One of the last amateur players to play in the top division, George Robb was a flying winger, who did great service to the club and represented England.
George's schooling took place at Poole's Park School in Finsbury Park, before he got a scholarship to attend Holloway School. Robb was evacuated to Towcester in Northamptonshire in the early war years, but came home in 1942 and joined Finchley. As a noted left winger, he got the opportunity to play as an 18 year old for Finchley and he completed his studies, before he joined the Royal Navy in 1944, playing in their football team moving from inside right to outside left. Served as a coder and later as a PE instructor at bases in Skegness, Malvern and Ayr. George signed amateur forms with Spurs in 1944. Despite the opening to develop his career as a professional player, George spent nine years at Finchley while training to be a school-teacher, where his reputation grew to get recognition with 18 caps for the amateur England side.
Leaving the Army after the war, George moved into temporary office work, but went into teaching at Borough Road Teacher's Training College in Isleworth and then went to Loughborough to gain his Diploma in Physical Education, having a placement at Borough Road school, Osterley and taught at St. Mary's Church of England school in Crouch End. A regular at Finchley in 1949 at inside left, George was selected to play for the England Amateur team on a tour of France, Switzerland and Italy in May and June 1949 and George went on to win 18 caps at that level. Robb also played for representative sides for the London FA XI, Middlesex FA XI and the Athenian League XI while at Finchley, additionally playing and scoring for the GB Football team at the Helsinki Olympic Games in 1952.
Signed as an amateur for
Spurs on 24th December 1951 and netted the second goal
in a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic on Christmas Day,
helping to create the other two goals. The winger had
originally signed amateur forms for Spurs on 29th August
1944, but did not play any games for the club during the
war. As part of the team Rowe
was putting together after the two title winning
seasons, he realised the Robb's pace in the flank would
give him options on how to play opposition teams.
He nagged the player to sign into the professional game,
but it was only when Les Medley left at the end of the
1952-53 season that George signed as a pro. Spurs paid
Finchley £100 for the player, as George signed as a part
time professional and this was four weeks after his last
England Amateur cap against Norway in Oslo.
Scoring 16 goals in 37 games in his first season in the First Division, linking up with Eddie Baily, he formed a good understanding of when to go forward and when to cover for his team-mate, being a willing runner both going forward and tracking back in defence. He could play the ball off both feet and his crossing was accurate to feed the centre-forwards, having made space to put the ball in by jinking past his marker or just beating him for sheer pace.
On 23rd September 1953, Robb was selected to play for the Football League side against the League of Ireland, with his performance doing enough to make his place in the full England side for the first time a reality when Hungary saw off England at Wembley 6-3, leaving him part of a side embarrassed by the "Mighty Magyars." Unfortunately, that was his only senior cap, but he did play three England B internationals against West Germany, Yugoslavia and Switzerland before the end of the season.
Knuckling down to his club career, George played a major part in the transitional years between Rowe's push-and-run side and the new era that Bill Nicholson was to herald after he took over as manager. Training in the evenings on his own after teaching all day and managing to keep his place in the team until injuries hit his form in 1957 and continued to disrupt his career and played his last game for the club on 18th October 1958. However, George stayed with Spurs and played in the Third team in the Eastern Counties league, making 35 appearances in the A and reserve teams netting 12 goals before playing his final game in our colours against Sudbury Town on 30th April 1960, retiring a month later.
Spent 12 years teaching at Christ's College in Finchley and towards the end of that time, he wrote a book about the game in 1964.
His service to the club
during that time was unstinting and he was
left to fall back on the training he did as an
amateur, when he returned to teaching at Ardingly Public
School, in September 1964, where he taught English and ,
History and Biology with one of his pupils being Ian
Hislop (editor of Private Eye and broadcaster).
was a football coach until 1987, also maintaining an
involvement in the Middlesex County Schools Association.
Having spent 38 years teaching,
George retired in 1986, but stayed to live in the area,
where he lived with his wife Kate. George and his
wife both regularly received invites from the Hungarian
FA when their 1953 side was meeting up and often
travelled with Sir Stanley Matthews and his wife. They
also came along when Bill Nicholson was given the
Freedom of Haringey in 1998. A number of the
members of George's family are all Spurs supporters and
many are regulars at the Lane.
Later in life, he suffered from Vascular Dementia and died on Christmas Day 2011.