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George Hedley Swindin (December 4, 1914 – October 27, 2005) was an English football player and manager.

Playing career

A goalkeeper, Swindin was born in Campsall, Yorkshire. He played as an amateur for various local clubs, including Rotherham United, before turning professional in 1934 with Bradford City. He played twenty-six times for Bradford, before being signed by Arsenal in 1936 for £4,000. He made his debut against Brentford on September 3, 1936, and played nineteen games in his first season. To begin with, his time at Arsenal was characterised by nervous and erratic displays, and he was made to share the goalkeeping spot with Alex Wilson and Frank Boulton. However, he played seventeen games in 1937-38, the most of Arsenal's three keepers, and won a First Division medal.

The Second World War interrupted his career somewhat, but Swindin continued to play through the war for Arsenal, whilst acting as a PT instructor for the Army. By the time first-class football had resumed after the war, he became Arsenal's undisputed No. 1, and stayed there for the next six seasons. By now, he had put his erracticness behind him, and he was a commanding keeper who was especially known for his aerial ability and assured handling of crosses, as well as his strong physical resilience. He won his second League title in 1948, and despite the arrival of Ted Platt in 1950, Swindin kept his place to play in the 1950 and 1952 FA Cup finals; Arsenal won the former against Liverpool, but lost to Newcastle United in the latter.

By 1952-53, Swindin was beginning to show his age, and another talented keeper, the Welshman Jack Kelsey had taken his first-team place. Nevertheless, Swindin played 14 matches that season as Arsenal won the title again, giving him his third Championship winner's medal.

Despite his excellent form for Arsenal, he was never capped by England at senior level, with Sir Walter Winterbottom preferring Frank Swift and Bert Williams between the sticks. In all, he played 297 first-class matches (not including wartime games) for the Gunners.

Management career

Swindin moved to Midland League side Peterborough United as player-manager in 1954, and took his team to several famous FA Cup runs (which included getting to the Fourth Round in 1956-57 and three consecutive Midland League titles between 1956 and 1958. Peterborough would go on to win the title twice more after Swindin left, enough to win election to the Football League in 1960.

In the meantime, Swindin had returned to Arsenal in 1958 as manager, and his side initially started strongly, finishing third in 1958-59. However, the team soon flagged and spent the next three seasons in mid-table. Despite signing players such as George Eastham and Tommy Docherty, Swindin was unable to bring any silverware to the club, whilst up the road the club's rivals Tottenham Hotspur won the Double in 1961.

He resigned in May 1962, and then became manager of Norwich City for five months, and then Cardiff City from late 1962 to 1964. At Cardiff, he signed John Charles from Roma, but after a bright start Cardiff soon faded and he resigned after the club were relegated to the Second Division. After that, he had spells as manager of Kettering Town and Corby Town before leaving the game for good.

Final years

After retiring from football, Swindin first owned a garage in Corby, before emigrating to Spain, where he spent his retirement. In the later years of his life he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He died in Kettering in 2005, aged 90.

Comments

He was a prince of goalkeepers, never capped for England but should have been

 

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