George Toone – Like Father Like Son

One a goalkeeper, the other a wing-half, both having played in the early days of association football, and both went by the surname of Toone; a father and son pairing who were born in the fair city of Nottingham, in the latter years of the 1800s.

In fact, both were called George Toone, one Snr, the other Jnr, and both had spells at Notts County, although the latter’s was a little brief before he went on to find success down south, at Watford, father Toone however, he’d enjoy two spells as the custodian at his hometown club, racking up over 260 appearances between 1889 and 1899.

Toone Snr, he was born in the summer of 1868 and, by his early twenties, and having played for both Nottingham Jardines and Notts Rangers, in the region’s amateur scene, was to become County’s number one, the club having sprung into existence a few decades earlier, tasting some success along the way.

Throughout his time at the club he’d help them to a league runners-up spot in 1895, ensuring a pot in what was then, the end-of-season test matches (the bottom three clubs in the First Division and top three clubs in the Second Division would face-off in a series of matches, losing Second Division sides remaining) – County lost their first attempt, 2-1 at Filbert Street, against Derby County, on 27 April 1895.

Two years later and the club were back in the end-of-season play-offs, this time as champions of the Second Division, and succeeded in the lottery of games following a 1-0 aggregate win over Sunderland, and a 2-1 aggregate over Burnley, County, alongside Sunderland being elected to First Division status for the following campaign.

Prior to the success of County’s in the league, there was of course, the FA Cup as well, Toone Snr helping them to a runners-up spot in the 1891 final, losing 3-1 against Blackburn Rovers at the Kensington Oval, London.

County’s run to the 1891 final saw them defeat Sheffield United (9-1, away, first round), Burnley (2-1, home, second round), Stoke (1-0, home, third round), and Sunderland (2-0, away, replay following a 3-3 draw, semi-final).

Three years later and County were back in the English showpiece, this time at Goodison Park, Liverpool, Toone featuring this time in a 4-1 win over Bolton Wanderers, James Logan bagging a hat-trick for the victors.

Their route to the final this time around would see them defeat Burnley (1-0, home, first round), Burton Wanderers (2-1, away, second round), a local dust-up with neighbours Nottingham Forest (4-1, home, following a 1-1 draw, third round), before exacting some form of revenge on Blackburn Rovers (1-0, home, semi-final).

Despite his tenure with County however, Toone Snr would only make two appearances his country, turning out for England in the Home Championship matches against Wales (March 1892), and Scotland (April 1892), winning 2-0 and 4-1 respectively; he was 23-years-old at the time.

Having racked up over 260 as custodian for County, Toone Snr found himself moving to Wiltshire in 1899, spending the next two seasons, during what was a transitional period for Bedminster to Bristol City (1899-1901), ahead of finishing his career, back at County, during the 1901-02 season, his career finishing at the age of 34 years.

When Toone Snr was 25-years-old, his son, George Jnr, was born in Nottingham in the September 1893, he going on to become an amateur footballer initially, between 1909 and 1913, at Northvale, Sneinton Institute (twice) and Sherwood, before signing with Notts County during the 1913-14 campaign (the club being promoted as champions that season), playing for Mansfield Mechanics the following season.

In the early 1920s, Toone Jnr moved south, to Watford (1919-24), making near 200 appearances, primarily at wing-half, during his five seasons, finishing as high as seventh (Division Three South) during the 1921-22 season; for three, consecutive campaigns, Toone Jnr made 42 appearances in 1920-21. 1921-22, and 1922-23, his debut being the 3-2 home win over Northampton Town (September 1919).

A season in the old Division Two followed after a move to Sheffield Wednesday, in 19224-25, before finishing his career with spells at Ilkeston United and Scarborough Penguins

Toone Jnr passed away in 1950, in his mid-fifties, the father-and-son pairing covering near half a century of football in the early days of the sport, and in doing so, etching their name, firmly, into Nottingham’s sporting history.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @Official_NCFC George Toone Snr (centre) was a cup winner with Notts County.

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