On this St George’s Day, here’s a trio of famous Georges from York City’s proud history; including a couple of truly outstanding former players, and one of the most significant individuals ever to have served the club.
If anyone could really claim the title of ‘Mr York City’, it was George William Sherrington for his long service and unyielding dedication in a series of different roles.
Born on Tyneside in November 1890, Sherrington, known as ‘Billy’, was one of the founder members of the club and amongst its original directors.
Initially appointed as honorary secretary in 1924, he steered City through a number of difficulties on the way to finally attaining Football League membership in 1929. With the increased workload that brought, ‘Billy’ took on the role of full-time secretary in February 1930 while relinquishing his directorship post.
But the resignation of manager Jock Collier the following month witnessed Sherrington combining the roles of secretary and first-team boss for the next three years. During that time City also switched homes from Fulfordgate to Bootham Crescent.
Between September 1954 and March 1956, he notably worked alongside trainer Tom Lockie in a dual caretaker manager capacity – and famously helped steer the club into the FA Cup semi-finals.
In total, Sherrington served as secretary for 37 years, until his retirement in 1961. He was later appointed as the club’s first-ever vice-president before becoming its president in 1966.
The York-born left-winger was regarded as one of the finest players to represent the club despite making only 37 Football League appearances due to the intervention of war.
Born in June 1919, Lee was rated as such an outstanding prospect that then club secretary George ‘Billy’ Sherrington sat with his parents until midnight so that he could sign for City on his seventeenth birthday.
Making his debut in a 3-1 home victory against Oldham Athletic in April 1937, he went on to become a first-team regular by the age of nineteen.
However, with the outbreak of war in 1939, football was initially put on hold, but the Football League soon organised regional competitions. These allowed City to include ‘guest’ players who lived or were stationed nearby – and York, being a military centre, were to seriously benefit.
One of those, Bert ‘Sailor’ Brown, was an England and Charlton Athletic inside-forward who forged a fabulous wing partnership with Lee. As a result, the club reached the League War Cup (North) semi-finals in 1942-43.
Fast and tricky winger George went on to score 90 goals in 153 appearances during those war years and therefore reached a century of strikes for the club.
He was later transferred to Nottingham Forest in August 1947 for a then club record fee received of £7,500, before going on to help West Bromwich Albion win the FA Cup in 1953-54.
George Howe was born in Wakefield in January 1924 and was to write his name into York City club folklore forever as a member of their wonderful ‘Happy Wanderers’ FA Cup semi-finalists of 1954-55.
Moving to York from Huddersfield Town in the summer of 1954, left-back Howe went on to complete 338 appearances and gave magnificent service over the next seven seasons.
Those began with a debut in the resounding 6-2 victory at Wrexham on the opening day of that truly iconic 1954-55 campaign, when fellow ‘greats’ Tommy Forgan, Ernie Phillips and Norman Wilkinson also received first starts.
Amongst the highlights of his career was George marking legendary England winger Stanley Matthews out of the game as York shocked First Division hosts Blackpool 2-0 in the FA Cup third round in January 1955. The Seasiders had previously won the cup at Wembley just eighteen months earlier.
Howe played in all those FA Cup triumphs of the mid-1950s, and also the promotion-winning campaign of 1958-59, before later helping with the development of younger players at Bootham Crescent.
‘Happy Wanderer’ George Howe was up against legendary England winger Stanley Matthews