Earlier this week ‘Mr Consistent’ George Pilkington announced his retirement from professional football after a long career of playing.
George Edward Pilkington started his professional career at just 19 years of age, signing with Everton. He then moved on to Exeter City on loan and then signed for Port Vale in 2003, playing in over 200 games and scoring 11 goals, not bad for a defender. 2008 led him to Luton Town, establishing himself as one of the team’s best players and most consistent defenders. He also scored 11 goals in his time there in just under 150 senior appearances. The 5ft 11 centre back had loan moves with Forest Green Rovers and Mansfield Town, but failed to make much of an impact. In 2014 he joined Macclesfield Town on loan and later on in the year signed permanently. The next four years gave us one of the club’s most consistent and hardworking players in living memory.
Every Silkmen fan had a sigh of relief seeing Mr Pilkington on the team sheet every week. He was our Sergio Ramos and we didn’t feel safe without his presence on the pitch. He partnered with numerous players in his four year Silkmen stint; from Neill Byrne to Keith Lowe, his ability to work alongside anyone was a terrific attribute to have. It’s fair to say that without George commanding our back line things would be very different for us at the moment. The Silkmen conceded just 46 goals last season, which proved vital in our feat to return to The Football League. Without Pilkington last season it’s very unlikely that we would have done the unthinkable and won the title. His unquestionable professionalism and his determination to make sure nothing got past his back line was what made him a trademark Silkman and someone we never ever wanted to see hang up his boots. It’s not just the fans who rate him, George picked up the ‘Players Player of the Year award’ three years in a row from 2015 to 2017. Something believed to have never happened before in Macclesfield’s history.
He was also present in the National League ‘Team of the Week’ numerous times, and obviously became a target for other clubs around us and above us due to his skill level and experience. George showed loyalty when Macclesfield fans were used to seeing their best players walk out when more money from a bigger club came calling, George knew Macclesfield appreciated him and his relationship with John Askey proved a great importance. From getting us to Wembley a year ago to helping us win the National League title in the Spring, it’s fair to say George Pilkington has had his fair share of memorable moments whilst commanding the 18 yard box in a blue and white shirt.
If you ask anyone associated with Macclesfield to name an all-time greatest Macclesfield Town squad, many would choose ‘Pilks’ right away without hesitation. His loyalty and incredible football brain has led Macclesfield to two of its most successful years in the clubs history. We are back in the Football League against all the odds and George Pilkington is one of the reasons why. George retires a champion.
We wish him all the best for his coaching role with John Askey at Shrewsbury Town.