925 he became one of the handful of third tier players to play for England when he was capped in a 0-0 draw against Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast.
In 1928-29 he was part of Charlton’s team that won the Third Division (South) Championship, playing 30 League games during the successful campaign, but he lost his place in the first team at the start of the 1929-30 season, only regaining his place at the end of December 1929, making 13 appearances before the end of the season. He left Charlton in the summer of 1930 after 4 goals in 182 appearances for The Addicks, joining Athenian League club Leyton where he was club captain and was an FA Amateur Cup Finalist for them in 1934 before his eventual retirement, brought on by a recurrence of tuberculosis.
Suffering from tuberculosis, he committed suicide in August 1936 aged 38. A benefit match was held between Leyton and an Amateur International XI on 24 September 1936 and the programme contained several quotes from the national newspapers, including;
“George Armitage will always be remembered as one of our great sportsmen. His remarkable ability as a footballer was there for all to see, but off the field as on, he scrupulously maintained the highest standards and truest traditions of British sportsmanship.”
As an amateur footballer he also won five caps for England Amateurs making his debut in a 3-0 defeat to Belgium in Brussels in May 1923, through to his final cap which came against Ireland in a 6-4 win at Maidstone in November 1925. He also twice represented The Amateurs against The Professionals in the FA Charity Shield, playing as they lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in October 1923 then again two years later as The Amateurs sensationally beat The Professionals 6-1 at White Hart Lane. Armitage also went on The Football Association 1929 Tour to South Africa, playing in 5 of the matches, and represented the London and Surrey F.A.’s, touring Sweden with the former in July 1923.