He is a legend at Arsenal, not really getting to that status at Derby, but still very much liked at both clubs, also having years at other establishments, but his time at Arsenal stands out as the best period in his football career, reaching so many pivotal finals and of course winning the leauge.
His goal in the 1971 FA Cup final vs. Liverpool, made the headlines. Earlier in the seaon, George broke his ankle in a collision with Everton goalkeeper Gordon West. After being out for five months, he returned to play a significant part in Arsenal’s run-in to the 1970–71 Division One title, scoring five times in 17 appearances in the League. However, the highlight of his season came in the FA Cup; he scored in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds as well as proving the difference in the final against Liverpool. With the score at 1–1 in extra time, in the 111th minute George latched onto John Radford’s square ball and scored a spectacular winner from 20 yards to win the match. He celebrated by lying flat on his back with arms aloft. With that Cup win, Arsenal completed their first Double win.
Charlie George chuckled: “People said, ‘Who do you think you are, Jesus Christ?’ .
“And I said, ‘On that Saturday afternoon, I was more important’.”
John Lennon once caused outrage by saying The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”. And George was a rock ’n’ roll footballer with his long hair, his swagger and his anti-establishment attitude.
In the weeks, months and years after the 1971 FA Cup Final, kids from North London to Newcastle copied the celebration.
For young fans, it was the football equivalent of David Bowie’s seminal appearance on Top Of The Pops a year later — and George became a 1970s icon.
The man himself enjoys the pop-idol description. Now 70, George said: “Why not? I think it’s great. As a youngster, I loved all the Tamla Motown but the Rolling Stones were my favourites.
“And I scored the winning goal with my long hair. I didn’t know I was going to do it — it wasn’t planned. I just thought it was a great thing at the time.
What are you going to do? You’ve got to celebrate. Be different! I like to think I was different.”
George, the 20-year-old Islington boy turned superstar, was certainly different. But the celebration itself was actually the same one he had done earlier in the season.
- FULL NAME: Charles Frederick George
- POSITION: Forward
- DATE OF BIRTH: 10.10.1950
- BIRTHPLACE: Islington
- NATION: England
- CAPS: 1
- CLUB CAREER Arsenal
- Period: 1968-1975
- League Games, 133
- League Goals, 31
- PREVIOUS CLUB: N/A
- TRANSFER FEE: N/A
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