Sadly, on this day in 2021 former Sunderland midfielder George Kinnell passed away.
George signed from Oldham in October 1966, much to the annoyance of the Latics fans, as he’d scored 8 in 12 since joining them only two months earlier.
There were rumours that the utility man had been brought in to settle down his wayward genius of a cousin – Jim Baxter (it didn’t work) – and others that he was to replace King Charlie because manager Ian McColl objected to Hurley’s religion.
I saw him play in front of Charlie Hurley and Colin Todd against Wolves in April '68, and the fact that he didn’t repeat his Oldham scoring record is down to him being employed in midfield and defence, at Roker.
He was a popular player despite initially having a difficult time, having his own song which I, as a youngster, though was hilarious. We Are Singing For Kinnell. He was never booked while at Sunderland, despite thumping an opponent who’d clattered their Jim.
He’d started at the romantically-named Crossgates Primrose in Fife before joining Aberdeen in 1959 and four years later headed to Stoke, where he had a successful three years and reached the League Cup final in 1964.
After exactly two years on Wearside, which included a loan to Vancouver Whitecaps in the summer of 67, and six goals in 79 appearances, he went to Boro where he only played 13 times before joining Juventus – the Australian one. His kid brother Andy played over 300 games in Scotland.
George sadly passed away aged 83 on 16th October 2021, having fought Alzheimer's and dementia in his last years. Rest in peace George.