Simon Wright looks back on the footballing career of George Forsyth, the Bulls Christmas present.
Our latest midfielder/ defender is 24 with varying experience of playing senior football for 7 different clubs. It’s clear George is a youngish man yet to fully demonstrate his talent at an elite level. Injuries, broken promises and inevitably bl***y covid have collectively held him back. Having a father who was well known in the region as a decent footballer is unlikely to be totally helpful.
Dad Richard (50) recently became Director of Football at Kidderminster Harriers, a Tim Harris type position to act as translator between the Board and manager. Like so many of our current squad, Aggborough is familiar territory for Forsyth Senior. He racked up over 300 games for Kiddy before moving on up to the Bluenoses and Stoke City. Like his son, Richard is a native of the Black Country. Forsyth Senior was of average height (5 foot ten) so was possibly surprised to see son George reach six foot three. Perhaps the fertilizer diet does work.
Presumably encouraged by his Dad, Stourbridge-born “Foz” joined an Academy at the age of 7. His choice was Wolverhampton Wanderers. He claimed to enjoy said Academy for the first few years though as he confided in Gloucestershire Live, by the age of 12, “he was falling behind physically.” Forsyth, like several of his Hereford team mates, did finally manage to escape the Dingles clutches. He spent a year with the Shrewsbury Academy. Now 16 years old, he failed to get into Academies at Villa or Cheltenham before settling on the Harriers, Dad’s old club. Here Forsyth was to enjoy his time in the Academy, captaining a Youth side which reached the Third Round of the FA Youth Cup. One of his team-mates was Kennedy Digie. Both young men received their first pro contracts in 2014, just months after Steve Burr was sacked. Player coach Josh Gowling was very much around so too were first teamers Jared Hodgkiss and James McQuilkin. Both young players were regularly loaned out, so much so that Foz only played one FA Cup game for his Dad’s club.
Forsyth resented mainly warming benches at Yate, Rushall, Halesowen and others, explaining wearily to Gloucestershire Live that he “only got regular game time at Stratford Town.” That particular loan started in late February, some 2.5 years into his playing career. That summer, wearied of broken promises and feeling he deserved better, Foz accepted an offer from NLN club Gloucester City and became part-time. He was very impressed with their Gaffer Tim Harris. “I was instantly sold by him as a person.” In August, George secured a proper job as a football coach at an Academy in Wolverhampton (no, not that one.) where he continues to work now. What George didn’t get was regular football. He filled in gaps, occasionally playing as right back and was loaned to Snapper Snape’s Worcester City where he was quickly interviewed by a youthful-sounding Ben Goddard.
After an unsatisfactory return to Gloucester, Foz asked for his contract to be terminated so he could play football every week with Worcester. Dad approved. “That step from youth and reserve football into the senior game is always a difficult one to take but at least he has a great opportunity at Worcester. With the size and stature of the club, you get good exposure. He really enjoys his football there the lads have been great for him and he has been learning a lot” enthused Richard to the Worcester News. The status drop was considerable – three levels- and so was the drop in salary. City ran out of cash and had to stop paying their players. Many personnel left including the management but Foz stayed. He stood out in a struggling Step 5 side, scoring quite regularly. He stood out from the crowd. George was the only Step 5 man to be selected for a FA Select XI side game at Edgar Street. Consequently, Forsyth was receiving and declining offers from other clubs.
Then Stourbridge FC asked. His hometown club, a big name in Step 3, a wage and with his father already working for the Glassboys, this was his big chance surely? After 66 games and an impressive 14 goals in Step 5, Forsyth signed for “Stour” in February 2019. The Black Country club went on to reach the Play-Offs with George making a decent contribution. However, they lost in the first round and the manager resigned. The new Gaffer Ian Long basically wanted his own men. Thus Forsyth needed a new club and happily for him, his old Worcester boss Snape was No 2 at nearby Halesowen Town who were building a new team to get out of Step 4.
In what passes for this season, Foz was a regular for a Halesowen Town side who had a particularly odd time. They were knocked out of the FA Trophy twice in the space of a few weeks (the first exit being last season’s held over Semi-Final) and to date Town have played far more friendlies than League games.The Yeltz are without competitive games since the end of October when a defeat at AFC Dunstable included a Forsyth OG. Ambitious players understandably have itchy feet and when the Hereford approach was made, there was team-mate Jamie Molyneux on hand to offer glowing reviews.
Halesowen were a bit tight-lipped about their players departure, feeling that they’d supported him through an 11-month absence (October 2019 to September 2020) with a broken foot and thus deserved something more in return. Over his two spells, Forsyth made 35 appearances. One curiosity. The Yeltz announced Forsyth’s departure on December 17. I wondered, nay hoped about his possible destination in the “National League”. There were so many obvious links – surely it must be Hereford? But time passed and I assume he was bound elsewhere until HFC announced his arrival on Boxing Day. Wonder what happened in that 9-day gap?
George Forsyth lives in Dudley, presumably very close to fellow Dudley resident James McQuilkin and just a short drive away from fellow Wolves lover Dan Jones. He has team-mate neighbours, is already familiar with most of the HFC squad and looked the part on his debut. Omens are positive that George can prove he’s not only bigger than his Dad and a better baller too?
Pic courtesy of Steve Niblett