Mexborough, Yorkshire born centre forward George Hunt played junior football in the Barnsley District League for Regent Street Congregationals in 1926 where he scored 146 goals including 14 hat-tricks, and from there after unsuccessful trials with three other League clubs, he signed for Third Division (North) club Chesterfield in September 1929 making his Football League debut against Rochdale on New Year’s Day 1930, very quickly coming to the attention of Second Division club Tottenham Hotspur after 9 goals in 14 matches for The Spireites that season, signing for Tottenham for £1,500 in June 1930.
His Spurs debut came at Stoke City in September 1930 but he had to wait six months for another first team appearance, after which he was rarely out of the first eleven. He scored successive hat-tricks over the new year of 1931-32 against Charlton Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers, the first two of 13 hat-tricks for Tottenham, which includes all four goals in a win over Sheffield United in December 1933. His 33 goals in 1932-33, when he missed only one match, propelled Spurs to promotion to First Division as Second Division runners up, which saw him called into the England team in April 1933, scoring against Scotland on his debut in a defeat at Hampden Park in front of a then world record attendance of 136,259 spectators in April 1933, then playing twice more for England the following month in Italy and Switzerland. He was also called up as a late replacement for England’s match against Italy at Highbury in November 1934, but had to withdraw through injury.
“He worries the opposing defence relentlessly, and shoots hard from all positions. While not clever in working openings himself, he utilises fully those created by his colleagues”, it was said of him in 1934. After 32 more goals for Tottenham had followed in 1933-34, his form suffered and Spurs were relegated once again in 1935. Arsenal signed him for £7,500 in October 1937 after 138 goals for Spurs in 198 matches, where he still remains seventh in Tottenham’s all time goalscorers list, but the move to Arsenal was not a success, he scored just 3 goals at Highbury in 21 games although he did play enough matches to qualify for a League Championship medal, having already transferred to Bolton Wanderers for £5,000 in March 1938, where he scored 23 League goals the following season, his best return for five seasons, missing only 5 matches.
His career was then interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, but he continued to play for Bolton in wartime matches helping them to win the Football League War Cup in 1945 when they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the Final at Stamford Bridge, and he also played as a guest for Rochdale. He resumed with The Trotters after the War, by now playing inside right, before signing for Sheffield Wednesday in November 1946 after 27 goals in 54 peacetime matches for Bolton. He stayed a year at Hillsborough scoring 9 times in 35 matches for The Owls before his retirement in 1947.
After retiring from playing, Hunt returned to Bolton Wanderers as coach and trainer in 1948, and was a member of the club’s backroom staff when they won the 1958 FA Cup Final as well as for the classic 1953 Matthews Cup Final, which was narrowly lost to Blackpool.
NB The photograph is from the match with Arsenal at White Hart Lane on 16th September 1933, which finished in a 1-1 draw.