Born on 22nd of May 1946
Died on 25th of November 2005
Quotes from George Best
'I spent a lot of money on booz'... More
George Best was born 22nd May 1946 and died 25th November 2005. He was a Northern Irish professional football player, best known for his sublime footballing skills, particularly with Manchester United, and as being one of the first 'celebrity footballers'. 1968 was his golden year when he won the European Cup with Manchester United and was named the European Footballer of the Year. He was capped 37 times for Northern Ireland and scored nine goals for them. He was the first child of Dickie Best and his wife Anne, and grew up in Cregagh, Belfast. He had 4 sisters and a brother. In 1957 at the age of 11, Best won a scholarship to Grosvenor Grammar School. However, he was unhappy there as his school blazer identified him as a Protestant and the school specialised in rugby, so he moved to Lisnasharragh Secondary School where he was able to focus on football. He was discovered in Belfast at the age of 15 by Manchester United scout, Bob Bishop, who notified Matt Busby that he had "found him a genius". He made his Manchester debut aged 17 in September 1963 against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in a 1-0 victory. He scored his first goal for them 2 weeks later and by the end of the season had scored 6 goals, putting them second behind the champions, Liverpool. In his next season with them, they won the league title. His talent and showmanship made him a crowd favourite, and he was dubbed 'the fifth Beatle' due to his long hair, good looks and pop star image. His 1966-67 season was also very successful, with Manchester United claiming the league title again. His 1968 season culminated in him becoming a European Cup Winner and the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year. It was after this point that Best began a steady decline, developing problems with gambling and alcoholism. In 1974 Best left Manchester United after making 466 appearances for them, scoring a total of 178 goals. Over the next decade he drifted between several clubs, including Fulham F.C. between 1976-77. He had a spell in America from 1977 to 1981, playing for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes. In 1982, aged 36, best signed for third division team, A.F.C. Bournemouth and stayed there until his retirement from football at the end of the season. He also had brief spells playing in Ireland, Scotland and Australia. Over the course of his footballing career, Best lost money through opening fashion boutiques, as well as nightclubs he owned in Manchester and California. He once famously explained, "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered". He led a playboy lifestyle and was married twice, firstly to Angela MacDonald-James, with whom he had a son, Callum Best. Between 1995 until 2004 he was married to former air hostess, Alex Pursey. In 1998 he became a football pundit for Sky Sports, last appearing on Soccer Saturday in 2004, and in November 2004 he briefly joined Premier League club Portsmouth as a youth coach. His struggle with alcoholism
was famously documented when the tabloid newspaper, News of the World, published a photograph of him at his own request in his hospital bed, battling infection after liver transplant complications, with the message, "Don't die like me". He was regarded as a hero in his native Northern Ireland, and 100,000 mourners turned out to pay respects to his funeral cortege when en-route to a memorial service in the Grand Hall at Stormont. On 22nd May 2006, Belfast City Airport was renamed George Best Belfast City Airport in his honour and on what would have been his 60th birthday.
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