December 4, 2005 by

George Best


Categories: Sports

gbest.jpgIrish soccer legend George Best died on Nov. 25 of multiple organ failure. He was 59.
Beloved by millions of fans, the mercurial footballer was widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players ever to play the game. He was often compared to Pele of Brazil, Johan Cruyff of the Netherlands and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany, and described as agile, strong, intuitive and resilient.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Best attended Grosvenor High School and Lisnasharragh Intermediate School, but was more interested in playing soccer than hitting the books. He had just qualified to become a printer’s apprentice when Manchester United scout Bob Bishop discovered him playing for the Cregagh Boys Club. Best was invited to a two-week trial with the Old Trafford Club, and ended up turning professional on his 17th birthday.
When Best made his debut with United in 1963, the press immediately noted his natural talent. Two years later, the outstanding goal scorer helped United win the First Division title. The team reached the semi-finals of the European Cup the following year and took the League title again in 1967. In 1968, United won the European Cup, European soccer’s most coveted prize. Best was also named European Footballer of the Year and the Football Writers’ Player of the Year.
Best scored 180 goals in his 465 appearances with United, including six in a single match, before falling out of favor with the coaching staff. Although he made several short-lived comebacks, Best was never able to recapture his former glory. He briefly played for 11 different teams, including three American organizations, then retired in 1983. Best later eked out a sporadic career as a television pundit and author.
Off the field, however, he stayed in the headlines for his less-than-stellar behavior. His playboy lifestyle, unsuccessful business ventures, bankruptcy and imprisonment for drunk driving all became fodder for the British tabloids. A lifelong alcoholic, Best also caused a controversy when he received a liver transplant in 2002. More susceptible to infection after the operation, he suffered from ill health in the final years of his life.
Best’s funeral was held on Dec. 3 in Belfast. Tens of thousands of mourners lined the streets to bid farewell.

3 Responses to George Best

  1. Mary Byrne

    I can well remember George’s glory days and how proud we Norn Ironers were to have the Best (in every sense) footballer hail from our part of the world. George, like Alex Higgins and Van Morrison (working class protestants all) are our Belfast Boys made good, our fellow countrymen who transcended all sectarian barriers and made us all proud of their achievements.

  2. linda galezzie

    george will always be in my heart he is safe and at peace now with his beloved mother and the boss.the world has lost a much loved human being with a loving was a beautiful man who played the beautiful game.goodnight and god bless you i will always love you my beautiful belfast boy,GEORGIE!!!!!!!XXXXXXXXXX

  3. Scot

    I sadly didn’t get to see the greatest guy to ever grace our sport play live – but I pray that he’s back under Sir Matt’s loving wing now. God bless Georgie – I’ll never forget you. Sleep tight. All my love – Scot.

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