South Bank, Middlesbrough born centre forward George Hedley started his football career with junior club South Bank in 1896 before joining First Division Sheffield United, making his Football League debut at West Bromwich Albion in March 1898. He soon became a regular in United’s first eleven and in his first full season won the FA Cup as The Blades beat Derby County 4-1 in the 1899 Final at The Crystal Palace. The following season he scored 14 goals as United finished runners up in the League Championship, and Hedley was also part of their 1902 FA Cup winning team, beating Southampton in a replay in the Final, with Hedley scoring the first goal in the replay at The Crystal Palace which they won by 2 goals to 1, Hedley having played in the previous year’s Final when Sheffield United were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur in a replay.
By then Hedley had been capped by England, scoring in a 3-0 victory over Ireland at The Dell in March 1901, and although he was included in three further England squads over the next year, he was a reserve on each occasion and never won a further England cap. He also represented The Football League in a 2-2 draw with The Scottish League at The Crystal Palace in March 1900.
In 1903 Hedley joined Southern League club Southampton, where he won the Southern League Championship in his first season, and he was top scorer in 1904-05 (jointly with Edgar Bluff) with 10 League goals. After 34 goals in 80 appearances for The Saints, he joined Second Division Wolverhampton Wanderers in May 1906 and played for Wolves through to his final match in February 1913, when already 38. He won the FA Cup for the third time in his career when he was part of Wolves’ victorious 1908 FA Cup Final team which surprised Newcastle United in the Final at The Crystal Palace, with Hedley scoring the second goal just before half time in a 3-1 victory. In all he scored 74 goals in 214 appearances for Wolves.
After his playing retirement he was then appointed manager at Bristol City in April 1913 and held the position through to May 1915 when peacetime football was suspended due to the onset of the First World War.
NB in this photograph Hedley sits with the (old) FA Cup, then known also as The English Cup, after Wolves’ triumph in the 1908 FA Cup Final.