George Camsell was born in Framwellgate Moor on 27th November 1902. He played local football for Esh Winning and Tow Law Town before joining Durham City in 1924. a team that played in the Third Division at the time.
Camsell, a centre-forward, scored 20 goals in 21 games during the 1924-25 season. This was impressive form and on 6th October, 1925, he was transferred to then Second Division Middlesbrough for a sum of £500.
In his first full season Camsell scored a record 59 league goals (a record a the time). Middlesbrough won the Second Division championship and were promoted to the First Division.
Supporters were concerned that Camsell would not be able to produce the same goal-scoring form in the Top Flight.
In the second game of the season, Boro played Everton. This put him up against the division’s best striker, Dixie Dean. Camsell came out on top and scored all four goals in Middlesbrough’s 4-2 victory. However, it was Dean who went on that year to beat Camsell’s record by scoring 60 goals that season —A hat-trick on the final day of the season sealing it for Dean. Everton won the championship and Middlesbrough were relegated.
Camsell was in great form in the 1928-29 season and once again Middlesbrough were Second Division champions. That season Camsell also managed to replace Dixie Dean in the England team. His first international cap was against France on 9th May 1929. Camsell scored two goals on his debut. Two days later he scored four against Belgium. Later that year he scored two against Ireland and three against Wales.
Camsell did not play for his country again until 1933. He scored two goals in England’s 4-1 victory over France. He was called up again in 1935 and against Germany he scored two of the goals in a 3-0 win. He also scored in all three of his international games in 1936. Despite scoring in every game he played for his country, a game against Belgium marked the end of his international career. He had the tremendous record of scoring 18 goals in nine games. Camsell could have won more caps but for the FA leaving FIFA in 1928 and not rejoining until 1946.
In the 1938-39 season Camsell developed a good partnership with the team’s young inside-right, Wilf Mannion. That season Middlesbrough scored 93 goals and finished in 4th place in the First Division.
The following season Boro were favourites to be Champions of England but the outbreak of the Second World War scuppered those dreams and brought an end to Camsell’s football career. He had scored 325 goals in 419 games for Middlesbrough.
After the war Camsell worked as Middlesbrough’s coach and chief scout, discovering another great Boro goalscoring forward in Brian Clough.
Camsell finished as Boro’s assistant secretary before retiring in December 1963. He died in 1966, aged 63, shortly before that year’s World Cup. A suite at The Riverside Stadium is named after him and in 2015, calls began for a statue of Camsell to be placed outside the stadium, joining those of George Hardwick and Wilf Mannion.
A club spokesman said that such an honour could not be ruled out, adding: “As a club we honour and respect our former heroes and George Camsell is certainly one of those.”
A statue of George Camsell was subsequently erected outside the stadium, which will be unveiled to the public on 2 September 2022. It will be in front of the West Stand entrance.