Stardom at seventeen – here’s the story of Aggborough’s first ever future full England International
By Matty Paddock - 07/01/2017
Posted 4 years ago
Gerry Hitchens is an iconic name in Kidderminster Harriers history – this local lad was the very first player to have the honour of representing England after turning out at Aggborough.
A former pit boy from Highley, forward Hitchens joined Harriers in September 1953. Aggborough had the distinction of staging the Harriers Junior Cup Final that summer and, at the age of just 17, Hitchens’ showing for Highley Minors Welfare on that day proved to be truly defining as the reds went on to snap him up.
His spell at Aggborough was far from being a long and storied one – the teenager spent just a couple of seasons on Hoo Road before his tireless performances and considerable goal-scoring prowess saw him catch the eye of Cardiff City. The Bluebirds paid Harriers £1,500 for his signature in 1955 – then a club record fee.
Hitchens would perform in a similarly spectacular-but-brief fashion for Cardiff over the two years that followed – so much so that Aston Villa shelled out £22,500 to take him to Villa Park. The rest was history, of course – Hitchens would then demolish Villa goal-scoring records, alerting the attention of Italian giants Milan.
Such a fantastic record was always going to gain International recognition and so to some extent it was no surprise when Hitchens was named in the 1962 England squad for the World Cup in Chile.
Domestically, Hitchens would feature for various other clubs in Italy after leaving Milan before returning to his home county and ending his career with Worcester City. Tragically, he died aged just 48 in 1983 after collapsing during a charity football match in Wales.
This article is about: Alumni