Edwards George Image 5 Aston Villa 1947

Edwards George Image 5 Aston Villa 1947


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Great Yarmouth, Norfolk born outside right George Edwards began his football career with Yarmouth Caledonians and played for Norfolk County before being signed by local professional club Norwich City, then in the Second Division in April 1936, making his Football League debut in a 1-1 draw at Burnley the same month, his only appearance of his debut season. After one further outing the following season in a defeat at Barnsley in September 1936, he made 7 further appearances for The Canaries, scoring his first senior goal in a 4-0 win over Plymouth Argyle in September 1937. Two of those matches were against Aston Villa, who were promoted at the end of the season and who were clearly persuaded to buy Edwards as a result in June 1938, with Edwards making his top flight debut for Villa in a defeat to Manchester United that November, scoring his only goal for them in 6 pre-war matches in a win over Middlesbrough in August 1939, only a week before the outbreak of the Second World War on 3rd September forced the abandonment of peacetime football.

During the War Edwards was part of the Aston Villa team that won the Football League War (North) Cup in 1944. He also made wartime guest appearances for Birmingham, Chelmsford, Coventry City, Northampton Town, Norwich City, Walsall, Wrexham, Nottingham Forest, Notts County, West Bromwich Albion, Leicester City and Worcester City, and after the War he returned to Villa Park and scored 4 goals in 8 FA Cup ties in their 1946 Cup run, which ended in defeat to eventual winners Derby County in the quarter final.

In the first full post war peacetime season of 1946-47, Edwards missed only two matches for Villa, scoring 10 goals, and he beat that total with 11 goals in 1947-48 when he was an ever present in Villa’s side, and 13 goals in 1948-49 but he lost his place at the start of the following season and played sporadically for two further seasons before leaving Aston Villa  to join non league club Bilston in 1951 after 41 goals in 152 appearances for The Villains. He later returned to East Anglia in 1952 and played for Yarmouth Town before his eventual retirement.

A talented player; he had fine ball control and was also a fine dribbler of the ball, and a favourite with the crowd. Trevor Ford wrote of him: “George was one of the finest uncapped players I have ever seen, let alone played with.” An Aston Villa fan, writing to the Sports Argus in 1973, said: “In his day, George was to soccer what Muhammad Ali has been to boxing. He was the greatest.” The writer said further that George was deceptively fast and good with feet and head, and he could finish brilliantly.

NB in the photograph he stands in the centre with Aston Villa forwards (l-r) John Graham, Jackie Martin, Dickie Dorsett and Leslie Smith. This photograph was taken before a 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day 1947.

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