Then came the words of consolation. He regards Shankly as a father figure and recalls how he put his arm around him and explained: “Always remember, son, that at this moment you are the 12th best player in the world. The first team here at Anfield, son, is the greatest team in the world and you are the leading goalscorer in the reserves.”
George and his wife Carole married on the day England won the World Cup and went to South Africa where George helped Port Elizabeth City win the Premier League.
But Shankly had not forgotten him. In 1968 he received a visit from the then chairman of Liverpool Sydney Reakes who told him that if he returned to the UK Shankly would fix him up with a club to England. He returned to England and went to Shankly and on his recommendation Tranmere gave George a trial and he played regularly for Rovers first team in the next two seasons. He owes more than his place at Tranmere to Shankly but also he says the fact that he was able to buy a house and settle back into the UK with his wife and young family. He has two sons, both season ticket holders, one at Liverpool, the other at Everton.
George began his golf career in South Africa and back in the UK played at Brackenwood before joining Bromborough.
In partnership with his football friend from the Shankly years, Gordon Wallace, he has won the invitation at Bromborough and West Derby where Wallace was last year’s captain. He has been a member of Bromborough for more than 20 years where with club social events at the club he and the past captain Phil Stone have raised more than £1,500 for Claire House, the local children’s hospice.
The letter of recommendation he received from Shankly on his departure from Anfield is his proudest possession. The old Olivette typewriter Shankly used to type the letter – “I would stake my life on his (George’s) character,” he wrote – is still on display in the Liverpool FC museum.