Paul Lake learns of war-hero great uncle by watching MOTD2

Paul Lake
Lake played 134 games for City and was club captain at the time of his injury

Match of the Day 2 is probably the last place you'd expect to learn about your family tree.

But for former Manchester City captain Paul Lake, the 9 November edition turned into an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Lake, 46, discovered he had a footballing great uncle who died in World War One by watching the highlights show on Remembrance Sunday.

George Andrew Lake was among a roll call of players who died in action during the Great War broadcast at the end of the programme.

Paul Lake was watching with his wife Jo, who asked him if he had any footballing ancestry.

Lake thought not but Jo decided to do some online research, which eventually led to confirmation that he is related to George Lake, who played once for Chelsea in 1913-14.

"This has come as a huge surprise to me and my siblings," said Lake, who now works for the Premier League as club support manager.

The midfielder, whose career was cut short by a horrific cruciate ligament injury suffered in 1990, explained in a blog postexternal-link that, after discovering that George Lake played for Chelsea, his wife contacted the club's historian Rick Glanvill.

Paul Lake and Ian Bishop
Lake (left) and Ian Bishop were part of the Manchester City side that beat Manchester United 5-1 in 1989

Glanvill told her that George Lake joined Chelsea from Manchester Cityexternal-link after living in the Manchester districts of Ardwick and Clayton. He gave Paul access to a private family tree, which confirmed that George Lake was the older brother of Paul's paternal grandfather, Harold.

George Lake, born in 1889, was conscripted to the forces in 1915, taking up duties as an army cyclist, but was killed in November 1918 after a battle at the Sambre-Oise Canal in France - which also claimed the life of poet Wilfred Owen - days before the Armistice.

Lake said: "We're not sure why George's story wasn't passed down through the generations - my dad died in 1997 but never mentioned his uncle - but we have since learned that his grave is in Frasnoy, Normandy, and we understand that his name is on a war memorial in Clayton, not far from the Etihad Stadium."

Fittingly, Lake visited Ypres in Belgium at the weekend for the Premier League's 'Truce' football tournament, which commemorated the war by inviting youth teams from across Europe to play against each other and to learn about the conflict.

"For me, hearing about the experiences that our 'Tommies' - including great uncle George - endured in the Great War has been hugely emotional," added Lake.

"I'm looking forward to learning more about my brave ancestor."