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|Name||George Best (Attacking Midfielder)|
|Born On||22nd May, 1946|
|Played For||Clubs: Manchester United|
|Team||Northern Ireland National Team|
|World Cup Played||Never played in any World Cup|
The “Belfast Boy” was one of the most naturally gifted footballers to ever don the famous Manchester United Shirt. Yes, we are talking about George Best, who is considered by fans and Irish football authorities as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He shot to fame after his team won the European Cup title of 1968 and was subsequently bestowed with the honor of European Footballer of the year award and FWA footballer of the year award.
George Best was born on 22nd May 1946 and grew up in Cregagh in East Belfast, Northern Ireland and was the first child of Dickie Best and Anne Best. He was brought up in the Free Presbyterian denomination as a Protestant and his father Dickie Best belonged to the Orange Order institution. As a child, his love for football was spotted early at home by his own parents where his mother once commented that “with George it was always the ball”. He use to play with local boys club in Cregagh where he was spotted by Glentoran, the local football club, but due to his small and light personality, he was rejected.
He won a scholarship at the age of 11 years and went to Grosvenor High, a local grammar school where rugby was the only sport on the prospectus. He began to behave as a truant due to his love for football. As a result, both his parents and the school decided to put him in his old school Lisnasharragh Secondary school where he reunited with his old friends and the ball once again came to his foot. George Best’s football talent was discovered at the age of 15 by Manchester United scout Bob Bishop. He was so captivated that without wasting time he sent a telegram to the Manchester United Manager, Matt Busby that read “I think I’ve found you a genius”. He was then given a trial and subsequently contracted by Manchester United’s chief scout Joe Armstrong and began his professional football career.
He played with Manchester United until 1974 and over the next decade his football career drifted between several clubs in United States, Scotland, South Africa and Australia and eventually went into an incredible decline. He retired at the age of 37 from international football. He was highly criticized for his extravagant lifestyle throughout his career and suffered from alcoholism for most of his adult life. He was diagnosed with severe liver damage in 2000 but went through a successful transplant in the year 2002. He again adopted drinking which became the reason for his death. He was taken to the ICU suffering a kidney infection and eventually died on 25th November 2005 at the age of 59, as a result of multiple organ failure.
SCORE BOARD :
George Best gained immense popularity playing under Manchester United football club. Initially he played as an amateur in the club for a couple of years as English clubs were not allowed to take Irish players. His playing style was a combination of acceleration, pace and two-footed balance. George Best commenced his success saga through a First Division league debut at the age of 17 in the match against West Bromwich Albion in a 1-0 victory. He then went on to become the leading scorer in the respective competition. He then played for the club in the 1963-64 F.C. season and made 26 appearances scoring six goals. He also became the youngest player ever to participate in FA Cup final and was also part of the 1964 FA Youth Cup which his team won.
His team won the European Cup title of 1968 held at Wembley beating Benfica by 4-1 in which he scored a goal. The victory was the zenith of his career as well as the greatest achievement of his club too. Shortly thereafter, Best won the Ballon d’Or award and also became the youngest player to won three major titles at the age of 22 namely; European Cup, the Football F.C league title, and European Player of the Year award. He was part of the team which won the PFA Team of the Year Second Division award in 1977, was part of the FIFA 100 unveiled in 2004, PFA Merit Award, FWA Tribute award and European Hall of Fame in 2008. For Northern Ireland, he was capped 37 times scoring nine international goals from 1964-1977. Before his death, he was also voted to 16th place in the World Player of the century election in 1999 by IFFHS.
EXTRA TIME :
George Best married twice in his life; first to Angie MacDonald-Janes in 1978 and the second time with Alex Pursey in 1995. His first son Calum Best was born in 1981 from his first marriage. He was the owner of nightclubs, several restaurants and fashion boutiques in Manchester. George Best’s good looks and extravagant celebrity lifestyle made him appear in the British music chart television programme Top of the Pops in 1965. He also contested the reality television show “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” in 2005. Best had six autobiographies written on him besides some authorized biographies.
TIE BREAKER :
George Best was undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers who wasted his talent due to excessive drinking. In spite of this, he will be remembered by his loyal Irish and global fans.