George Luke RIP
George Luke has died. News of the 76-year-old former left winger's death was announced yesterday. He was famed as an honest and well-liked player, who refused to give up his job as an apprentice plumber when he signed for the club for just £5-a-week in the 1950s. During his playing career George had two spells in black-and-white. First when Wor Jackie Milburn was in his prime and a second alongside stars including Ivor Allchurch, Len White and George Eastham. Bob Moncur: “I’m one of the few guys remaining from when I went to Newcastle and played with him in 1960. “He was what I liked to call an old-fashioned outside left, or what would be a winger these days. Over the years I met him on many occasions. “George was always humorous and always had a dry joke. As a player, he had a great left foot. While he didn’t make it in what you might describe as the big time, he was a popular player. “He will be missed by Newcastle United fans I’m sure.” George played all his Football League career in the North East, having two spells with United and also serving Hartlepool and Darlington with distinction. Born in the city, Luke’s first period at St James’ Park in the early fifties saw his way into the first team blocked by Scottish maestro Bobby Mitchell. A former England schoolboy international, George went off to Hartlepool where he scored 61 goals in 183 games before returning to Tyneside at the end of the fifties for a fee of £4,000. In the 1959-60 season, Luke took over from Mitchell on the left wing and looked a penetrating forward in 29 matches that produced four goals. His League career ended at Darlington before George returned to Tyneside and opened a carpet shop in Forest Hall, North Tyneside, where he lived until he died. Married at the age of 20, he continued to live with his parents in a council house in Daisy Hill and didn’t buy his own home, for £1,500, until just before he returned to sign for the Magpies. His retirement from the game gave him the opportunity to become a collector of Newcastle United memorabilia, counting a Championship medal dating back to 1906-07 among his collection. In his latter years, George divided his time equally between Tyneside and Tenerife, with six months in each. It is understood he had been suffering from ill health recently. He is survived by his partner Lynne, wife Ruth and sons Tony and Hylton.
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