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Later with Palace George suffered a serious eye injury which ultimately hastened his retirement.
Though in March 1965 he did return from this serious injury in a home FA Cup quarter-final tie against Leeds United, and for a final league appearance in April.
He then hung-up his boots to start his coaching / managerial career.
His first posting was as Crystal Palace’s coach. After a stint at Selhurst Park he moved on to manage Leyton Orient and Millwall. Later he took up coaching roles with Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea.
Today West Ham United supporters take it for granted that the Hammers belong in the top tier of English football. But prior to winning the Division Two championship in 1957-58 the club had spent several post-war seasons languishing in the bottom half of Division Two.
Season 1952-53 was one of these as manager Ted Fenton gave league debuts to four players who would later enjoy successful football management careers: Ken Brown, Noel Cantwell, Dave Sexton and George Petchey.
Of the four, Petchey had the shortest West Ham first team career. As an inside-forward he signed professional on August 31, 1948 but had to wait until September 1952 for his Football League debut.
With a large squad of professionals, competition for a first team spot was fierce and after three first team appearances, George left the Hammers to join Queens Park Rangers in July 1953.
Including his two league appearances with West Ham and those with QPR (255) and later Crystal Palace (143), George made 400 Football League appearances scoring 34 goals.
After hanging-up his boots at the end of 1964-65 season he embarked on a successful coaching and management career taking in managerial roles with Crystal Palace and Leyton Orient.
Born: Whitechapel, London June 24, 1931 George William Petchey died December 23, 2019 aged 88.
Daily Telegraph January 17, 2020
reporting George’s death
Early Life with the Hammers
George’s early junior soccer was in Essex with the Romford and Hornchurch Schools teams. On leaving school he played for Upminster Minors and Juniors from 1945 to 1947 and in August 1947 signed as an amateur with West Ham United where he played for the Hammers’ youth team, Corinthian Juniors, until May 1948.
He signed professional forms on August 31, 1948, and two days later made his first appearance as a professional against Chelsea ‘A’ at Upton Park in the Eastern Counties League.
As for most players of this era, his career was interrupted by National Service. And during his Army days he played for Southern Command and London District. However, George was fortunate in being able to play fairly regularly for the Hammers’ 'A' team and Football Combination side.
His reserve team debut in the Football Combination was against Charlton Athletic at The Valley on February 11, 1950.
Football League Debut September 1952
West Ham United
Two and a half years after his reserve team bow, Ted Fenton handed George his football league debut. Stepping into the side as a replacement for the injured Gerry Gazzard, the clever inside-right made his debut in the Upton Park goalless draw with Hull City on Monday September 1, 1952.
As an aside, this match was before the introduction of floodlights which meant the match kicked-off at the unusual time of 6:15pm. The Evening Standard’s report explained “It was a year ago that Ted Fenton told me of the promise of Petchey ..”
The Hammers’ side that afternoon was:
Ernie Gregory, George Wright, Harry Kinsell, Derek Parker, Malcolm Allison, Frank O’Farrell, Terry Woodgate, Jim Barrett Jnr, Tom Moroney, George Petchey, Jimmy Andrews.
Five days later he made his second and last claret and blue Division Two appearance in the 2-1 home defeat to Birmingham City.
Manager Ted Fenton made one change from the Hull City match line-up with Ken Tucker replacing Jimmy Andrews. According to the Evening Standard’s match report, George was unable to take advantage of a couple of goal scoring chances: Inside-left George Petchey deputising for injured Gazzard, had the ball at his feet from four yards out. He hit it first time but wide of the mark.
And in the 2nd half “Petchey missed a great chance of increasing the West Ham’s lead. Taking a neat pass from Moroney he shot over with Merrick (Birmingham’s goalkeeper) alone to beat”
For the next league fixture against Leicester City, two days after the Birmingham City defeat, the Evening Standard reported that amateur John Gregory was to be introduced in place of George.
Essex Professional Cup
Layer Road Appearance
Two months after his two league appearances, on Thursday November 13, 1952 Petchey was drafted into the side for his third and final first team appearance in the Essex Professional Cup 1st round tie away at Colchester United.
A hat-trick from Tommy Moroney gave the Irons a 3-2 victory.
The side that afternoon was:
George Taylor, Ernie Devlin, Noel Cantwell, Eric Armstrong, Malcolm Allison, Danny McGowan, Tommy Southren, Tom Moroney, Tommy Dixon, George Petchey, George Gunning.
Transfer to Queens Park Rangers
In May 1953 it was announced that West Ham United would be retaining 40 players for the following season, the only two placed on the transfer list were centre-forward Bert Hawkins and inside-forward George Petchey.
With over 100 second-string appearances to his name, Petchey transferred to Division Three (South) Queens Park Rangers in July 1953 for a reported fee of £6,000. At Loftus Road he made his Hoops’ debut against Brighton in August 1953.
Over the next seven seasons, he clocked 255 league games for Rangers scoring 22 goals. Three of the 12 goals were a hat-trick George netted against Aldershot.
Did you know?
In the 1958 Evening Standard sponsored London 5-a-Side Football Championships George Petchey was a member of the QPR quintet which reached the semi-finals. In the 2nd round QPR beat West Ham 3-1 courtesy of a brace from Petchey. Former club mate Noel Cantwell scored the Hammers’ consolation goal.
Petchey had previously played in 1956’s championships where he netted two more goals. The first in QPR’s 2nd round 2-1 win over Chelsea and the other, QPR’s goal in their 2-1 semi-final defeat to eventual winners Spurs.
He continued his London 5s association with Crystal Palace when he coached The Glaziers to win 1969’s championships.
Move to Crystal Palace
In May 1960, George moved from west to south London to join Division Four’s Crystal Palace. In his first season he was ever-present to help them gain promotion to Division Three. With The Glaziers he made 143 league appearances netting a dozen goals.
Crystal Palace XI which faced Aston Villa in January 1962’s FA Cup
Front row includes future Hammer Johnny Byrne 2nd left and ex-Hammer John Cartwright 4th left
Friendly v Real Madrid
One of the highlights of his Palace tenure was in his second season when he was in the Palace side for Selhurst Park’s inaugural floodlit game, a narrow defeat to the then European Cup holders, Real Madrid.
Teammates that memorable evening included former Hammers Ron Brett and Andy Smillie, and Hammer loaned back for the evening, Johnny Byrne.
In recognition of his early retirement from playing, Crystal Palace granted George a testimonial match. Held on Wednesday November 15, 1967, The Glaziers faced an International XI captained by Bobby Moore. Accompanying Bobby in the opposition’s colours were claret and blue colleagues, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and goalkeeper Jim Standen.
Despite a Martin Peters’ goal, the West Ham contingent couldn’t help the International XI from losing 6-3. A 10,243 attendance was reported as contributing a healthy £2,000 to George’s testimonial fund.
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Coaching / Managerial Career
Date of Birth:
June 24, 1931
Apprentice: August 1, 1947
Professional: August 31, 1948
2 Football League
1 Essex Professional Cup
Johnny Haynes signs the match ball for George Petchey while some of the other stars of the game wait for their turn.
Pictured (left to right) Peter Osgood, George Petchey, Martin Peters, Colin Bell, Johnny Haynes, Bobby Moore, Mike Summerbee and Johnny Byrne
Leyton Orient Manager
'theyflysohigh' would like to pass on our condolences to George's family and friends at this sad time
Clacton Town at the Rush Green Bowl January 22, 1949
Back row: Freddie Kearns, Dennis Howe, George Taylor, (Possible: Streat, McQuinn, Batchelor)
Front row: Gerry Gatland, George Petchey, Ken Tucker, Andy Malcolm, Ron Wilson
Eastern Counties League