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George Best: The Legend Lives On

Monday, November 25, marked the 14th anniversary of the death of one of the most iconic football players to ever walk this earth. In 2005, George Best, who dazzled with his brilliance on the pitch and frightened with his antics off it, was laid to rest at his family home in Cregagh, Northern Ireland as the world watched and wept.

Maradona’s Good, Pelé’s Better, but George Is the Best

Best made his name at Manchester United during the reign of legendary United manager Matt Busby. One of Busby’s scouts, Bob Bishop, discovered Best at 15 years of age and brought him to England. At just 17, Best started to break into the Red Devils’ starting line-up, scoring 6 goals in 26 appearances in 1963/64.

The following season, he established himself as one of the best players in Britain. The Northern Irishman tallied 14 goals in 59 appearances and his skillful dribbling and excellent technical ability unnerved defenders up and down the country.

Best left United in 1975 having scored 74 goals in 207 games. It was the beginning of a journeyman career that accelerated his plunge into alcoholism.

The Decline

Best was a shy boy as a youngster, but fame and worldwide attention went to his head and his love for partying and women rapidly became a problem. In 1981, while playing for the San Jose Clash, Best stole money from a woman’s handbag to fund a drinking session.

Best was also known to be violent. In 2004, his wife alleged that he was abusive towards her. 32 years earlier he assaulted a waitress and in 1984, he attacked a police officer.

Despite numerous fines, prison sentences, and a heavily damaged liver, Best never got the help he needed and his alcoholism ultimately lead to his death in 2005, aged 59.

Legends Never Die

The story of George Best is a tragic one. A man who combined technical ability with toughness on the pitch and clinical finishing saw his career flushed down the drain. George Best’s sensational footwork struck fear into the hearts of defenders and 14 years on from his death, the legend of George Best lives on.

Illustration by @kierancarrolldesign

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