George Haigh (29 June 1915 – 23rd April 2019)
We are deeply saddened to report the death of our oldest surviving player George Haigh. For many years George has been a regular visitor to Edgeley Park and was our guest to unveil the World War One memorial plaque in November 2018.
Born in Stockport, George played his first game at Edgeley Park in 1929, when he captained his school team (Parish Church School) in the schools’ final. He represented Stockport and Cheshire Schools before signing as an amateur for Manchester City where he played in the A team with Frank Swift.
He moved to County as an amateur where he played successfully for the A team. On his 21st birthday he was offered a professional contract by County manager Fred Westgarth and soon after was selected for the reserve team. At this time County had a very strong first team with a defence that contained legendary figures such as Len Jones and Fred Jenkinson, so first team opportunities were limited. George was present at the official dinner when County were presented with the 3rd Division North shield in May 1937.
He played many games for the reserves before being given his first team debut on October 1st 1938 in a game at Edgeley Park against Lincoln City. Playing at centre half alongside his great friend Duggie Reid, his debut was made more memorable by George scoring an own goal.
Like many of his compatriots, George’s football career was curtailed by the outbreak of World War 2, and George left Edgeley Park to join the RAF as a physical training instructor. During this time he played as a guest player for Morecambe, Burnley, Rochdale, Walsall and Aston Villa.
Following the end of the war, he was offered the manager’s position at Arbroath but declined in order to learn a metal working trade whilst playing as captain of Lancaster City. He later was player/coach at Rossendale.
Over the last 20 years George has been a regular visitor to Edgeley Park and has played a major role as the clubs senior professional player. In 2002 he was guest of honour as the club celebrated one hundred years at Edgeley Park and more recently he officially opened the club museum. In 2010 he was presented with his Stockport County Appearance Number (482) by County youngest ever player (and current club captain Paul Turnball). His last visit to Edgeley Park was in November 2018 when he unveiled the World War One memorial plaque.
In 2015, embracing his heritage as a former youth player at County, George donated a wonderful silver trophy to be presented every year to the young player of the year. He also provided a fund to provide a silver replica for each recipient to keep. This year’s winner will receive the trophy at the end of season awards on Saturday.
Everyone at Edgeley Park and the many County supporters who got to know George, send their heartfelt condolences to his family. We were lucky to have this gentleman as part of our club for so long and he will be fondly remembered by everyone at Edgeley Park. His passing ends our last link to the golden 1930’s period where County set goal scoring records and won a Football League championship. A proud Stopfordian, he always followed the Hatters results and will be with us in spirit at Nuneaton on Saturday.