First posted on Facebook on September 26th, 2016
Happy Birthday to George Wood who will turn 64 today. It is fair to say that Jock Stein was never fully enamoured with Alan Rough and tried out a few goalkeepers to replace him; one such was George Wood. George was capped four times for Scotland; the first three came as an Everton player. George had previously played with East Stirling and Blackpool. Scotland had played poorly down at Ninian Park in the opening game of the 1979 Home Internationals losing 3-0. One of the changes Stein instigated was to give George his first cap against Northern Ireland a few days later at Hampden Park. Scotland would win 1-0 with Arthur Graham of Leeds United hitting the only goal.
Jock took the decision to play Wood at Wembley a few days later and George would suffer the fate of many a Scotland goalkeeper at Wembley and have a poor game. Scotland took the lead through John Wark in the 21st minute but Woods was quite slow in getting down to a Peter Barnes shot which leveled the score just on the stroke of half-time. He was more culpable for the second England goal as he fumbled a Ray Wilkins shot dropping it at Steve Coppell’s feet to allow England to take the lead. Kevin Keegan would finish the Scots off with a goal in the 70th minute.
Alan Rough would start Scotland’s next game which was the famous friendly against Argentina in June ’79. George would replace Rough for the second half as the Scots lost 3-1.
However, it would be almost three years before Wood was picked again to start, with Billy Thomson deputising for Rough in the intervening years.
George who was by then an Arsenal player, played against Northern Ireland in Belfast in May,1982 in the opening game of the Home Internationals. The game would end in a 1-1 draw with John Wark hitting the Scots goal.
Although George never played again, he was chosen for the 1982 World Cup squad along with Rough and the uncapped Jim Leighton.
George would move from Arsenal to Crystal Place and then have spells with Cardiff, Blackpool and Hereford before moving to Welsh non-League football.