Framwellgate Moor, County Durham born centre forward George Camsell was a true goal machine of English football, one of the all time top goalscorers in the history of game. Starting at junior clubs Durham Chapel in 1920, Framwellgate Moor in 1921, Tow Law Town in 1922 and Esh Winning in 1923 he signed for then Division Three (North) club Durham City in January 1925, making his Football League debut at Crewe Alexandra at the end of the same month. He scored 20 goals in 21 games for them in 1925, notching hat-tricks against Nelson, Accrington Stanley and Rotherham United, before moving to Middlesbrough in October 1925 for £800.
Thereafter he scored an incredible 345 goals in 453 games for ‘Boro including 24 hat-tricks, 325 of those goals coming in the League making him the fifth highest scorer of all time. In 1926-27 he scored 63 goals in all competitions, with 59 League goals in 37 games, firing ‘Boro to the Second Division Championship, and was the Football League’s leading goalscorer. It was at the time a Football League record having overtaken Jimmy Cookson’s haul of 44 goals for Chesterfield in 1925-26, and has only ever be bettered within the English game by Dixie Dean of Everton who managed 60 League goals in 1927-28. After Middlesbrough were immediately relegated his 33 goal haul repeated the Second Division Championship feat in 1928-29 and he spent eleven further seasons in the top flight before the Second World War.
Of his 14 seasons at Middlesbrough he scored more than 20 goals twice and more than 30 goals six times. Camsell was Middlesbrough’s top scorer in each of his first ten full seasons. He has the highest goals to games record of any English international, scoring in all 9 matches in which he played through to a second minute goal against Belgium in Brussels in May 1936, netting a total of 18 goals for England, including 4 goals against Belgium in Brussels in May 1929 on his second appearance and a hat-trick against Wales at Stamford Bridge in November 1929. That scoring run is second only to Steve Bloomer. It is almost unimagineable how he was only picked 9 times in seven years until you consider the other great centre forwards of the time he had for competition such as the one and only Dixie Dean and Bob Gurney.
He played his last match at Liverpool in August 1939 before The Second World War forced the abandonment of peacetime football. On 11th November 1939, Camsell played for Stockton in the North Eastern League, as he had not been picked for ‘Boro for that week. But he was soon picking out the goals for Boro again, well into his forties, making his final appearance in 1941. After his retirement from playing he stayed at Middlesbrough in various roles including being a coach, chief scout (where he discovered a young Brian Clough) and latterly assistant club secretary until his retirement at the end of 1963.
A suite at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium is named after him and in 2015, calls began for a statue of Camsell to be placed outside the stadium, joining those of George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion. A club spokesman said that such an honour could not be ruled out, adding: “As a club we honour and respect our former heroes and George Camsell is certainly one of those.”