Spence George Image 1 Southampton 1903

Spence George Image 1 Southampton 1903


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Rothesay, Argyll and Bute born inside forward George Spence joined St Mirren as a teenager in January 1897 and scored on his Scottish League debut, also helping them to win the Renfrewshire Cup, but after this sole League appearance he joined Derby County in September the same year. Having failed to make the first eleven at Derby, Spence moved to Second Division Gainsborough Trinity in the summer of 1898 and made his Football League debut at Barnsley that October. He spent one season with Gainsborough, generally playing at inside-right, when he made 26 League appearances, scoring 10 goals. Spence then moved to Reading of the Southern League in 1900 before returning to the Football League with Second Division Preston North End in May 1901.

He spent the 1901-02 season at Deepdale, making 21 first team appearances and scoring seven goals. At the end of the season, Preston finished in third place, nine points behind Middlesbrough in the runners-up position. Spence then returned to Reading for a further season.

In the 1903 close season, Spence moved to the Southern League Champions, Southampton. At The Dell, Spence was used very much as a utility player appearing in various positions either at half-back or as a forward, although he was generally played on the left. He made his debut for Southampton playing at left-half in a 3-0 victory at New Brompton on 12th September 1903. Described as “fast, tricky, clever and a glutton for work”, Spence made a few appearances in the various forward positions over the next six months, but it was not until March 1904 that he became established in the side when he took over from Samuel Meston at left-half for the remainder of the season. At the end of the season, Spence helped the Saints retain the Southern League Championship, before moving on to Hull City having scored 3 times in 14 appearances.

Hull City were founded in June 1904 and were restricted to friendly matches, although they did enter the FA Cup in the preliminary round, where they were eliminated by Stockton after a replay, with Spence scoring twice, thus becoming Hull’s “top-scorer” in competitive matches in the 1904-05 season. In 1905, Hull City were admitted to the expanded Football League Second Division. Spence had the honour of scoring Hull’s first goal in the Football League in a 4-1 victory over Barnsley on 2 September 1905, their inaugural League fixture. Hull finished their first League season in fifth place, with Spence having scored twice from 19 appearances, generally as an inside-forward.

At the end of the season, Spence returned to Scotland and joined Clyde, but moved on to Albion Rovers early in 1907 . He then joined Cowdenbeath in the 1907 close season where he played out his career.

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