Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

George Made Impact on Pitches and in Protests

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

George Made Impact on Pitches and in Protests

Article excerpt

TRIBUTES have been paid to a former footballer, serviceman, and countryside campaigner who has died aged 103.

George Haigh passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Oxfordshire last week, his family said.

Born in Reddish, Stockport, in 1915, George was one of the oldest surviving former footballers in the world at the time of his death.

I once asked Matthews -bloody hell it?' He said 'I don't George A City fan, he joined the club as an amateur after leaving school in 1929 and was best friends with legendary goalkeeper Frank Swift, who later died in the Munich air disaster whilst working as a journalist, something George said 'broke his heart.' He worked in a dyeing and bleaching factory alongside his football. When he was just 16, George was part of the 1932 Kinder Scout protest in which hundreds of ramblers walked on to private land in Derbyshire to protect their 'right to roam.' His death came one day before the 87th anniversary of the protest and campaigners remembered him at the Spirit of Kinder event in Castleton last weekend.

He later said: "I was very keen on the right to ramble and couldn't at that particular time because there were always these [game] keepers sending you back. I'm very, very proud of what I did."

George never managed to graduate to the City first team and joined County in 1935.

Stanley 'how the do you do smiled and Earning just £5.50 a week he made his first debut in 1936 and met his wife know' Haigh Ruth, to whom he was married for 61 years, while he was playing for County and travelling to games on the tram.

He had the misfortune of scoring an own goal on his debut and his career was curtailed when league football was halted at the outbreak of the war.

He joined the RAF as a physical training (PT) instructor in Morecambe. He said of that time: "To be honest that was the first time in my life I really got fit. It made me realise how basic the training was at County. We used to do lap after lap of the ground. We never saw a ball during the week! …

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