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George Herd

A Dream First Season…

Clyde Hall of Famer George Herd

George Herd was born in 1936, and was stationed up in Inverness during his National Service, as a PT Instructor. During this time his football prowess brought him to the attention of Inverness Thistle. When he came back to Glasgow, he signed for Queens Park on the 1st of August 1956 and stayed a season at Hampden, playing 31 games and scoring 6 goals. Although we weren’t in the same division, in season 1956/57 we still met The Spiders on six occasions, via the League Cup, the Glasgow Cup and the Scottish Cup. George played in the Glasgow Cup and Scottish Cup games against us, but didn’t manage to score or come out on a winning side.

He clearly, though, did enough to impress Clyde scouts, and on the 4th of May 1957 he duly signed professional forms and moved his kit across to Shawfield.  George might well be able to lay claim to the shortest time between signing and making his debut – Clyde were playing Rangers in the Glasgow Charity Cup semi-final at Ibrox that night, so George duly found himself listed as outside-right. It wasn’t a good result, though, as we went down 0-2 to Rangers.

George retained his place in the team at the start of 1957/58, and only missed four matches out of the forty nine we played that season. Our newly-promoted team finished an extremely creditable fourth in the league that season. Included in George’s total appearances are nine matches in League Cup, where we lost the semi-final 2-4 after coming back from 2 goals down to draw level. And there are of course the six matches in the Scottish Cup, but more on that later.

The Clyde squad of 1956-57
George (bottom left) before his debut

George’s form earned him Scotland Under-23 recognition. In his debut for the young Scots, where he played alongside Clyde team mate Dan Currie, the young Scots beat the Dutch at Hampden by 4-1. Dan Currie scored Scotland’s first goal, George scored the second.

Then, at the climax of season 1957/58, came Amazing April and Magnificent May for George.

On the 19th of April, George made his full international debut, against England at Hampden. It couldn’t get much bigger; the only unfortunate matter was that Scotland lost 0-4. NB With George in the Scottish team that day was Harry Haddock, playing his last full international.

Exactly a week later, on the 25th of April 1958, George was back on the Hampden turf, this time with Clyde. The occasion was the Scottish Cup Final, the opponents were Hibs, and the outcome was settled when a Johnny Coyle shot turned out to be the only goal of the game.

On the 30th of April George travelled to Holland for the return match with the Dutch. The result wasn’t good, a 1-2 defeat for the young Scots, but George had picked up his second Under-23 cap to further his international aspirations.

On the 12th of May George was back at the venue that was rapidly becoming his second home, Hampden. Rangers provided the opposition in the Glasgow Charity Cup final, but George scored Clyde’s third as the opposition proved no match for a rampant Bully Wee in a 4-0 mauling.

George Herd in his Scotland kit

So that was April and May 1958 for George Herd. A Scottish Cup Winners medal, A full international cap, and against the English for good measure, a second under-23 cap, and a Glasgow Charity Cup Winners medal. Not a bad haul in his first season as a professional!

As with season 57/58, the following season saw George only miss 4 matches all season. Whilst the peaks of the previous season weren’t quite scaled as we turned fourth-top into fourth-bottom, we still managed a trophy. Rangers again provided the opposition in the Glasgow Cup final at Hampden, but the game finished in a goalless draw. In the replay at Ibrox Clyde beat their Glasgow rivals by a single Johnny Coyle goal, so George had another medal to put on his mantelpiece.

In 1960, George not only garnered another four full international caps, he also represented the Scottish League on three occasions. His full international caps came about as follows; he played against Hungary in Budapest, in a 3-3 draw, in which he scored Scotland’s second goal; he played against Turkey in Ankara, in a 2-4 defeat; then in the Home International Championships he played against Wales in Cardiff (0-2 defeat) and Northern Ireland (at Hampden) in a 5-2 victory. The game against Northern Ireland was played in November 1960, and come the next international against England in April 1961 it was a Scottish team that showed seven changes that took the field at Wembley. It’s probably not too high on George’s list of disappointments, as Scotland crashed to the record defeat of the entire Scotland v England series, England winning 9-3.

George Herd in his Scotland kit
George on Scotland duty

His three Scottish League appearances were as follows; first he played at Highbury against the English League, which ended in a 0-1 defeat for the Scottish League in late March 1960; then, in September 1960 he played in a 2-1 win over the Irish League at Windsor Park; finally, on the 5th of October, George played against the League of Ireland at Celtic Park, and scored a fine hattrick with two shots and a header as the Scottish League won 5-1.

In May 1961 George’s time with Clyde came to an end when Sunderland paid a reported £42500 to take him to Roker Park. The equivalent figure for George’s transfer today is a fantastic £770,000! No wonder it was Sunderland’s record signing at the time.

George had played 171 matches for the Bully Wee, and scored 32 goals.

Jim Duffy presents George Herd with his Clyde FC Hall of Fame award
George is inducted into the Hall of Fame

George became a fixture in the Sunderland team, although he never got another international cap. He did though, play alongside Harry Hood when Harry trod the same path as George some years later. Over the nine years after he left Clyde, George would go on to play over 300 games for the Black Cats, and score 55 goals, which is around the same goalscoring average as he had when he was with Clyde. He also holds the distinction of being the first substitute to score for Sunderland.

George finished his playing career with a short spell at Hartlepool, before going into coaching at both Sunderland and Newcastle United. He also had a spell at management with Queen of the South (as did Harry Hood, his erstwhile Sunderland colleague and now fellow-Inductee in Clyde’s Hall of Fame) before going back to coaching with Darlington.