Posted: 7/8/2012


        He was born near Barnsley in Yorkshire in 1907 and during the 1930's played for a number of English clubs;Sheffield United, Mansfield Town, Bury, Rotherham United and Aldershot. Life changed when he was sent to Iraq during the war as a physical education instructor.

       After he returned home he asked for help from Stanley Rous, a famous international referee who worked for the English F.A.  He was recommended to the Swedish F.A.(SFF) and worked there from 1946-54.  At the 1948 Olympic Games in London he led his team to the gold medal, beating Yugoslavia 3-1 in front of 60,000 spectators in the final at Wembley Stadium. On the way they had defeated Austria 3-0, Denmark 4-2, and South Korea 12-0.

      Stanley Rous became Sir Stanley after being knighted by King George VI for successfully organizing the whole Olympic Games, and becoming Secretary of the F.A. and later President of FIFA.

      The Englishman abroad was called GEORGE RAYNOR and he had an exciting strike force of Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm  called Gre-No-Li to the world. These players and others were eventually bought by rich Italian clubs and turned professional, and the SFF took time before allowing professionals and foreign based players to represent the country. Those three became legends at the Rossoneri in Milan while Lennart Skoglund starred for rivals Internazionale.

       They still managed to qualify for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil without these stars, and after defeating defending champions Italy they finished third, losing 3-2 to eventual winners Uruguay. They won bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics over West Germany after losing in the semi-final to Hungary. The Magic Magyars would have gone undefeated for four years. In 1953 Raynor took his team to Budapest and tied 2-2 in the Nepstadion.

       He called Walter Winterbottom, the England manager, and also spoke with his selectors, suggesting man marking Nandor Hideguti and tracking back for England when they hosted The Hungarians. His advice was ignoredGeorge. "You can't expect Stanley Matthews to track back and defend'" was the answer.  England lost 6-3 and Hideguti scored three times.

       Raynor went on to manage Juventus and Lazio in Italy and also GAIS, AIK Solna and Atvidaberg FF and returned to the national squad and take charge of Sweden who were hosting the 1958 World Cup.  In the final Nils Liedholm gave them a fourth minute lead over Brazil, but finally lost 5-2 with 17 year old Pele and Vava each grabbing a brace and another from Zagallo.  King Gustav knighted him for his services and he later returned to coach The Tre Kronor in a 3-2 win in 1959 over England at Wembley. He was never offered the top job in his homeland.

     George's son Brian stayed in Sweden and his wife bore two sons, Christopher and Peter who still live there in LundGeorge finished up coaching Skegness Town and Doncaster Rovers for a short time and was an assistant storeman at a Butlin's holiday camp in Yorkshire. He retired and died in Buxton in 1985, unreported in the national press, but a hero in Sweden until this day.