George Anderson
Manager Profile

Manager Details

  • Full Name: George Albert Anderson
  • Born: June 6th, 1887 (Haydon Bridge, England)
  • Died: June 28th, 1956 (Dundee)
  • Former Player: George Anderson
  • First Appointed: May 5th, 1944


Managerial History


May 5th, 1944 to Jul 19th, 1954

Most Appearances Top Scorers
1. Gerry Follon - 267
2. Alfie Boyd - 235
3. Doug Cowie - 227
4. Tommy Gallacher - 202
5. George Hill - 173
6. Johnny Pattillo - 172
7. Jack Cowan - 149
8. Ally Gunn - 137
9. Billy Steel - 131
10. Ernie Ewen - 122
1. Ernie Ewen - 68
2. Johnny Pattillo - 67
3. Albert Juliussen - 52
4. Bobby Flavell - 51
5. Billy Steel - 45
6. Alex Stott - 43
7. Ronnie Turnbull - 40
8. Ally Gunn - 32
9. Alfie Boyd - 27
10. Syd Gerrie - 26

First Match In Charge
Aug 10th, 1946 6 - 2 vs. East Fife, League (B Division)

Last Match In Charge
Apr 17th, 1954 6 - 0 vs. Partick Thistle, League (A Division)

Total Players Used:
62

Biggest Win(s)
Mar 22nd, 1947 10 - 0 vs. Dunfermline Athletic, League (B Division)
Mar 8th, 1947 10 - 0 vs. Alloa Athletic, League (B Division)

Heaviest Defeat(s)
Dec 13th, 1952 0 - 5 vs. Celtic, League (A Division)
Mar 12th, 1949 1 - 6 vs. St Mirren, League (A Division)

Overall Record

Games Won Drawn Lost For Against
321 162 63 96 671 466
(50.5%) (19.6%) (29.9%) 2.09 pg 1.45 pg

At Home

Games Won Drawn Lost For Against
160 106 27 27 394 165
(66.3%) (16.9%) (16.9%) 2.46 pg 1.03 pg

Biography

Once conscription was introduced during the First World War in 1916, clubs often struggled to field eleven players and were allowed to use guest players. League football during The Great War was still considered official by the authorities who were keen for football to continue as normal as possible and allowed clubs to use guest players for the first time. Goalkeeper George Anderson was one of those guest players who joined Dundee in 1917 but it is his time as manager after the end of the Second World War for which he is remembered at Dens when he led The Dark Blues to unprecedented success.

“If you want to be big, think big,” was Dundee managing/director’s philosophy during his ten years in charge at Dens from 1944 to 1954. He certainly practised what he preached when he brought The Dee their first silverware in four decades, broke the world record transfer fee and brought Dundee within a whisker of being Champions of Scotland. His post-World War time in charge was the most successful era in The Dark Blues’ history and George Albert Anderson deserves his place amongst the Dundee greats.

Anderson’s first encounter with Dundee came however as player during the First World War when as a guest from his parent club Aberdeen played in goal during the 1917/18 season. At the end of the previous year Dundee and Aberdeen had been asked to drop out of the Scottish League Division One until the end of the war to reduce travelling costs and while the Dark Blues went into the Scottish League Eastern Division, Aberdeen went into abeyance, so Dundee invited their goalkeeper George Anderson to join them as a guest.

Anderson was serving with the Royal Artillery so being based in Dundee suited his military career and he made his debut for The Dee at home in the league to East Fife on October 20th 1917.

Anderson joined Aberdeen from Sunderland in May 1914 and had established himself a reputation as a fine goalkeeper who could pull off ‘clever’ saves that often kept his team in matches or ensured that they did not lose as often as the struggling side might have done.

At Dens he was an ever present for the rest of the season and he was part of the successful Dark Blues side which won the Scottish League Eastern Division championship and won every cup competition they entered – the Penman Cup, the Loftus Cup and the Eastern League Cup.

He missed the opening day derby against Dundee Hibernian in the first ever league derby between the clubs and in front of 4,000 war-weary fans at Dens, Dundee ran out comfortable 5-1 winners with two goals from Tommy Taylor and goals from Sid Lamb, Frank Murray and Jim Heron.

With only seven clubs in the league, teams were to play each other four times to make a 24-game competition and the Dundee public only had to wait four weeks for the first return derby at Tannadice. Anderson had yet to join the Club and again Dundee were the victors, this time by two goals to nil with Nairn and Lamb on the score sheet though Hibernian got their revenge in January with a 2-1 win at Dens with Anderson in the goal.

The final league derby of the season came at Tannadice in February and The Dee recorded a vital 2-1 win on the way to winning the title.

Going into the last game of the season against Cowdenbeath at Dens on April 6th, Dundee were in second place, two points behind the Central Park side who therefore only needed a draw to clinch the title. Dundee however won 2-0 thanks to a brace from Tommy Taylor (who scored 28 goals that season) and The Dee snatched their first ever league championship.

As a player Anderson picked up four winners’ medals as Dundee won not only the 1917/18 Scottish League Eastern Division but also all the three cup competitions that they entered. With only 24 league games and no Scottish or Forfarshire Cups until after the war, Dundee looked for other cup competitions to fill their fixture list and entered the Loftus Cup, the Penman Cup and the Eastern Cup, winning all three.

The Loftus Cup came into existence in November 1911 following a proposal from the Dundee Hibernian secretary Pat Reilly. Born in Ireland, Reilly came to Dundee as a child and at eighteen opened a cycle shop which was followed by others in Perth, Leith and Edinburgh. The connection with Edinburgh persuaded him that a football club for Irishmen in Dundee could be successful and he helped found Dundee Hibernian in 1909.

A trophy for the Loftus Cup was donated by a Mr. David Wallace but, as the organising committee wasn't in favour of it being named after him, the title of his residence, was used instead. Wallace was a Dundee baker who lived at Loftus House in Broughty Ferry and The Loftus Tea Rooms were located at the bottom of the gardens adjacent to the house. David Wallace though is best known for his ‘Wallace Peh’, the legendary Dundee scotch pie.

Dundee entered the Loftus Cup for the first time in 1917 and after defeating Dundee Hibernian 3-2 on aggregate (1-1 at Tannadice and 2-1 at Dens) Dundee lifted the trophy after a club record 11-2 win over Dunfermline. Dundee only entered the Loftus Cup once more in 1931 by which time it had been renamed the Wallace Cup and defeated Dundee United 4-1 in the final at Dens, eight years after Hibernian had changed their name to United.

The Penman Cup was inaugurated in 1905 at the behest of the secretary of the new Cowdenbeath FC who wanted a cup competition to provide stimulus towards the end of the season. Clubs were invited from Fife, Stirlingshire, Clackmannan, Linlithgowshire, Forfarshire and Edinburgh but Dundee didn’t take part until 1918 when they beat Armadale 3-0 in the semi at Dens.

In the final at Dens on April 20th Dundee met Dundee Hibernian for the seventh time that season and lifted the trophy after a 2-0 win at Dens thanks to goals from John Moyes and Bill Nairn.

Seven days later Dundee met Hibernian again at Dens, this time in the Eastern Cup Final and the final match of the season would end 2-2. The Eastern Cup was the League Cup competition for the division and after East Fife had scratched to Dundee in the semi, the local rivals decided to share the trophy rather than play any extra time, toss a coin or replay.

In the all conquering season Anderson played 24 times for The Dee, keeping eight clean sheets but when Dundee themselves went into abeyance at the end of the season, Anderson returned to Aberdeen at the end of the war. He stayed with The Dons until the end of the 1921/22 season and in six years at Pittodrie, played 213 times. He was awarded with a benefit match from Aberdeen and once again Dundee featured in his playing career when they provided the opposition on September 1st 1920 which The Dee won 3-2 at Pittodrie in front of a crowd of 3,000.

By the start of the second global conflict in 1939, Anderson was a director at Pittodrie and was made team manager when the Dons manager, former Dundee striker Davie Halliday went off to war. Anderson enjoyed his caretaker position immensely but as it was being held open for Halliday’s return, Anderson made a move for the position at Dens which had been left vacant when Dundee closed for the war in 1940.

Anderson had retained his affection for the Club from his time as a Great War guest player and so when Dundee returned in 1944 to play in the North Eastern Football League it was ‘old boy’ George Anderson who was in charge. Dundee joined Southern League B Division the following year having been relegated on the eve of war and he led his troops to two league titles in his first two years. With both seasons being deemed unofficial Dundee needed to win the ‘B’ Division when the Scottish League resumed to get promotion and when they did so again in 1946/47 to return the top tier, Anderson was the toast of the city with a hat-trick of league titles and the Dark Blues back in the big time.

Known affectionately by the players as ‘Toffee Dod’ because of the confectionary business he owned in Aberdeen, Anderson showed himself to be a forward planner and a progressive football thinker. He had constantly been gearing Dundee for life in the top flight and had been signing players with the ‘A’ Division in mind.

Anderson was a master of man-management and popular with the players with his emphasis on ball-work in training. He excelled in public relations and attempted to raise the profile of the Club. He also had an eye for talent and had constructed a skilful attractive side in a relatively short space of time; so much so that they were ready for an assault on Scotland’s elite.

Anderson still lived in Aberdeen where he was a town councillor as well as running his confectionary business. He travelled down to Dundee twice a week and the day-to-day training was left to assistants Willie Cameron and Andy McCall and then later Rueben Bennett and Reggie Smith but the bowler-hatted, larger-than-life Anderson had the full support and respect of the players, despite his infrequent visits to Dens.

Anderson would tell the players to “to go out and enjoy themselves” and he liked to encourage attractive football and in Dundee’s first season back in the top flight was rewarded with a fourth place finish; their highest placing for twenty-six years.

Anderson was keen for a tilt at the top prize and the following season he led Dundee to the semi-finals of both the Scottish and League Cups and to runners-up in the ‘A’ Division in 1949 and was desperately unlucky not to win it after a last day defeat.

In just five short years, Anderson had taken Dundee from Division Two also-rans to championship contenders but the fact was that there were still no major trophies in the Dens Park trophy cabinet. In an effort to win some silverware therefore Anderson managed one of the greatest signings in the Club’s history when he splashed out a world record fee for Scottish superstar Billy Steel, having fought off stiff competition from Rangers for his signature. The fee was £23,500; extraordinary for a provincial club like Dundee to pay such an incredible fee and Anderson’s philosophy of ‘think big’ was repaid when silverware was soon on its way to Dens.

Anderson, who liked to watch the game from the directors’ box, led Dundee to their first ever League Cup win over Rangers in October 1951 and repeated that feat twelve months later with victory over Kilmarnock at Hampden. In between times Dundee appeared in the Scottish Cup Final and Anderson had finally turned Dundee into a trophy-winning, Scottish football force.

The 1951 Final against Rangers was one of the most exciting games ever seen at the National Stadium with Alfie Boyd heading a last minute winner to give Dundee a 3-2 win. At the final whistle Anderson raced down form the directors’ box and onto the pitch to shake the hand of every one of his players and is pictured with a huge smile on his face when skipper Alfie Boyd lifted the cup.

He missed the final against Killie the following year in which two late Bobby Flavell goals gave Dundee a 2-0 win. He had been taken ill with pleurisy shortly before the semi-final win over reigning league champions Hibernian and listened to both games on the wireless in an Aberdeen nursing home. Just two years later Anderson had to resign his post of manager due to ill health, retaining his seat on the board and left as Dundee’s oldest serving manager at the age of sixty-seven.

His departure marked the end of the Dark Blues’ post-war golden age but Anderson had done much to lay the foundations of Dundee Football Club as a prominent force in Scottish football. He has won more trophies than any other manager since Dundee’s formation and he saw his dream of a successful club come true. In 2003 he was listed in the top fifty Scottish managers of all time by The Sunday Herald and raised the profile and the stature of Dundee Football Club. Anderson’s legacy was set and the foundations were in place for the Dark Blues to move to the next level within the next decade.

In 2013 it was fitting that Anderson’s achievements were recognised on the Sixtieth Anniversary of leading the Dark Blues to becoming the first club to win back-to-back League Cups when he was inducted into the Dundee FC Hall of Fame with the Heritage Award and his proud granddaughter from Aberdeen received the award on his behalf.


Players Signed

New Players Transferred In
Player Date Signed Fee
1. Bobby Ancell Jul 20th, 1944 £150
2. Ernie Ewen Aug 12th, 1944
3. Tommy Gray Aug 12th, 1944
4. Alexander Stirling Aug 4th, 1945
5. Albert Juliussen Aug 11th, 1945 £3,000
6. Doug Cowie Sep 6th, 1945
7. Tommy Gallacher Nov 0th, 1945
8. Johnny Pattillo £1,000
9. Reggie Smith Mar 0th, 1946
10. Jimmy Toner Jul 24th, 1946
11. Alfie Boyd Jan 29th, 1947 £4,000
12. Alex Stott May 21st, 1947
13. Jimmy Steadward Oct 0th, 1947
14. Jack Cowan Jul 20th, 1949
15. Bill Brown Sep 9th, 1949
16. Gordon Frew
17. Danny Malloy Jan 15th, 1950
18. Stan Williams Aug 30th, 1950
19. Billy Steel Sep 21st, 1950 £23,500
20. Bobby Flavell
21. Bobby Henderson May 12th, 1951
22. George Merchant Jul 14th, 1951
23. Albert Henderson Nov 20th, 1951
24. Davie Gray

Youth Players Signed on Professional Terms
Player Pro Terms Signed
1. Dave Easson Aug 19th, 1952
First Signing

Bobby Ancell
on Jul 20th, 1944