THE fourth of Cowdenbeath football historian David Allan's Hometown Heroes is George Kinnell.

George was born on December 22 1937 to Andrew Kinnell and his wife Daisy who lived at 179 Foulford Road.

Reputedly the 5-a-side team set up by George and his pals when he was just a youngster never lost a game in 10 years! They won the Store Treat tournament many times. George played for Fife Schools when he was at Beath High and then was an apprentice butcher in the Co-op at Kirkford.

George played for the shopkeeper’s team Cowdenbeath Wednesday and Ballingry Rovers.

He was though called up for National Service in the Royal Artillery, serving for 18 months in Cyprus at the height of the EOKA crisis. In 1958, he was demobbed and on his return played for Kirkford United in some end of season juvenile cup finals. George then went junior, with Crossgates Primrose, before joining Aberdeen in February 1959.

George was best known as an uncompromising pivot at Pittodrie but played in no less than seven positions in four years at Aberdeen.

He made 164 League and Cup appearances for the Dons and scored 25 goals. George was a penalty expert but also from time to time played up in the front line – he twice scored hat-tricks for the Dons.

The tenacious defender, from Cowdenbeath, was capped by the Scottish League v the Irish League in Belfast but full honours eluded him as they so often did for non-Old Firm men.

Among his Aberdeen team mates back then was the peerless Charlie Cooke.

Charlie recalled how George ran the card school and made a few bob out of the young Cooke. George’s view was ‘It aye costs you tae learn’. Charlie also remembered, ‘George’s mother, Daisy was a great character. She had an infectious laugh and a zest for life and it was easy to see where George got his energy. George could drink and carouse with the best of them and always had a fag in his hands. A rambunctious character who you would hear laughing and shouting before you saw him. On the field he was a terrific athlete, a tough tackler, good in the air and a great team leader’.

George was the Aberdeen captain but was sold to Stoke City for £35,000 in 1963. At Stoke, he was a team-mate of the great Stanley Matthews whose football career had begun 5 years before George was born. He also played and scored in Stoke’s League Cup final defeat by Leicester City in 1964.

In 1966, Sunderland wanted him but Stoke didn’t want to sell George to a rival top flight club. When a move came it was to Oldham Athletic. At Boundary Park, he showed he still knew the way to goal with 8 goals in just 12 games.

Just two months after signing George moved on to Sunderland where he played alongside his second cousin Jim Baxter. The pair of course got into many scrapes together at Roker Park. Then there was a spell at Middlesbrough before George got the chance to play in Australia. He was a star in Australian soccer and helped Melbourne side Juventus win the State League in 1970.

He then enjoyed Ampol Cup success with Western Suburbs from Sydney. Then there was a spell with Marconi-Fairfield before he ended his career playing with Olympic in Western Australia. George now lives back in Scotland in Aberdeen.