Died: Sale, 5th May 1990
City debut: v Arsenal (a) 20/9/58
FL:114 apps. 15 goals.
FAC:9 apps. FLC:8 apps. 1 goal.
TOTAL:131 apps. 16 goals.
GEORGE HANNAH spent six years at Maine Road, and his former playing colleagues will never believe he’s working at 6-30 every morning seven days-a-week!
For George says: “I couldn’t even get to Maine Road for 10-0 a.m. I was always late for training.
”It was usually only by a couple of minutes and never more than quarter-of-an-hour.”
But then his colleagues could never accuse George of sleeping on the field. His scheming and midfield mastery are a Maine Road legend. But City almost didn’t get them at all!
“I was 28 and at Lincoln City after being sold by Newcastle. I scored a goal in Newcastle’s 3-1 win over City in the 1954-55 Cup Final and I honestly thought that was the biggest achievement of my career.
“I never expected to get back into the First Division but just after the season had started in 1958 I came into Maine Road in an exchange deal for John McClelland.”
George, of course, blossomed out again with City cashing in on his experience and maturity. He helped to bring on a young player – Denis Law – but a painful injury interrupted his career at the start of the 1963 season.
“I had an operation on my back and was out of the game for almost six months. I lost my first team place and at the end of the season I knew I was on my way.” George had a season with Notts County and finished with another at Bradford City before retiring in 1966.
“I never wanted to get involved in the game when I finished,” explained George, “so I took a newsagents shop in Fallowfield. Even when I went to Nottingham and Bradford I still kept my home in Manchester.” It’s now in Withing•on with his wife June and two children.
“When I was playing I didn’t want to move because I didn’t want to upset the children’s schooling ,” he says. And it’s paid off with his 19-year-old daughter Julie now studying at teacher’s training college and his 16-year-old son Dale Williams has just passed 8’O’ levels at William Hulme Grammar School. He hopes to become a doctor.
“There’s only one thing I ever wanted to do,” recalls George, “and that was play Soccer. When I was 12 I told my dad I would play for Everton – and I did.”
But it took George a long while to reach Manchester!
AN ARTICLE BY GARY JAMES PUBLISHED IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 24TH AUGUST 2002
Prior to joining the Blues in 1958 George Hannah made a name for himself as an inside-left at Newcastle. He’d joined the Magpies in September 1949 after appearing for the Irish League, and scored against the Blues in Newcastle’s 4-2 victory later that month. The following January he netted his first Maine Road goal when he helped the Geordies to a 1-1 draw before 42,986 fans.
He was not an automatic choice at this stage of his career but by 1955 he was averaging around 25 games a season. He was also selected to play in the 1955 FA Cup final against City. It was not a great day for the Blues, an injury to Jimmy Meadows after 20 minutes effectively killed off City’s chance of success, but it was a marvellous day for Hannah who scored the Magpies’ third and final goal. Afterwards when asked what went through his mind when making the shot he simply admitted: “l just hit it as hard as I could.”
Around this time Hannah was tipped for a place in the England team but the chance never came and in 1957, with his career seemingly nearing its end, he moved to Lincoln. Fortunately, City manager Les McDowal| brought him to Maine Road the following year and his career was given a new lease of life. McDowaIl’s great cup fighting team was breaking up and Hannah was initially signed to help fill some of the gaps. ln his first season he replaced Bobby Johnstone as centre-forward for a few games.
By this stage in his career Hannah was seen as a calming influence in the dressing room and young players, such as Denis Law, enjoyed his encouragement and support.
His final City appearance in the League was a 1-1 draw with Plymouth at Maine Boad on 9th October 1963. The Blues were a Division Two side at this stage managed by George Poyser, and Hannah was never really likely to fit in with any rebuilding plans. The following July he moved to Notts County, then briefly to Bradford City before retiring in 1966.
In retirement he ran a newsagents in Fallowfield and later worked for British Telecom. He suffered with heart problems in later life and died in 1990 at the age of 61.
Although his name is no longer a household name in Manchester, his contribution to both the Geordies’ success and to City’s late fifties period should not be overlooked. He was an industrious and skilful player who brought much joy to City fans during what was, in effect, a period of transition.