Thanks condor it must of been a great experience, memories will never fade as i believe he is with us in spirit.
Full Name George Best
Date of Birth 22nd May 1946
Place of Birth Belfast
Height 5ft 8
United debut 14/9/1963
vs WBA (H)
Best's United Record 1963-1974
League 361 137
FA Cup 46 21
League Cup 25 9
Europe 34 11
Other games 4 1
Total 470 179
Best's International Record
37 Caps for N Ireland - 9 Goals
Honours with United
1968 European Cup
1968 European Footballer of the Year
1967 1st Div League Championship
1965 1st Div League Championship
For/to me and many others George Best (RIP) is perhaps the most naturally talented footballer ever to walk on the face of the planet. A genius, magician, legend, Best(RIP) was simply the complete player. Pele, Cruyff, Maradona - all were superb but Best(RIP) had a bit of each in his game and more.
He could beat opponents with skill and dazzling tricks, swerving through defences like a skier on a slathom course, or go past them with a burst of devastating speed. For him, gravity was something that affected other people, Bestie (RIP) seemed to zip across the pitch with the ball tied to his foot.
He could shoot brilliantly with either foot and out-jump much taller opponents to win the ball in the air. Imbued with the confidence and arrogance to try absolutely anything, Best(RIP) would often make a fool of some of the games greatest players.
Despite his slight frame, he had tremendous physical strength and resilience, along with an almost unnatural elasticity of limb and torso. George(RIP) was strong enough to take the knocks and abuse from the less talented players who would try to hack him out of the game. In an age where players did not receive protection from referees and the so called "hard-men" played the game, Best(RIP) took it all on the chin and triumphed regardless. When he tried one trick too many and lost the ball he would fight twice as hard to get it back.
Playing as a winger and sometimes striker, he would inspire his team and bring a crowd, home or away, to its feet. The man from Belfast was born with a wonderful gift, however with this gift came the penalty of a wild destructive streak that would always cast a shadow on his career.
The Genius From Belfast
It was obvious to Sir Matt Busby from the outset that the skinny 16 year old from East Belfast's Cregagh Estate was something extra-special. United's Northern Ireland scout Bob Bishop famously sent a telegram Busby that read: "I believe I've found you a genius."
Best made his league debut for United in 1963 aged 17 and won an international cap before he turned 18. It wasn't long before he was a household name throughout Britain. George was perhaps the most important member of the great United team which won the League Championship twice in the 1960's.
By 1966, George Best superstar had arrived, especially after his magnificent performance in United's 5-1 thrashing of Benfica in Lisbon where he scored twice. Stepping off the plane the Portuguese press dubbed him "El Beatle".
The Peak At 22 years Old
After five years of playing breathtaking football his place in history was secured in 1968 - United became the first English team to win the European Cup and Best scored a superb solo goal in the final against Benfica. He later claimed that having beaten round the Benfica keeper he wanted to take the ball up to the line stop it, lie down on the ground and head the ball over the line. Only a truly special sort of player would even have considered such an outrageous act in a game of such importance.
In 1968 he was at his peak at only 22 years of age. That year he also deservedly won both the English and European Footballer of the Year awards. He was also the club's top scorer that year with 28 goals, and for the following four seasons. In 1970 he scored six goals in an 8-2 win over Northampton in the FA Cup, the most goals ever scored in a single match by any United player.
Bestie goals captured on television, such as the dazzling runs against Sheffield United, Chelsea, West Ham and the delicate lob against Spurs have become all-time classics. And who knows what other gems he scored in an age before blanket television coverage, great goals that now live on only in the memories of those lucky to have been there at the time.
The First Pop Star Footballer
Nicknamed "the fifth Beatle", he was one of the most famous stars in Britain during the 1960s. Best was the first pop-star footballer, a personification of youth culture and the swinging sixties.
He had the good looks, the style and the girls went mad for him with Best getting 10,000 fan letters a week. This had never happened to a footballer before. Sadly it was this pop star image that proved his eventual downfall, for he began to live the lifestyle of a pop star, and not a footballer.
Best himself once said, "If I'd been ugly, you'd never have heard of Pele". The alcohol, women and wild nights spent partying would ultimately shorten his career and lead to severe health problems later on.
As he became a casualty of intense media attention, George could not concentrate on football without being hounded everywhere by paparazzi. He opened a night club and a number of fashion boutiques which were not a success, while a string of famous actress/model girlfriend's meant he was under incredible media scrutiny.
Once Sir Matt retired in 1969 it was downhill for the Ulsterman as he became increasingly rebellious and erratic. Busby's successors, Frank O'Farrell and Tommy Docherty lacked his fatherly influence on Best. The United team was in decline and Best found it hard to take.
Seeing United beaten by teams they used to hammer a few years ago was painful and his love for football slowly diminished. He took solace in the bottle with drinking and partying taking over his entire life. He was now frequently missing training and failing to turn up for games.
In 1972 he announced his retirement at only 26 but was persuaded back by Docherty. The comeback was not a success and George left United for good on New Years Day 1974, his final game against QPR.
Post United Years
He then played for numerous other clubs, most notably Fulham (76-77) with the outlandish ex Manchester City star, Rodney Marsh. Then there was Stockport County, Hibernian and USA soccer teams L.A. Aztecs (1976-78) Fort Lauderdale Strikers (78-79) and San Jose Earthquakes (80-81). Even though not as fit as in his prime, the incredible skills were still apparent, no one could ever take that away from him.
George finally ended his football career with Bournemouth in 1983, although went on to play in many charity and friendly matches. In the 1990's he established himself as a successful sports commentator with Sky Sports and after dinner speaker. Though playing for many clubs, it was still clear that Manchester United were the only team that truly remained close to Best's heart - he was a red through and through.
In 2000 Best's health reached rock bottom due to liver damage caused by his years of alcoholism. However, in July 2002 he had a successful liver transplant operation and made a full recovery. Personal problems continued to hound him as he divorced for a second time and was unable to beat the bottle.
On 1st October, 2005, George entered the Cromwell hospital with flu-like symptoms, later suffering a kidney infection. He was susceptible to infection because of medicines needed after the liver transplant and his condition deteriorated sharply in the next month when it spread to his lungs.
Ironcially his death was played out much the same way as his life, in a blaze of media coverage. Though he fought on for far longer than doctors ever expected, on 25th November, George Best lost his battle for life. In Belfast, Manchester and around the world, the whole of football was in mourning at the death of a legend.
A week later on 3rd December, the Belfast Boy came home to his native city for the final time. 100,000 people lined the streets and grounds of Stormont for the funeral of Northern Ireland's greatest sporting hero.
There are many regrets for Best, such as ending his career early and never displaying his phenomenal skills in the World Cup Finals. However, when you look at the positive things he brought to British football, the moments of sheer breath-taking excitement, the glory of 1968, the lifestyle he led, George Best has lived more than most of us ever will.
Let us also not forget he played for ten seasons at United - Eric Cantona spent only five and few modern day players will have a career as long in the red shirt. George Best's life on the surface is the classic story of the wayward genius who had it all and supposedly threw it all away.
However, pundits tend to overlook that it was this wild self-destructive streak that made him the player he was. Genius often goes hand in hand with some sort of eccentric quality, a quality that gives that creative spark others do not possess.
Just a month before his death he said "People will remember me for my football" and that is ultimately what will last the test of time. George Best will live on as a football icon forever. Blessed with unbelievable skill, he was a genius the like of which may never come again. A player that took the game to a different level, a level which mere footballing mortals can only gaze up at, in wonder, awe and sheer exhilaration.
George Best (RIP) Trivia
George lived in a house on Burren Way in the Cregagh Estate. A special plaque He was the eldest child of Dickie and Anne, Best was brother to Carol, Barbara, Julie, Grace and Ian.
He supported Wolverhampton Wanderers as a boy.
Best and fellow Ulsterman Eric McMordie were both offered trials by United. Best was offered a contract but McMordie returned home. He eventually played for Middlesbrough and Northern Ireland.
George "worked" for the Manchester Ship Canal Company as a clerk, because technically United were not allowed to sign him until he reached 17.
George opened two nightclubs in Manchester, in the late 1960s. One was named 'Oscar's' the other one called Slack Alice's. George also owned Fashion Boutique's, in partnership with Mike Summerbee of Manchester City.
In 1969 he built a futuristic house in near Bramhall, Cheshire, at a cost of £30,000. The modernist split-level design was encased in glass with a flat roof and had all the latest hi-tec gadgets. He suffered fans continually besieging the house and eventually sold it after only three years.
In 1971 playing for Northern Ireland, he famously kicked the ball out of Gordon Banks hands during a goal kick and put the ball in the net only for the referee to disallow it. Two weeks later he tried it again against Pat Jennings and the goal was given.
In 2001 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Queen's University, Belfast and in 2002 he was made a Freeman of the Borough of Castlereagh (a local council in Belfast).
Best is buried at Roselawn cemetery beside his mother's grave, in the Castlereagh Hills just outside Belfast.
There are several street murals in Belfast depicting Best in his playing days. There is also a statue planned at Belfast City Hall and possibly the new Northern Ireland stadium will be named after him.
Belfast City Airport was renamed "George Best Belfast City Airport" in his honour on 22nd May 2006.
George Best features on the back of 1 million limited edition banknotes from the Northern Ireland based Ulster Bank released in November 2006.
Best quote: "I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered"
Best quote: "I went missing quite alot...... Miss England, Miss Wales, Miss world....."
Best quote: "In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol. It was the worst 20 minutes of my life."
Best quote on why he went to America: "I was driving through London when I saw an advert saying 'Drink Canada dry' "
Best quote on his liver transplant blood transfusion: "I was in for 10 hours and had 40 pints - beating my previous record by 20 minutes."
Best quote: "Pele called me the greatest footballer in the world, that is the ultimate salute to my life."
Best quote: "If I had been born ugly, you would never have heard of Pelé"
Best quote: "When I die I'd like to be remembered as the greatest footballer of all time. When that day comes, they won't talk about the booze, the women, the fast cars. They'll talk about the football"