George Best was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger. He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1968 and came sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century vote. Best was capped 37 times for Northern Ireland between 1964 and 1977. He died in 2005, age 59, due to complications from the immunosuppressive drugs he needed to take after a liver transplant in 2002.
About George Best in brief
George Best was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger. He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1968 and came sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century vote. Best was capped 37 times for Northern Ireland between 1964 and 1977. He is regarded as one of the greatest players never to have played at a World Cup. He died in 2005, age 59, due to complications from the immunosuppressive drugs he needed to take after a liver transplant in 2002. His father was a member of the Orange Order and as a boy George carried the strings of the banner in his local Cregagh lodge. Best had four sisters, Carol, Barbara, Julie and Grace, and one brother, Ian. He grew up supporting Glentoran and Wolverhampton Wanderers. At the age of 15, Best was discovered in Belfast by Manchester United scout Bob Bishop, whose telegram to United manager Matt Busby read: ‘I think I’ve found you a genius’. He made his First Division debut, aged 17, on 14 September 1963 against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in a 1–0 victory. He then dropped back into the reserves, before scoring his first goal for the first team in a 5–1 win over Burnley on 28 December 1964. By the end of the 1963–64 season, he had made 26 appearances, scoring six goals, and had made the Youth Cup final. That same season, Best captained the Manchester United Youth side that won the sixth FA Cup since Jimmy Murphy and Jimmy Murphy shared the same birthday as Best.
In his autobiography, Best mentioned how important the order was to his family. Best’s father died on 16 April 2008, at the aged of 88, in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Northern Ireland. His mother Anne died from alcoholism-related cardiovascular disease in 1978, aged 55. In 1957, the academically gifted Best passed the 11-plus and went to Grosvenor High School, but he soon played truant as the school specialised in rugby. Best then moved to Lisnasharragh Secondary School, reuniting him with friends from primary school and allowing him to focus on football. He returned to Manchester and spent two years as an amateur, as English clubs were not allowed to take Northern Irish players on as apprentices. After football, he spent some time as a football analyst, but his financial and health problems continued into his retirement. He said of his career: \”I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered\”. The Irish Football Association described him as the ‘greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland’ in his autobiography. His good looks and playboy lifestyle, earning the nickname ‘El Beatle’ in 1966, led to various personal problems, most notably alcoholism, which he suffered from for the rest of his life. His first time moving to the club, Best quickly became homesick and stayed for only two days before going back home to Northern Irish.