Gosport, Hampshire born centre forward George Lillycrop started his career in the North East with both South Shields Adelaide in 1905 and North Shields Athletic in 1906 before signing for Second Division Barnsley, making his Football League debut at Oldham Athletic in October 1907. He soon established himself in the Barnsley team and having top scored in 1908-09 with 19 goals for the club, including hat-tricks against Blackpool and Chesterfield Town, he repeated the feat scoring 25 goals in the 1909-10 season as Barnsley went all the way to the FA Cup Final before losing in a replay to Newcastle United at Goodison Park after the Final at The Crystal Palace had finished a 1-1 draw.
Two seasons later Barnsley went one better with Lillycrop scoring 6 times in the qualifying rounds before a return to the Final and an historic win over West Bromwich Albion, again in a replay, with a goal two minutes from the end of extra time from Harry Tufnell winning the Cup for Barnsley at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, after the Final at The Crystal Palace had finished goalless. His 15 goals in 1911-12 and 24 goals in 1912-13 again saw him the club’s top scorer.
He was sold to First Division Bolton Wanderers for £1,300 in July 1913 after 104 goals in 222 games for The Tykes, for whom he played until the suspension of League football due to the onset of the First World War. His 25 goals in 1913-14 again saw him top of the goalscoring charts. He played 55 games scoring 32 goals for Bolton, but the conflict interrupted his career, and during the War he served in the Armed Forces.
After the War he returned to the North East to play for newly elected Second Division club South Shields for two seasons, scoring 16 goals in 45 games before retirement in 1921. He later took up coaching with South Shields and its successor club Gateshead, and became manager of Crewe Alexandra between August 1938 and July 1944.
NB in this training photograph, Lillycrop stands on the right with Barnsley team mates Jack Cooper (left) and Dickie Downs (centre).