Blackpool, Lancashire born inside right George Eastham began his football career with Cambridge Juniors of Blackpool in 1930, and played for South Shore Wednesday in 1931 before joining First Division Bolton Wanderers in August 1932, making his Football League debut at Blackpool in April 1933 as Bolton suffered relegation to the Second Division. He became a regular in Bolton’s first team from February 1934, and helped them win promotion in 1934-35 as Second Division runners up. He was also part of their 1935 FA Cup semi final team that lost in a replay to West Bromwich Albion at The Victoria Ground, Stoke, and his form was rewarded with an England cap when he played against The Netherlands in Amsterdam in May 1935.
In May 1937, after 17 goals in 131 appearances for Bolton Wanderers, he signed for Brentford for £5.000 and scored once in 50 appearances for The Bees before returning to Lancashire to sign for Blackpool for £7,000 in November 1938, however his career was soon interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. During the War he guested for a number of clubs including Birmingham, Bolton, Brentford, York City, Mansfield Town, Millwall and Queen’s Park Rangers, before returning to Blackpool when peacetime football resumed in 1946, helping them to finish fifth in the League Championship in 1946-47.
Eastham joined Swansea Town in August 1947 after 9 goals in 46 appearances for The Seasiders either side of the War, but stayed only one season at Vetch Field, making 15 appearances before joining Rochdale in June 1948. But after only 3 appearances for ‘Dale he joined Second Division Lincoln City in January 1949, however he couldn’t help save The Imps from relegation at the end of the season. He joined non league Hyde United in the summer of 1950 after a single goal in 27 appearances for Lincoln, and played for Winsford United in 1952 before becoming player-manager of Ards, ending his playing career in 1955 but continuing as their manager until October 1958, when he became the manager of Third Division Accrington Stanley, although he only lasted as their manager until the end of the season.
He returned to Ireland when he became the manager of Belfast Distillery in June 1959, a post he held until March 1964. He became manager of Ards again late in 1964 until March 1970. He spent some time scouting for Stoke City until he had a spell at South African (Cape Town) club Hellenic in late 1971, replacing his son as manager. He was also manager at Glentoran in late 1972.
He was the father of George Eastham OBE who played for Newcastle United, Arsenal, Stoke City and England, and the brother of Harry Eastham, who played for Liverpool, Tranmere Rovers and Accrington Stanley.
NB in the photograph Eastham sits on the right, with Blackpool team mates Jim Hall (left) and Kenny Dawson.