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R.I.P. George McLean

The club are saddened to hear of the passing of former player George McLean.

4 July 2019

By Kirky

The club are saddened to hear of the passing of former player George McLean.

George was a big signing for Town in the early 1960s, in every sense of the word.  He came from "big" clubs - Rangers and Norwich City, and the fee he commanded - £4,500 - was big for Town at the time.  We could see that he was full of running and enthusiasm right from the start, playing in a forward line that changed frequently, which might include any of the following - Johnny Scott, Fred Jones, Brian Hill, Cliff Portwood, Mike Cullen, Ron Foster, Jim Pennington, Brian Clifton, and the returning Ron Rafferty (after a knee injury, and a spell at wing-half).  The season was Town's first back in the old Division 2, and the one most disrupted by the extreme winter weather of early 1963 when Town played just one match in a two-month period between January and March.  That meant a lot of catching up to do and the season didn't end until May 18th when Town played Bury at Blundell Park.  By this time, Bury were in the top half of the table, and Town, having flirted with relegation, were safe, so a "typical end-of-season match?"  Not really.  Over 8,000 fans turned up, and most of us who did will remember the game for one thing …… George scored FOUR goals in a 5-1 victory over the Shakers.  George ended the season top-scoring on 15.

The following season saw George have a new inside forward as partner to aid with the goals.  Remarkably it was someone who had started off at Cambuslang Rangers too, just as George had … Matt Tees.  Despite having some Town legends in the team - Charlie Wright, Jimmy Thompson, Graham Taylor, Brian Keeble, Ron Cockerill, Brian Clifton, Keith Jobling, Cliff Portwood and Brian Hill as well as George and Matt, the side struggled for most of the season.  As with the previous season, the last match was full of drama as Town played Sunderland at BP, with both teams having something at stake.  For Town it was survival.  For Sunderland it was the Championship.  Personally it was one of the greatest games to have witnessed with the advantage swinging to and fro, but in the end, all the efforts of both sides - and Town's forwards led by George - neither team got the result they needed in a 2-2 draw.

So back to Division 3, and the first game away at Oldham where George did his four-goal trick again, in another 5-1 victory.  The season went well for the likeable Scot, and he ended his Town career with 19 league goals that season, and another in the League Cup … against Oldham again!

At the end of the season, he left Blundell Park for Exeter for £5,000, then Workington and Barrow, before returning to the area to play for Keith Joblings Boston United like so many ex Mariners of that era.  And then on to local football, being the Immingham Town Player-Manager in the mid 1970s.

Thanks for the memories George.  A man who played with a smile on his face, and who regularly put one on the faces of the Mariners faithful.

George McLean.  Mariners Legend.

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