To be described as “one of the best servants of Dundee United” is, indeed, a great accolade.
Even more so when you consider some of the brilliant players and World Cup stars who have worn the tangerine at Tannadice.
And for Jim McLean to utter those words, then you have to consider this footballer was something special.
Over the last few months, I’ve been sharing some of the information unearthed when perusing through our cuttings files.
A cutting, dated May 10, 1980, and under the heading ‘Fleming Could Be A Bargain Buy’, read:
St Johnstone, as expected, last night signed Dundee United midfield man George Fleming for a fee of around £8,000, roughly £1,000 more than Dundee United paid Hearts for his services eight years ago.
At that price, Alex Rennie has got himself a bargain in persuading his old United team-mate and Monifieth golfing partner to step down a division and join up with him at Perth.
Dundee United manager Jim McLean is very sorry to see Fleming depart the Tannadice scene.
“He was one of the best servants of Dundee United since I have been manager here,” the United boss admitted just before the transfer was completed in Perth.
“The only reason we are allowing him to go is because we have to make room in the team for younger players.
“He was my fourth signing for the club.
“The first was Dave Narey on an ‘S’ form and the others were Archie Knox and Pat Gardiner.
“I am sure George will do a useful job for his new club.
“His experience on the field will be beneficial to the Perth side and to their hope of winning promotion to the Premier League.”
Edinburgh-born George made over 130 league appearances for Hearts between 1966 and 1972 and signed up at Tannadice in 1972.
His eight-year tenure at Tannadice saw him make well over 250 appearances in tangerine, and he was part of the 1979 squad which won the League Cup at Dens Park.
He turned out nearly 100 times for St Johnstone in a three-year spell, and had a spell as manager of Arbroath in the mid-1980s.
George (below) still lives locally in Broughty Ferry.