A COWDENBEATH man who became a popular player for Aberdeen in the 1960s has died.
On Saturday October 16 George Kinnell passed away at home in the Granite City at the age of 84. He had been suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s for a number of years.
George was a member of a famous Cowdenbeath footballing family. He was born on December 22 1937 to Andrew Kinnell and Daisy, who lived at 179 Foulford Road.
George played football for Foulford School and then for Fife Schools when he was at Beath High.
He started work as an apprentice butcher in the Co-op at the Kirkford shop in the town.
George then played for the shopkeeper’s team, Cowdenbeath Wednesday, and then 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 centre-half, 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 named as a substitute for the Scottish League v the Irish League in Belfast but full honours eluded. He was a real never say die player but also was a fine footballer.
George captained Aberdeen in the top flight in Scotland while his younger brother, Andy Kinnell, did the same for both Cowdenbeath and St Johnstone.
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 five 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 eight 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 later returned to Scotland and lived for many years in Aberdeen.