Local football historian Terry Ainsworth writes about George Millings, a proud ‘Docker’ and junior international.
Another illustrious name from the annals of the North Lancs League died recently (August 2013) and his connection with one of the most renowned clubs of local football is very apt.
George Millings signed for Dry Dock United in July 1953 and played in 378 games scoring 337 goals as centre forward for the “Dockers”, who were managed by the redoubtable Jimmy Brown, whose eye for spotting talent never failed him.
Many years later in May 1970 after some difficult seasons the team celebrated their return to Division II of the North Lancs League with a social evening at the Royal Kings Arms Hotel, Lancaster, and George and another long serving player, Ray Briggs, were presented with inscribed cigarette cases in recognition of their 16 years of faithful service.
Ray incidentally had signed for Dry Dock in September 1953 and played 475 games whilst scoring 17 goals, mostly from his position at full back.
George attended Bowerham Junior School before going on to Greaves and developed his football skills and education before playing for the Lancaster Lads Club Juniors just after World War II.
Between 1948 and 1953 when he signed for Dry Dock, George played for Warisons, Lancaster City, Ingleboro and Galgate, and his record and achievements in the North Lancs League are well recorded and admired, but here I will focus on him playing in a Junior International in 1948-49, after which all the players were awarded “caps”.
In May 1949 the annual game between the Scottish Secondary Juvenile Football Association and the North Lancashire & District League took place at Dundee and was reported as follows: “The visiting side attacked strongly at the outset, Glen saving well from George Millings. Ken Moscrop made good progress on the left wing but spoilt a good move when he failed to gather a return pass from George Millings when well placed in front of goal. Playing before a crowd in excess of 9,000 the visitors were well on top at this stage and it came as a surprise when Scotland took the lead.
“This success inspired the home side and it wasn’t long before they increased their lead. The North Lancs lads fought back and Edmondson fired wide before a shot from George Millings hit Kelso on the line and was diverted for a corner. The game was decided either side of halftime when the home team scored twice to secure a 4-0 victory.”
Scotland: - Glen; Kelso, Laing; Brown, Carr, McGuire; Stevenson, McGeachie, Cairns, McPhee, Houston
North Lancs: - Gren Burrows (Bolton-le-Sands); C Titterington (Lansil), A Winder (Dry Dock United); E Edmondson (Bolton-le-Sands), Derek Ronson (Galgate), H Wildman (Bolton-le-Sands, captain); J Gregson (Kelbus), Andy Downham (Dry Dock United), Ted Fairclough (Caton United), George Millings (Waring & Gillows), Ken Moscrop (Bolton-le-Sands)
After the game the players and officials were entertained at a dinner and civic reception given by the Lord Provost and Council of Dundee.
Late on in season 1948-49 George made three appearances for Lancaster City, scoring one goal against Nelson and three appearances for the reserves, scoring one goal against Horwich.
At the start of the following season he scored two goals in four appearances for the reserves and then it seems likely that George began playing for Ingleboro and was picked up by taxi at Skerton Bridge to travel to games.
He would have been well looked after at Ingleton by Bill Waggett, either in the form of cash or maybe a chicken or a piece of ham, which would have been much appreciated by his family in times of food rationing.
Season 1950-51 saw George join another village club, Galgate, and a report in May 1950 saw the “Silkboys” beat Heysham by 6-1 with four goals from George including a 15-minute first half hat-trick.
Ray Briggs remembers a game for Dry Dock United against Storeys on Springfield Park when George scored all the goals in a 7-0 win. Later in his life George became disillusioned with football and took little interest in the game because it had ceased to be the game he loved. The greed and duplicity of the players as well as spineless administrators had taken the game away from the working classes.
George remembered a game where Jackie Milburn worked down a pit on Saturday morning before turning out for Newcastle United.
Tom Finney would also work on Saturday morning and then travel to the game on the same bus as the fans, who didn’t need to be segregated at the ground but applauded fine play from both sides.
* The latest book on local football by Terry Ainsworth is now on sale at Vincenzo’s Coffee House, Lancaster, adjacent to Boots.
Priced at £15, it is an ideal reference book for football supporters with all the available league tables from 1891 to 1970 plus a comprehensive list of results in the cup competitions that were conscientiously researched by Tom Brennan. It would make an ideal Christmas present so drop in to Vincenzo’s for a coffee and a read.