George Berry

Wolverhampton Wanderers

George Berry 1

George at Wolves

 

George Berry was born in Rostrup, Germany his father was a serviceman from Jamaica while his mother was Welsh and the Berry family moved to Blackpool, England soon after his birth.Whilst living in Blackpool George started playing football and played for the same youth club as the nephew of former Liverpool player Alun Evans who after watching George, Evans recommended him for a trial at Woves.

His trial was successful and they offered him a contract, George could not wait to leave school and signed the day after completing his ‘O’ levels in 1973.He turned professional on his 18th birthday and made his debut away at Chelsea on 7 May 1977.

George became first choice throughout the next few years, winning the fans’ player of the year award in 1979 and the 1980 League Cup, when Wolves beat reigning European champions Nottingham Forrest 1-0 at Wembley.

The club suffered relegation though in 1981-82 and George joined Stoke City.

Whilst at Wolves Berry suffered racial abuse even from his own supporters.

“We had just lost 3–0 at home to Watford in the FA cup and some bloke shouted abuse at me and I just lost it and jumped into the crowd and started to beat him up. We went to the police station and I got a rollocking from the Chief Inspector, but it all got hushed up”

Stoke City

George Berry

George at Stoke

George joined Stoke City on a free transfer in July 1982 joining up with Richie Barker who had previously worked as assistant manager at Wolves.

George was a fantastic header of the ball and while he lacked the technical skill he made it up with his determination and commitment combined with his distinctive afro style haircut which he copied from The Jackson 5, George was well on his way to becoming a cult hero.

With Stoke bottom of the First Division in December 1983 Barker was sacked and caretaker manager Bill Asprey banished George to the youth team as he sought to restore defensive stability to the team which had conceded 33 goals in the first 17 matches.

George received no explanation for this public humiliation and the pair never spoke again.

However typical of his character George returned to the side after a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers and a period of inactivity where he trained alone in Portugal, he did make a return to the first team but Stoke were relegated in 1984-85 with a then record low points tally of 17.

New manager Mick Mills appointed George as captain and formed a good defensive partnership with Steve Bould and the pair nearly helped Stoke reach the play-offs in 1986-87.

He became one of Stoke’s most brightest players in what was a pretty dull period for the club and he was given a testimonial match against Port Vale in August 1990 after making 267 appearances for the club scoring 29 goals.

Later career

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He was give a free transfer to Peterborough United where he spent the 1990-91 season before moving to Preston North End however his ageing legs could not cope with Deepdale’s plastic pitch and he left for Aldershot. They were forced to close down mid-season due to financial problems and George decided to retire.

After retiring from playing, George gained a business degree and became the senior commercial executive at the Professional Footballers’ Association.

He is also president of the Stoke City Southern Supporters Club and an active member of Stoke City Old Boys Association.