Gerry Hitchens

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Gerry Hitchens
Personal information
Full name Gerald Archibald Hitchens
Date of birth (1934-10-08)8 October 1934
Place of birth Rawnsley, Staffordshire, England
Date of death 13 April 1983(1983-04-13) (aged 48)
Place of death Hope, Clwyd, Wales
Playing position Centre forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1952–1953 Highley Miners Welfare
1953–1955 Kidderminster Harriers 14 (6)
1955–1957 Cardiff City 95 (40)
1957–1961 Aston Villa 132 (78)
1961–1962 Internazionale 39 (17)
1962–1965 Torino 89 (28)
1965–1967 Atalanta 58 (10)
1967 Chicago Mustangs (loan) ? (1)
1967–1969 Cagliari 19 (4)
1969–1971 Worcester City 51 (25)
1971 Merthyr Tydfil 6 (0)
National team
1961–1962 England 7 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gerald Archibald "Gerry" Hitchens (8 October 1934 – 13 April 1983) was an English footballer, who played as a centre forward.[1][2]

Early career[edit]

Hitchens was born in the village of Rawnsley, Staffordshire, near Cannock, and began his career as a coal miner. He played in Shropshire with Highley Youth Club and Highley Miners Welfare between 1952 and 1953. He appeared in a county cup final for the Miners at Aggborough, the home stadium of local club Kidderminster Harriers. His performance was being watched by the Harriers club secretary Ted Gamson, who went on to offer Hitchens a contract in September 1953. After several seasons in the reserves, Hitchens played fourteen games for the first team, scoring six goals.

Professional career[edit]

Despite interest from West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa, Hitchens moved to Cardiff City in January 1955 for a fee of £1,500. Hitchens got off to a good start by scoring within three minutes of the kick-off when making his League debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in April 1955. Hitchens was then playing inside-forward but he subsequently took over the centre-forward berth and was top scorer in the subsequent two seasons. [3]

Hitchens moved on to Aston Villa in 1957 for £22,500, where he spent four seasons, scoring 96 goals in 160 appearances.[4][5]

He made his debut for England in 1961, scoring after just 90 seconds in an 8–0 drubbing of Mexico, and two weeks later scored twice more in Rome as England beat Italy 3–2.

This brought him to the attention of Internazionale, who signed him in the summer of 1961 for £85,000. Hitchens was Internazionale's top scorer with 16 goals in his first season.[6]

He played for England in the 1962 World Cup in Chile, and won a total of seven caps, scoring five goals. When chosen to appear for England in the World Cup, Hitchens became the first Englishman to represent his country while on the books of a foreign club.[7]

However when Alf Ramsey took over as England manager, Hitchens' international spell came to a halt, Ramsey preferring to pick home-based players.[8][9][10]

Nevertheless, Hitchens stayed in Italy for nine years, also playing for Torino, Atalanta and Cagliari.

After retiring from the professional game in 1971, he played for Worcester City and Merthyr Tydfil before moving to live in Wales, managing an ironworks in Pontypridd before moving north to Holywell, Flintshire, in 1977 to run his brother-in-law's timber supply firm near Prestatyn.

He died playing in 1983 during a charity football match for a Mold-based firm of solicitors at Castell Alun sports ground in Hope. Seconds after heading a cross over the bar, Hitchens collapsed and was taken to Wrexham General Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. His ashes were interred in Holywell on 20 April 1983. He was 48.[11]

Career statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Total
1954–55 Cardiff City First Division 2 1 m n - - m n
1955–56 36 15 m n - - m n
1956–57 41 21 m n - - m n
1957–58 Second Division 16 3 m n - - m n
Career total m n m n - - m n
1957–58 Aston Villa First Division 20 10 2 1 - - 22 11
1958–59 35 16 6 2 - - 41 18
1959–60 Second Division 36 23 5 2 - - 41 25
1960–61 First Division 41 29 5 2 10 11 56 42
Career total 132 78 18 7 10 11 160 96
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1961–62 Inter Milan Serie A 34 16 0 0 3 2 37 18
1962–63 5 1 1 1 - - 6 2
Career total 39 17 1 1 3 2 43 20
1962–63 Torino Serie A 24 11 XX XX XX XX XX XX
1963–64 33 9 XX XX XX XX XX XX
1964–65 32 8 XX XX XX XX XX XX
Career total 89 28 XX XX XX XX XX XX
1965–66 Atalanta Serie A 33 6 XX XX XX XX XX XX
1966–67 25 4 XX XX XX XX XX XX
Career total 58 10 XX XX XX XX XX XX
1967–68 Cagliari Serie A 17 4 XX XX XX XX XX XX
1968–69 2 0 XX XX XX XX XX XX
Career total 19 4 XX XX XX XX XX XX

Honours[edit]

Wales Cardiff City

England Aston Villa

  • FA Cup
    • Semi-finalists: 1959, 1960

Italy Inter Milan

Italy Torino

Italy Cagliari

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Goal.com's Top 50 English Players: Gerry Hitchens (47)". Goal.com. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gerry Hitchens". Birmingham Mail. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Soccer Whos Who compiled by Maurice Golesworthy The Sportsmans Book Club London 1965
  4. ^ "Player who went from miner to international « Express & Star". Expressandstar.com. 30 May 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Mat Kendrick (7 November 2009). "Aston Villa legends remember Gerry Hitchens five goal salvo against Charlton in a record 11–1 win". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Soccer Whos Who compiled by Maurice Golesworthy The Sportsmans Book Club London 1965
  7. ^ Soccer Whos Who compiled by Maurice Golesworthy The Sportsmans Book Club London 1965
  8. ^ "Aston Villa legend Gerry Hitchens' life story published". Birmingham Mail. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "The England class of '62 – a World (Cup) away from Capello's millionaire set | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Darren Devine. "Lifestyle – Books – First biography of Cardiff City hero Gerry Hitchens". WalesOnline. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Terry Phillips. "FootballNation – Football News – From mining to Milan – Hitchens did City proud". WalesOnline. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 

External links[edit]