Lochgelly, Fife born outside left George Wilson began his career with Thomson Rovers in 1900 and played for Lochgelly Rangers and Buckhaven United in 1901, and Cowdenbeath in 1902 before signing for Scottish First Division Heart of Midlothian in 1903, at that time struggling due to financial concerns. He made his debut in an East of Scotland League match at Leith in May 1903, with his Scottish League debut coming on the first day of the following season, Wilson scoring as Hearts beat St Mirren 5-1 at Tynecastle. An economic restructuring in 1905 revitalised the club, and Wilson was a regular in the side as Hearts finished runners up in the League Championship and won the Scottish Cup in 1905-06. He scored the winning goal in the Scottish Cup Final against holders Third Lanark, a tap-in in the 81st minutes after a Bobby Walker shot had been blocked, to give Hearts a 1-0 victory at Ibrox.
After 32 goals in 83 appearances Wilson moved south to England at that season’s conclusion, sold to Everton in a £725 joint deal alongside his brother David, making his Football League debut in a 9-1 thrashing of Manchester City that September. His stay on Merseyside lasted only a single season however and, after 4 goals in 34 appearances for The Toffees and a short spell on loan with Irish side Distillery, he joined Newcastle United for £1,600 in November 1907, a then record transfer fee. Playing on the left wing for the Magpies, he helped them to the League Championship in 1908-09 and the FA Cup in 1910, when Newcastle eventually won the FA Cup in a replay victory over Barnsley, so completing a double for Wilson of English and Scottish Cup winners medals. He also played in the 1911 FA Cup Final when Newcastle were beaten by Bradford City, again in a replay. He lost his regular place in 1914 and made only 8 appearances in the season, and by the time he played his last game for The Magpies in March 1915 he made 218 appearances and scored 33 goals.
Wilson was nicknamed “Smiler” during his time on Tyneside, although this was a sarcastic epithet, as he was a rather dour character, matching the Scottish stereotype. He was small in height (5’6″) but a big build meant that he was not easily pushed off the ball.
Wilson was a full Scottish international, making his international debut in a 1-1 draw with Wales at Dens Park in March 1904. He earned six caps in total, four while with Hearts between 1904 and 1906. and one each during his time at Everton, when he played in a 1-1 draw with England at St James’ Park in April 1907, and with Newcastle. His final international cap was awarded in a 2-0 defeat by England at The Crystal Palace in April 1909. Wilson also represented The Scottish League once in a 6-2 defeat to The Football League at Stamford Bridge in March 1906.
The First World War interrupted the latter part of Wilson’s career and from 1915 onward he played for Raith Rovers back in his native Fife, joining East Fife in 1920 and finally Albion Rovers in 1921. Wilson was also manager of Raith Rovers from the summer of 1926 until December 1927, when he resigned this position and emigrated to Canada.
He was the younger brother of David Wilson, who played with him at Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Hearts and Everton, and who also played for Portsmouth.