Legendary player and manager George Stevenson is the third inductee into the Motherwell FC Hall of Fame.
Stevenson was signed by John Hunter from local Junior side Kilbirnie Ladeside in May 1923 with the then Steelmen boss having seen something in “the young man’s ability to pick and pass and link play.”
Although he was signed with an eye to the future, Stevenson quickly broke into the first-team squad and made his debut against Third Lanark at Cathkin Park in December of the same year.
The 4,000 punters in attendance on that misty, dank afternoon could not have envisaged the part this young man would play in shaping Motherwell Football Club over the coming thirty years.
His introduction to the team would coincide with a period of unparalleled league success for the claret and amber men, who would not finish outside the top five for the next 13 years, which of course included the famous 1932 league winning exploits.
Such was Stevenson’s influence, that only six years into his Motherwell career and at the age of just 24, he was awarded the first ever official benefit game by the club against Huddersfield Town in September 1929.
To the Motherwell fans that idolised him, George became known as “The Prince of Inside Forwards.” The press admired his abilities too, with one famous hack gushing “George Stevenson is a magnificent close dribbler, a perceptive finisher and, above all, a man totally integrated with his wing partner Bob Ferrier”.
‘Stevie’ played his final game for the club 16 years after arriving in Lanarkshire, on 26 August 1939 in a 3-2 defeat away to Alloa, a week before the outbreak of World War II.
In total, he played 511 league games for Motherwell, scoring 170 goals from midfield. In his cabinet, he won three Scottish Cup runners-up medals and a Scottish league winners badge. He’d also earned 10 Scottish League caps and made 12 Scottish international appearances, which still stand as a record for Scots at the club to this day.
The reintroduction of league football after the war kicked off in season 1946/47. Like most clubs at the time, Motherwell began with a completely new playing squad and bossed by a new manager – George Stevenson.
Stevie’s nine-year stint in charge at Fir Park, although fairly mixed in league terms, would be defined by terrific performances in domestic cups. Season 1950/51 saw Motherwell face Hibernian at Hampden in the final of the League Cup and goals from Kelly, Forrest and Watters secured Motherwell the trophy for the first and only time.
Stevenson’s Motherwell would also reach the Scottish Cup final that same season, when 132,000 fans saw the Steelmen unluckily edged out by Celtic 1-0 in the final.
However, Motherwell’s time in the Hampden sun would only be 12 months away. Forfar, St Mirren, Dunfermline, Rangers and Hearts were all dispatched before Dundee were thrashed 4-0 in the final, taking the Scottish Cup back to Fir Park for the first time.
Despite reaching the League Cup final once again, the run-of-the-mill league games, although entertaining, didn’t bring the rewards they should have, and he resigned as manager in 1955.
George reign as Motherwell manager saw the club reach three cup semi-finals and four finals, winning twice, and a Division Two title in his nine years in charge. Coupling his managerial efforts with his achievements as a player, Stevenson, who sadly passed away in 1990 aged 80, is without doubt one of the most decorated Steelmen of all time.
He will be posthumously inducted by his members of his family at a dinner at the Bothwell Bridge Hotel on Saturday, 23 November, along with Willie Pettigrew, Ally Maxwell and two others.
Hosted by Tam Cowan, our event is now sold out. You can still choose who you want to see in the Hall of Fame through our public vote. Click here to cast your vote.