George Swindin

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George Swindin
Personal information
Full name George Hedley Swindin
Date of birth (1914-12-04)4 December 1914
Place of birth Campsall, Yorkshire, England
Date of death 26 October 2005(2005-10-26) (aged 90)
Place of death Kettering, Northants, England
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Rotherham YMCA
New Stubbin Colliery
Rotherham United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1934–1936 Bradford City 26 (0)
1936–1954 Arsenal 297 (0)
1954–1955 Peterborough United ? (0)
Teams managed
1954–1958 Peterborough United
1958–1962 Arsenal
1962 Norwich City
1962–1964 Cardiff City
1965 Kettering Town
1969–1970 Corby Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

George Hedley Swindin (4 December 1914 – 26 October 2005) was an English football player and manager.

Playing career[edit]

A goalkeeper, Swindin was born in Campsall, Doncaster, Yorkshire. He played as an amateur for various local clubs, including Rotherham United, before turning professional in 1934 with Bradford City. He played 26 times for Bradford City, before being signed by Arsenal in 1936 for £4,000.[1] He made his debut against Brentford on 3 September 1936, and played nineteen games in his first season. To begin with, his time at Arsenal was characterised by nervous and erratic displays, and he was made to share the goalkeeping spot with Alex Wilson and Frank Boulton. However, he played seventeen games in 1937–38, the most of Arsenal's three keepers, and won a First Division medal.

The Second World War interrupted his career somewhat, but Swindin continued to play through the war for Arsenal, whilst acting as a PT instructor for the Army. In 1945, he made a guest appearance for Southampton.[2]

By the time first-class football had resumed after the war, he became Arsenal's undisputed No. 1, and stayed there for the next six seasons. By now, he had put his erracticness behind him, and he was a commanding keeper who was especially known for his aerial ability and assured handling of crosses, as well as his strong physical resilience. He won his second League title in 1947–48. After the arrival of Ted Platt in 1950, Swindin was forced to share the goalkeeper's spot for 1949–50, but kept his place to play in the 1950 and 1952 FA Cup finals; Arsenal won the former against Liverpool, but lost to Newcastle United in the latter.

By 1952–53, Swindin was beginning to show his age, and another talented keeper, the Welshman Jack Kelsey had taken his first-team place. Nevertheless, Swindin played 14 matches that season as Arsenal won the title again, giving him his third Championship winner's medal. Despite his excellent form for Arsenal, he was never capped by England at senior level, with Sir Walter Winterbottom preferring Frank Swift and Bert Williams between the sticks. In all, he played 297 first-class matches (not including wartime games) for the Gunners.

Management career[edit]

Swindin moved to Midland League side Peterborough United as player-manager in 1954, and took his team to several famous FA Cup runs (which included getting to the Fourth Round in 1956–57 and three consecutive Midland League titles between 1956 and 1958. Peterborough would go on to win the title twice more after Swindin left, enough to win election to the Football League in 1960.

In the meantime, Swindin had returned to Arsenal in 1958 as manager, and his side initially started strongly, finishing third in 1958–59. However, the team soon flagged and spent the next three seasons in mid-table. Despite signing players such as George Eastham and Tommy Docherty, Swindin was unable to bring any silverware to the club, whilst up the road the club's rivals Tottenham Hotspur won the Double in 1961.

He resigned in May 1962, and then became manager of Norwich City for five months, and then Cardiff City from late 1962 to 1964. At Cardiff, he signed John Charles from Roma, but after a bright start Cardiff soon faded and he resigned after the club were relegated to the Second Division. After that, he had spells as manager of Kettering Town and Corby Town before leaving the game for good.

Final years[edit]

After retiring from football, Swindin first owned a garage in Corby, before emigrating to Spain, where he spent several years following his retirement before returning to his homeland. In the later years of his life he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He died at Kettering in October 2005, aged 90 years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Atwood, Tony (14 April 2013). "George Swindin – one of Arsenal’s great keepers". Arsenal History Society. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  2. ^ Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 396. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3. 
  • Harris, Jeff (1995). Hogg, Tony, ed. Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4. 

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