George Foster (footballer)
|Full name||George Walter Foster|
|Date of birth||26 September 1956|
|Place of birth||Plymouth, England|
|Playing position||Central defender|
|1976||→ Torquay United (loan)||6||(3)|
|1981–1982||→ Exeter City (loan)||28||(0)|
|1989–1993||Mansfield Town (player-manager)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
He began his career as a full-back, but was later moved into central defence. He began his career at Plymouth Argyle in 1974, and went on to spend eight years with the "Pilgrims", winning promotion out of the Third Division in 1974–75, as well as the club's Player of the Year award in 1978 and 1980. He also played on loan at Torquay United and Exeter City. He was sold on to Derby County for a £40,000 fee in June 1982, before moving on to Mansfield Town the following year. He spent the next decade with the "Stags", and after being named as the club's Player of the Year, was then named on the PFA Team of the Year as he helped Mansfield to win promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1985–86. He also won the Football League Trophy with the club in 1987. He was appointed player-manager in February 1989, and led the club to promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1991–92, but was sacked after failing to keep Mansfield in the Third Division. He ended his playing career with 649 league appearances in a 20-year career in the Football League. He later managed Conference club Telford United from 1993 to 1995, before becoming a professional scout.
Foster began his career at his hometown club Plymouth Argyle, making his debut in a Third Division match against Hereford United on 20 February 1974. The club finished in 17th place in 1973–74, before winning promotion as the division's runners-up in 1974–75 – they finished just one point behind champions Blackburn Rovers. Argyle went on to finish 16th in the Second Division in 1975–76, before slipping back into the third tier after finishing two points short of safety in 1976–77. Foster also spent a brief time on loan at Devon rivals Torquay United, scoring three goals in six league games. The "Pilgrims" replaced manager Tony Waiters with Mike Kelly, and only avoided a second successive relegation by just two places and three points in 1977–78 after Malcolm Allison replaced Kelly as manager in March. Under the stewardship of new boss Bobby Saxton, Plymouth moved up to a more secure 15th-place finish in 1978–79 and 1979–80. Plymouth rose to seventh place in 1980–81, before new manager Bobby Moncur led the club to a tenth-place finish in 1981–82. Foster spent part of the season on loan at Brian Godfrey's Exeter City, playing 28 Third Division games at St James Park. During an eight-year spell at Home Park, Foster scored six goals in 248 league and cup appearances and was named as the club's Player of the Year in 1978 and 1980.
Foster joined Mansfield Town on a free transfer in summer 1983. He made his Mansfield debut on 27 August 1983 in a 4–0 defeat against Bristol City. However, things would soon take a turn for the better, and Foster was named the club's Player of the Year as Ian Greaves's "Stags" finished 19th in the Fourth Division in 1983–84. He was then named team captain, and marshalled a defence that only conceded 38 goals in the league in 1984–85. In 1985–86, Foster helped the Field Mill outfit gain promotion in third place, and was recognised by his peers with a place on the PFA Team of the Year. Mansfield then finished tenth in the Third Division in 1986–87, and Foster captained the side in their triumph at Wembley as Mansfield won the Football League Trophy after a penalty shoot-out victory over Bristol City. Town then finished just two places and two points above the relegation zone in 1987–88.
When Ian Greaves stepped down as Mansfield manager in February 1989, Foster was named player-manager. The "Stags" ended the 1988–89 season in 15th place in the Third Division. In his first full season in charge, 1989–90, Mansfield again posted a 15th-place finish. They suffered relegation after finishing bottom of the division in the 1990–91 campaign. Foster then took the Field Mill outfit straight back up after leading the club to the third and final automatic Fourth Division promotion place in 1991–92. However he could not keep the club in the Third Division, as they went straight back down in 1992–93. In September 1993, following a poor start to the 1993–94 season, Foster was sacked as manager. Mansfield went on to finish in 12th place under new manager Andy King.
In October 1983, Foster was named player-manager at Telford United, where he stayed until June 1995. He led the "Bucks" to 17th and 19th-place finishes in the Conference in 1993–94 and 1994–95, as Telford finished just above the relegation zone.
After a spell as assistant manager at Lincoln City, Foster was appointed chief scout at Wolverhampton Wanderers by manager Dave Jones in April 2001. He worked as chief scout at Coventry City until he was sacked after manager Micky Adams was replaced by Iain Dowie in February 2008. He was appointed as Academy director by Stoke City boss Tony Pulis in April 2007. He later scouted for the Glenn Hoddle Academy, before being appointed chief scout at Hull City by manager Nick Barmby in December 2011. He was appointed chief scout at Port Vale by Micky Adams in November 2012. His greatest success was to spot Jordan Hugill playing in non-league football; he left the position in June 2014 to take up a new role as Swansea City's European scout.
- Plymouth Argyle F.C. Player of the Year: 1978 & 1979–80
- Mansfield Town F.C. Player of the Year: 1984
- PFA Team of the Year (Fourth Division): 1985–86
- with Plymouth Argyle
- with Mansfield Town
- Football League Fourth Division third-place promotion: 1985–86
- Football League Trophy winner: 1987
- Football League Fourth Division third-place promotion: 1991–92
- "Stats". neilbrown.newcastlefans.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Plymouth Argyle results 1973–1974". Greens on Screen. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- Bracegirdle, Dave and Hartshorn, Steve (2004). The Legends of Mansfield Town. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-435-3.
- "Chief Scout Appointed". thewolvessite.co.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Dowie set for Coventry hotseat". Metro. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Foster and Pennock join Stoke City Academy". The Sentinel. 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Barmby's Tigers backroom team almost complete". Hull Daily Mail. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Port Vale sign striker Calvin Andrew on short-term deal". BBC Sport. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Baggaley, Mike (12 June 2014). "Port Vale boss Micky Adams loses three members of staff". The Sentinel. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Could George Foster move give Port Vale a chance of Swansea loan deals?". The Sentinel. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.