Former Mowbray Rangers boy achieves Wembley dream
George (28), who started out playing the football for Mowbray Rangers in Melton, scored the first goal as the Yorkshire side went on to beat Notts County to win the National League play-off final and secure a place in the English Football League.
The moment was all the more sweet because it was a couple of weeks after his friend, and fellow local footballing hero, Paul Anderson, also played on the hallowed turf as Northampton won the League Two play-off final.
Sunday’s match was played behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions, but it still represented a lifelong dream for George.
He told the Melton Times: “When the final whistle went I literally just lay on my front with my face in the grass and I could have cried. It was quite emotional to be fair.”
George said his mind drifted back in that moment to when he first started kicking a ball around in Melton as a young child.
He said: “When I was five I won a penalty shoot-out at a fete at Dove Cottage Hospice and I got a tour of Wembley Stadium as the prize.
“My mum had put those pictures up on Facebook before the Notts County game and it was strange to think of those photos and then to actually be playing there.
“It’s everyone’s dream to play at Wembley, but I never thought I would do it.”
George’s parents, Kevin and Kathryn, were back home in Long Clawson and cheering their son on while watching live coverage on BT Sport.
His fiancée, Rosie, and brother, Rory, were also ecstatic for him.
Friends and former team-mates were quick to congratulate him too.
“I had turned my phone to airplane mode during the match but when I switched it back on after the game it went mad - I must have had 500 notifications from people,” said George, a former pupil at Belvoir High School, Bottesford.
George is now excited about the prospect of the new season in League Two when little Harrogate, who are in the football league for the first time in their 103-year-old history, will be coming up against the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City, who both recently played in the Premier League.
He commented: “I’ve always wanted to play in the football league but I never thought I would do it until now.
“There are some massive, massive clubs in this division and I can’t wait for the fixtures to come out.”
George paid tribute to the support his family has given him throughout his career.
He said: “My parents sacrificed a lot over many years for me so I’ve got to be forever grateful to them.
“They still watch me now and it’s a long way to Harrogate.
“They used to take me everywhere when I was younger and never missed a game.”
After Mowbray Rangers he was at the Nottingham Forest academy but wasn’t offered a professional contract.
He then went to play in Spain with Glenn Hoddle’s academy.
George, who has a degree in sports science from Loughborough University, has also played for King’s Lynn Town and Chester FC before moving to FC United of Manchester.
His friendship with Paul Anderson has endured and, fittingly, they both enjoyed their big Wembley moments within weeks of each other.
George recalled the night in 2010 when they both won Melton Times sports awards.
“Paul sent me the picture from that night before Sunday’s game from when we both won awards,” he said.
“He said ‘now come on, win tomorrow and we can update this photo’.”
George’s mum, Kathryn, told the Melton Times: “He’s had a lot of disappointments in football and this year he also had the disappointment of his wedding having to be postponed.
“I know we’re biased, but he’s worked hard and deserves this chance to play in the EFL.
“To play at Wembley was so exciting for all the lads.
“It was such a shame that their families and friends couldn’t be there in person to witness their achievement but at least it was on TV.”