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Friday, November 24, 2017

GEORGE BEST- A TALENT THAT COMES ONCE IN A CENTURY


„In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol- it was the worst 20 minutes of my life“

George Best was a footballer from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was born on 22 of May in 1946. He is considered by many one of the best football player in history. His brilliant career was short do to alcohol. He is regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. He played as attacking midfielder or winger. He is famous for his unique stile of play: combined pace, skills, balance, both footed, goalscoring abilites... 

He was first child of Richard and Anne Best. He had four sisters and one brother. His father was a iron turner in shipyards while his mother never had a fulltime job. She worked in a ice cream factory, cigarettes factory... She worked anything just to brink a few pounds more to the house. Also his mother was a very good hockey player who also played for their country and he went to watch her when he was young. His mother said that he started to play with ball when he was only 10 months old. He played anywhere. He also took ball into his bed. 

-Best with only 15 months

He started his career in Manchester United. He was spotted in his early years in Belfast by a Man. United scout. Till then he played for some local clubs. Manchester United scout Bob Bishop said to Matt Busby: „Boss, I think I've found you a genius.“ He went to Manchester and stayed for few days but he was sick. He went home but his father called Matt Busby and he gave him another chance. He was only 15 years old. He made his debut aged 17 and went to play for 11 years for red side of Manchester. Star was born and he started to enjoy in football. Crowd went crazy for his dribblings in his debut match which came against WBA. George become addicted to football and he started developing his abilities. Already in his young age his reputation started to grow. He soon became the driving force in United team with Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. But for him it was very hard to leave home at young age because he did't had parents to ask for any advise.

„He put a ball throught my legs and he did it again and did the third time and I said: Son do that again and I'll break your bloody neck.“ Harry Gregg about George Best. 

European Cup (todays Champions League) was one of the main obsession for Manchester United. In 1966 they faced Benfica in quarter-final. First leg United won 3-2 on home field. In second match George Best was „Red Devils“ hero with two goals. Benfica was very strong at that time. They had Coluna and Eusebio. This was one of the George best matches in United. He was later on the front pages of newspapers which was very rare to see footballers on front pages. He become „pop-star“ footballer. „The return of el Beatle“. He was something like football Elvis Presley. One of the first celebrity footballers. At that time first problems came out. He went out more, girls where always around him, he started to drink. He was only 19 years old. About European Cup that season Manchester didn't won it and they had to wait for few more seasons.

-George Best returning to England after 5-1 win over Benfica

In 1968 European Cup final they faced Benfica in Wembley Stadium. Best and Chartlon vs Coluna, Eusebio and others. George Best was in terrific form. 1-1 after 90 minutes. In extra time Manchester scored three more goals and won European Cup, first in their history. First extra time goal was from George Best. He received an air ball, passed trough last deffender, dribbled keeper and scored on empty net. Other two where scored by Kidd and Charlton. This European Cup trophy was very emotional for him, Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton. It was won 10 years after Munich air disaster. At that time Best was only 22.

After that European Cup glory things didnt go well for George. He won the most important trophy on club level. Now what? Later also Matt Busby retired and Best considered him as a very important person in his life. He was sent off for several times during season. Best started looking for new things to replace excitement he got from football. He become a star of night clubs. He was looking for happiness in things that can not give you happiness like alcohol or sex. He become addict. He started to miss trainigns. New managers failed to control the wayward player. George once said: „I am my own enemy.“ His mother was bad becouse of that but his father had a strong character. He achived everything before he was 22 and he got totaly confused. He won Ballon d'Or. He played for United till 1974. After that European Cup trophy everyone expected that club will win even more trophies but they didn't. George Best didn't played as in previous years. And the club wasn't one the same level after Busby left. After 1968 George was lost. He didn't know were to go. His interviews where like: „My bottle a day“ or „For the last years all I've done is drink“.  


His later career wasn't great. He played for lot of different clubs and in lot of testimonial and charity matches. He played in NASL where played lot of other great players such as Pele, Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Eusebio... He was 29 at that time. In United States he played for Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes. He didn't stopped to drink. Before America he played for Stockport and Cork Celtic. When the league season in America was off he played two years in Fulham and Hibernian. The biggest problem was alcohol and there was no much clubs who where ready to risk with him. During matches he had his period of brilliance but most of the match he was invisible. For example in his first match with Fort Lauderdale Strikers he scored a hat-trick in a 5-3 win.

In October 1978 his mother died. She was also addicted to alcohol in last years of her life. George Best blamed himself because he should have been there or at least he shoud have called or wrote. It was a guilt that he carried for some time. His mother death was a reason for him to drink more.

He later found out that he is going to be a dad so he was looking for help to quit drinking. And that time he was playing for San Jose and they helped him with that. During his time in Earthquakes he scored probobly the best goal of his career where he dribbled in a slalom trough several defenders in the box and scored a goal. Goalkeeper couldn't do anything. 

Even when his child was born he didn't stopped to drink. He later played for Bournemouth, Brisbane Lions, Tobermore United... He played for lot of clubs only one or maybe two matches just to earn some money. 

Best got married twice. With Angie and Alex. With his first wife he got his son Calum who was born in 1981. After he finished his football career he didn't stopped to drink. Because of alcohol he was several times in prison and lost his driving licence. In early 2000s he had big liver problems. In 2001 he was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. In 2002 he had a successful liver transplant. Even after liver transplant he continued to drink. In October 2005 he was admitted to intensive care to a hospital. He was suffering from a kidney infection. He died on 25th November 2005. He was 59 years old. Over 100 000 people came to his funeral. 

"What would you want to people think about you? Well I know what they really thinks. They'll forget all the rubbish when I am gone and they'll remember the football it's simple as that. And I don't give a toss about everything else as long as they remember the football and if only one person thinks I was best player in the world that will do for me because that was what it was all about far as I am concern." (radio interview two months before his death). 

George Best Don't die like me
-George Best last picture and interview: "Don't die like me"


Here I will try to represent his career in pictures during time in Manchester United but also in other clubs in which he played. Of course it is impossible to find all pictures of clubs in which he played. Let's start with "official" clubs in which George Best played. Matches and goals stats are taken from the book: Remember me for my football, George Best: For the record. Authors are: Phil Hughes and Paul Collier. I included also his record for the youth team of Man. United. 


-Manchester United youth team 1963/64

George Best first competitive game in a Manchester United shirt came on 9th September 1961 in Lancashire league Division 1 fixture. He was 15 when he played for the A team in 2-1 home win against Stockport County. What is Lancashire league? It is a league competition for a junior sides with two divisions (Division 1 and 2). George Best played in both those leagues for Manchester United A and B teams. He played 3 seasons for Manchester United youth squads. In those seasons he played in both Lancashire leagues plus in FA Youth cup and in Reserves- central league.

1961/62: 27 matches / 12 goals
Lancashire League Division 1: 5 / 2
Lancashire League Division 2: 22 / 10

1962/63: 30 matches / 26 goals
Lancashire League Division 1: 10 / 7
Lancashire League Division 2: 18 / 19
Fa Youth Cup: 2 / 0

1963/64: 18 matches / 15 goals
Lancashire League Division 1: 5 / 7
FA Youth Cup: 5 / 5
Reserves- Central League: 8 / 3

In 1963/64 season he played for United juniors team, reserves and seniors. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS
Manchester United 1963/64: 27 matches / 6 goals
League Division 1: 17 / 4
FA Cup: 7 / 2
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 2 / 0
Friendlies: 1 / 0

When George Best began the 1963/64 season no one could possibly have anticipated the impact that he would have on the game of football. His campaign began on 24th August when he made his debut for reserves in a home game against Sheffield Wednesday and helped the side to a 4-0 victory. His performance brought his ellevation to the first team the following against same opponent at Old Trafford. His first goal for senior team came on 28th December 1963 against Burnley. Best scored once in 5-1 victory.

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 
Manchester United 1964/65: 61 match / 15 goals
League Division 1: 41 / 10 (missed only one match)
FA Cup: 7 / 2
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup: 11 / 2
Friendlies: 2 / 1

In his second season he played much more. More then double then in first season. 59 matches in which he scored 14 goals. He became one of the main players in United. Best won his first league title. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS Reddish maid
Manchester United 1965/66 (Reddish maid): 45 matches / 17 goals
FA Charity Shield: 1 / 1
League Division 1: 31 / 9
FA Cup:  5 / 3
European Cup: 6 / 4
Friendlies: 2 / 0

One of his best matches for "Red Devils". 5-1 win in Portugal over Benfica. George Best scored two goals. He came back to  England with sombrero on his head and become a "pop-star footballer". 17 goals in 43 matches. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS a&bc gum
Manchester United 1966/67 (A&BC gum): 61 matches / 23 goals
League Division 1: 42 / 10 (he played in all league matches)
FA Cup: 2 / 0
League Cup: 1 / 0
Friendlies: 16 / 13

His second but also last league title with United. 10 goals in 45 matches. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1867 68
Manchester United 1967/68 (FKS): 54 matches / 32 goals
FA Charity Shield: 1 / 0
League Division 1: 41 / 28
FA Cup: 2 / 1
European Cup: 9 / 3
Friendlies: 1 / 0

His best season with United. 32 goals in 53 matches. Most goals in one season. He won European Cup trophy. First for Man. United. He scored one goal in extra time of final match against Benfica. United won 4 to 1. After this achievement and also Ballon d'Or award, which he won later, his career went downstairs. He started to dring more and look for pleasure in some other things.

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1968 69
Manchester United 1968/69 (FKS): 57 matches / 23 goals
League Division 1: 41 / 19
World Club Championship: 2 /0
FA Cup: 6 / 1
European Cup: 6 / 2
Friendlies: 2 / 1

George Best was sent off for the first time in his career. It was in a second match vs Estudiantes in a World club championship. Solid season for Best as he scored 22 goals in 55 matches. Manchester reached semifinal of European Cup where they lost to a Milan. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1969 70
Manchester United 1969/70 (FKS): 63 matches / 30 goals
League Division 1: 37 / 15
League Cup: 8 / 2
FA Cup: 8 / 6
Friendlies: 10 / 7

The season began with managerial changes which saw Sir Matt Busby elevated to General Manager while McGuinness became Chief Coach responsible for team selection. The changes had a disastrous effect on early form as United faild to win any of their opening six league games.
At the end of the League Cup semi-final 1st leg tie at Manchester City Best knocked the ball from the hands of the referee. Best was fined for £100 and suspended for four weeks. George returned from his ban to play in the FA Cup 5th round tie at Northampton Town. He scored six times in 8-2 win. George finished as the team's top goal scorer for the third season in succession. 
Best repeated season like previous but United started to lose from smaller teams. They finished 8th in league. 23 goals in 53 matches official matches. After European Cup glory everybody expected that United will won more titles but they didn't. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1970 71
Manchester United 1970/71 (FKS): 55 matches / 25 goals
League Division 1: 40 / 18
Watney Cup: 3 / 1*
League Cup: 6 / 2
FA Cup: 2 / 1
Friendlies: 4 / 3

Same place in league as in previous season. He scored 22 goals in 51 match. He was 3rd placed for Ballon d'Or award. In January 1971 Best missed  the train taking United team to their league game at Chelsea. He took a later train to London but decided to spend the weekend with actress Sinead Cusack instead. The club suspended him for two weeks. He again finished as team's top scorer.

*Watney Cup was a competition founded in 1970 (abolished in 1973). It was held before the start of new season and was contested of two teams who scored most goals in every first four leagues in previous season (Division 1 to Division 4). 8 teams in total.

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1971 72
Manchester United 1971/72 (FKS): 59 matches / 30 goals
League Division 1: 40 / 18
Watney Cup: 1 / 1
League Cup: 6 / 3
FA Cup: 7 / 5
Friendlies: 5 / 3

Season started great for "Red Devils". They were top on the table by Christmas but with 7 defeats in a row they ruined everything till then. Best was United best player that season. He scored 27 goals in all competitions. Same place in league like in previous two seasons.  

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1972 73
Manchester United 1972/73 (FKS): 25 matches / 6 goals
League Division 1: 19 / 4
League Cup: 4 / 2
Friendlies: 2 / 0

Already in previous seasons his started to miss trainings. He was also sent off for several times. He planned to retire from football after last season but he didn't. He played only 23 matches in which he scored 6 goals. He planned to retire for second time in his life but he continued to training. 

George Best Manchester United sticker FKS 1973 74 top sellers
Manchester United 1973/74 (Top Sellers): 19 matches / 3 goals
Reserves- Central League: 1 / 0
League Division 1: 12 / 2
Friendlies: 6 / 1

During the summer of 1973 Best declared that he would not play football again. However, in late August, United chairman Louis Edwards stated that he would like the Irishman to begin training with the club. Coach Tommy Docherty was also keen to have Best back in a squad. Best announced that he would like to give football another try. This was his last season with Manchester's club. Best played only 12 matches and scored 2 goals. His last match was on 1 January 1974. United got relegated. 

George Best Dunstable town
Dunstable Town 1974: 3 matches / 0 goals (all friendlies)

Next stop in his career was Southern League side Dunstable Town. He came there because of his former teammate Barry Fry who was Dunstable player/manager. Club had big ambitious plans but Best played only three friendly matches for them: against Manchester United, Cork Celtic and Luton Town. Because of their heavy spending club bankrupt. 


Jewish Guild 1974: 4 matches / 1 goal

He signed a lucrative short term deal to play for South African club. Best had not played competitive football for five months and his arrival generated considerable interest. Best played in four games for Johannesburg's club and they managed to win only one.  He also scored only one goal and it was in last match vs Durban United. His team lost 1-2. It was a whirlwind seven days of football for George and while he benefited financially his displays proved a disappointment. 

George Best Stockport County Swansea Stoke City Watford Southport 
Stockport County 1975/76: 4 matches / 3 goal
Friendly: 1 / 1
League Division 4: 3 / 2

In newspaper there was a headline: BEST signs for Stockport in the fourth division. He had agreed to play in three games and first one was against Swansea. Before his debut match with Stockport he played in a friendly match vs First Division side Stoke City. Just to get better with his new teammates. Best scored a fine second half goal from a free kick as the match ended in a 1-1 draw. In his first official match with County club there was three times more crowd then usually. Almost all of them came to see George. Best scored one goal in 3-2 win. His next match was against Watford. He scored once again in 2-2 draw. His last match was against Southport. Again lot of people came to see George. His team won 1-0. 

George Best cork celtic Drogheda Bohemians Shelbourne
Cork Celtic 1976: 3 matches / 0 goals
Bass league of Ireland: 3 / 0

In 1976 he had a brief spell with Ireland side Cork Celtic. He made his debut in "League of Ireland" against Drogheda. The interest in the game caused the match to be switched from Cork's Turner's Cross ground to the larger Flower Lodge venue. A crowd of 12 000 people witnessed George and his team mates lose 2-0 to Drogheda. He played only three league matches for Ireland club. Other two were against Bohemians and Shelbourne. His performance against Shelborune reporter described as "easy money for a player who showed he simply did not want to be involved". The following day Best was sacked by his club for „his lack of enthusiasm“.

George Best Los Angeles Aztecs NASL United States
Los Angeles Aztecs 1976: 24 matches / 15 goals (include 1 playoff match)

After Ireland he moved to United States. For LA club he played in 3 occasions (seasons) because when there was off seasons in American football he came back to play in Europe. Almost 20 000 people attended his first match for LA. His side lost 2-1 from Earthquakes. During season Best scored his first and only hat-trick in NASL. It was in 8-0 win against Boston. George Best first season in NASL had proved a success. He missed  just one game. He finished as club's top scorer and added seven assists. Aztecs were kicked-out in first playoff round from Dallas Tornado. 

George Best Fulham fks sticker 1976 77
Fulham 1976/77 (FKS): 42 matches / 9 goals
League Division 2: 32 / 6
Reserves- Football combination: 1/0
League Cup: 3/2
FA Cup: 2/0
Friendlies: 4 /1 (including Frank Lampard and Les Barrett testimonial matches)

He played for Fulham in second division of England football. He made his return to English football on 4th September in the home game against Bristol Rovers. A crowd of about 21 000 came to watch him and former QPR and Manchester City star Rodney Marsh. Best fired Craven Cottage after only 71 seconds. He scored only goal in that match. In February 1977 he was involved in a car crash which forced him to miss next five games. At the end of the season they finished on 17th place and avoided relegation for two points. The signing of Best and Marsh had brought considerable interest to Craven Cottage though the results had proved extremely erratic. 32 league matches and 6 goals. 

George Best Los Angeles Aztecs NASL United States
Los Angeles Aztecs 1977: 25 matches / 13 goals (include 5 playoff matches)

Second season with Aztecs. During season more then 57 000 people attented match to see Pele's Cosmos versus Best's Aztecs. Pele scored a hat-trick while Best scored one goal in 2-5 defeat. Aztecs were later kicked in playoff semi-finals against Seattle Sounders. Except 13 goals he added 26 assists. Great seasons for him. 

George Best Fulham topps sticker 1977 78
Fulham 1977/78 (Topps): 12 matches / 3 goals
League Division 2: 10 / 2
Anglo-Scottish cup: 1 / 1
Friendlies: 1/0

Last season in Fulham. He didn't won any trophy there but he later said that he enjoyed his time with club from Craven Cottage. 10 matches and 2 goals. 

George Best Los Angeles Aztecs NASL United States
Los Angeles Aztecs 1978: 12 matches / 1 goal

Back to America. 3rd period with LA club in which he played 12 matches with one goal. 

George Best fort lauderdale strikers
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1978: 14 matches / 5 goals (5 playoff matches)

He continued to play in NASL but with Fort Lauderdale, club from Florida. In his debut match he scored twice in 5-3 win against NY Cosmos. George Best and Strikers lost in a Conference Championship final from Tampa Bay Rowdies. Solid season for Best in Fort Lauderdale Strikers as he scored 5 goals and added 3 assists.

George Best fort lauderdale strikers
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1979: 19 matches / 2 goals

Second season with club from Florida. Best played 19 matches and added 2 goals. 

George Best hibernian rangers celtic
Hibernian 1979/80: 19 matches / 3 goals
Scottish Premier Division: 13 / 3
Scottish FA Cup: 3 / 0
Friendlies: 3 / 0

He jointed Scottish club who was in relegation zone. Best was signed on "pay per play". He received £2,000 for every match he played. More then 20 000 fans came to visit his first home game for Scottish club. Best's every touch was greeted with applause. In his match vs Rangers, away fans thrown beer cans at him when he was trying to took a corner. He picked up one of them and he took a drink from it. He later scored a goal in a match vs Celtic. Do to alcohol he also missed some matches. Once he got drunk with France international rugby team. With Best in the squad Hibs still got relegated. 

George Best san jose earthquakes
San Jose Earthquakes 1980: 26 matches / 8 goals

He came back to Florida to play for San Jose. His new club was coaches by a his former teammate Bill Foulkes. 
  
George best hibernian
Hibernian 1980/81: 6 matches / 0 goals
Scottish Division 1: 4 / 0
League Cup: 2 / 0

He came back to play for Hibernian in second division. He played only 4 matches plus two in League Cup. Season was great for Hibernian as they finished first and successfully returned to the Premier League. 


San Jose Earthquakes 1980/81 (NASL indoor): 12 matches / 23 goals

George Best san jose earthquakes
San Jose Earthquakes 1981: 30 matches / 13 goals (only two matches missed)


San Jose Earthquakes 1981 (British tour): 4 matches / 0 goals

In October 1981 Best played for Quakes in a British Tour. He played in all four matches without scoring a goal. In that tour they played against Hibernian, Linfield, Motherwell and Brentford. They managed to draw vs Linfield while they lost other three matches. His former club Hibernian defeated Quakes 3-1 while Motherwell won 5-2. Brentford trashed them 8-2. On the picture George Best during match against Motherwell. 

George Best san jose earthquakes indoor 
San Jose Earthquakes 1982 (NASL indoor): 5 matches / 8 goals 

George Best NASL career ended after playing five indoor league matches of 1981/82 season.

George best hong kong rangers sea bee
Hong Kong Rangers 1982: 2 matches / 0 goals (Hong Kong league First Division)
Sea Bee 1982: 2 matches / 0 goals (Hong Kong league First Division)

After failing to agree terms with Bolton he was invited as a guest player and played four matches for two Hong Kong First Division teams: Sea Bee and Rangers. No picture avaliable in Sea Bee. 

george best bournemotuh 
Bournemouth 1982/83: 6 matches / 0 goals
League Division 3: 5 / 0
Friendly: 1 / 0

He was almost 37 years old when he signed for Third Division side. A crowd of over 9000 attended George's first match where he played in an unfamiliar role as centre-forward. 

george best brisbaine lions
Brisbaine Lions 1983: 4 matches / 0 goals

He played for Australian club as guest player in National Soccer league of Australia. He earned $40,000 for a three week of playing there. That money helped him to get out of debts. When he arrived at the airpot he siad: "I'am fit as one can be at 37." "Skill improves with the age", he added. Not much fans went to visit his debut match. In last match his team was crashed 4-0 from Adelaide City Juventus. It was reported that George spent large parts of the game walking around the pitch showing limited interest and contributing little to the team. 

george best tobermore united 
Tobermore United 1984: 1 match / 0 goals

Best played for Tobermore United in Irish Cup match vs Balleymena. His team lost 7-0. Best didn't played well but about 4000 people came to watch him. He played one match but these kind of matches will always stay in hearts thousands of fans who had joy to watch him. His arrivals in any city would always attracted the interst of a large number of people. The game proved to be Best's last competitive match in football.


Don't know if these all clubs I mentioned before are all his official clubs but I will later add more pictures of him in clubs in which he played one or two matches. This I will finish with anecdote from a match vs Tobermore United"His appeal was summed up by one young supporter who had watched the game perched on his dad's shoulders behind the goals. As his father made for an early exit, the young boy said: "Just another minute, daddy, he's got the ball again." And obligingly, dad stopped to watch the maestro in action.


International career:

George best northern ireland George best northern ireland sticker George best northern ireland sticker
George Best played 37 matches for Northern Ireland in which he scored 9 goals. 4 of them where scored against Cyprus and others against Albania, England, Scotland, Switzerland and Turkey. He was part of national team from 1964 to 1977. His debut match came in a British Championship. Northern Ireland faced Wales on 15 April 1964. He scored his first goal in September in the same year. They lost in away match from Switzerland in World Cup qualifiers. Last match was against Netherlands in 12 October 1977, WC qualifiers. He didn't played on EUROs or WCs. 1982 WC, in which N. Ireland participated, came too late as he was not enough fit to got a call from their manager. 

Now I will try to mention all other clubs in which George Best played match or two. Of course it is impossible to find picture in every club in which he played. Lot of these matches were like testimonial or charity matches. In most of them he played just to earn some money. 


Rangers/Celtic select 1971 (January): It was a match between Scotland XI vs Rangers/Celtic select to raise funds following the Ibrox stadium disaster. Best scored only goal for his team as Scotland won 2-1.  


World Team XI 1972 (May): It was a match vs HSV for Uwe Seeler farewell. Actually it was a Europe XI because Pele didn't come to the match. George Best team won 6-3 while he scored one goal.

WBA 1974 (October): Best played in Jeff Astle testimonial match.

George best chelsea
Chelsea 1975 (November): He played for Chelsea in Peter Osgood's testimonial match. 


Bolton 1978: Best in Bolton jersey during Peter Nicholson testimonial match in 1978.

George best ipswich
Ipswich 1979 (November): He played just for Bobby Robson's testimonial match. 

George best wrexham
Wrexham 1979 (November): George Best wore Wrexham jersey for Gareth Davies testimonial.

George best middlesbrough jim platt
Middlesbrough 1981 (September): He played for Boro club for his Northern Ireland teamate Jim Platt testimonial match. They played against Sunderland. Platt remembers: "We weren't quite sure whether he was going to show up or not, because he was in a period when he wasn't on his best behaviour, shall we say." "I think he played in more testimonial matches than anyone because everybody wanted him, he was a crowd puller."- Jim Platt


Portadown 1981 (October): George Best played for Portadown in an exhibition match against Glenavon. He lead them, as captain, to a 1-0 victory. As usually lot of people came to see him. It was the largest crowd at Portadown game for years, about 5000 people.

George best dundee fc
Dundee FC 1982: Charity match at Dens Park in 1982. 

George best scone thistle
Scone Thistle 1982 (August): According to info he played for Scone Thistle in 1982. This is Best picture before the match. No much info on net but this match vs probobly played for Scone centenary because they were founded in 1882. Match was played against Scone Amateurs. 20 minutes till end Best went in. Within minutes he made it 14-0. He went past about five players, drew the keeper and then nutmegged him. 


Annagh United 1982 (May): Annagh United played against Oxford United and lost 1-2. Here you on this picture you can see Best with Annagh team players. He is in plain clothes but he played for the team after this picture was taken. 


Valur and KA Akureyri 1982 (August): In 1982 Manchester United (and Best with them) came to Iceland on a preseason tour and played two matches, one against Valur (4th August) and second with KA (5th August). George best played for both Iceland clubs. Back then this was a big event. In Akureyri about 4000 people saw the game. United won both matches: 5-1 against Valur and 7-1 against KA. Lot of great players played for Manchester such as Bryan Robson, Ray Wilkins, McGarth, Norman Whiteside... Best didn't scored any of those two goals but he was in good shape but not in full form. After the second game there was a dinner with all three teams.

George best arbroath vics
Arbroath Vics 1982 (August): The Vics club celebrated their centenary. They faced Arbroath FC on 8 August. Vics won the match 4-3 with George Best scoring two goals. About 2000 crowd came to the match. 

george best glentoran
Glentoran 1982 (August): He played for Glens in a friendly match vs his previous club Manchester United. The game was to celebrate Glens centenary. According to some info Glentoran refused him at his young age because he was too small to make the grade. 


Bangor 1982 (September): Best played in a match vs Motherwell. Don't know in which occasion. Scottish club won 5 to 1.

George Best All Stars 1982 (December): Best and his group of friends played vs Barnstaple Town FC on 12th December. This was a charity match just to raise money for the club. 

george best nuneaton borough
Nuneaton Borough 1983 (March): In 1983 Nuneaton had 40 000 pounds of tax bill. They called Best to play in a friendly match vs First Division neighbours Coventry City. He was 37 at that time. George Best said: "I will definitely be there. I am looking forward to it. I am playing well at the moment, so Coventry City had better look out." Match was played in front of about 4000 people. All eyes were on Best. He scored the winner and missed a penalty. Nuneaton won 2-1. 


Ballyclare Comrades 1983 (May): Bestie played for Comrades in a match against Glentoran. It was a match for Ballyclare May Festival Week. It was a charity match. Match finished without a winner 1-1.

George best osborne park galeb australia croatia dalmatia yugoslavia melville alemannia 
Osborne Park Galeb 1983 (July): A club from Australia which was founded by a Croatian (Yugoslav) settlers from region Dalmatia. Just to add that there were also some other clubs founded by Croatian settlers such as North Perth Croatia and Spearwood Dalmatinac. Both Galeb and Dalmatinac members classified themselves as Yugoslavs and North Perth as Croatians. George Best played for Galeb as a guest player vs Melville Alemannia. He scored a goal in 2-1 win. About 2000 fans came to the match. 

george best newry town shamrock rovers
Newry Town 1983 (August): Best played for Newry Town in a friendly match vs Shamrock Rovers. 

george best ballymoney north west panel route hospital
Ballymoney 1984 (July): He played in a exhibition match. Match was played against North West Panel. That match was part of the proceeds going towards a new heart monitor at the former Route Hospital. Best scored an equalizer goal from penalty spot. Next goal was also from George Best with which he gave them the lead. Match finished 5-2 for Best and his teammates.   


Workington 1986 (April): George Best played one match for Workington versus Lancashire Football League XI. Club was in financial crisis (£30,000 debt). The game was played just a few weeks before fortieth birthday. He was captain of Workington team. A 3500 crowd turned out to see legendary George Best in action. Match finished 1-1. Throughout the evening he signed a hundreds of autographs for young and old fans.

george best dee why manly warringha
Dee Why 1984 (July): Best played for Dee Why in exhibition match vs Manly Warringha. Match was played on 27th July. George scored one goal in 2-3 lose.

george best reading new zeland martin peters elm park
Reading 1984 (October): On 29th October Reading played against New Zeland national team. He played as a special guest along with England World Cup winner Martin Peters. About 3900 fans were on the Elm Park. New Zeland won 2 to 1. 

george best aston villa bradford city stadium wba
Aston Villa 1985 (May): The match was played to collect money do to Bradford City stadium blaze which killed 56 people and injured 265. They played against WBA. About 5600 crowd came to the match. Best was 39 at that time. His every touch was greeted with delight. Best was on the field for about 60 minutes. 
Do to same occasion he played for LBC Wembley Market in June 1985. That team was composed from active footballers, former players like Best and Jennings, coaches etc. Down picture:

george best lbc wembley market bradford city fire pat jennings 

george best sheffield united tony currie
Sheffield United 1986 (October): He played in Sheffield jersey for Tony Currie's testimonial match. 

george best pat jennings select international xi northern ireland
Pat Jennings's Select 1986 (December): Best played in Pat Jenning's Select against an International XI. Match was played on 3rd December. It was testimonial match for his ex Northern Ireland teammate Jennings. 

george best welling united
Welling United (?): George Best in Welling United. Don't know much about this match. According to some infos match played in Welling United was to collect money for Welling club. And it was played between Derek Hales XI and George Best XI. Also you can read that there were two matches and Best never turned up for one.  


Epsom & Ewell 1987 (March): George Best played for E&E in Tommy Tuite testimonial. Tuite is on this picture with George. About 1500 people came to the match. They played against Chelsea XI and lost 1-4. Best wasn't on his best. He didn't do too much and came off after an hour. 

george best celtic centenary match australia special criest logo emblem
Celtic around 1987: Year of playing in Celtic jersey is unknown but according to info avaliable on net he played in Celtic's centenary match in Australia. Celtic FC was founded in 1887 so this match was probobly played around 1987. Celtic created a special crest to celebrate club's centenary. That crest was used in 1987/88 and 1988/89 seasons. On this picture you can see Best with that new Celtic crest


Newhaven Select XI 1988 (May): George Best played for Newhaven with his selection. It was a match against T.V. Entertainers XI. It was a match to celebrate FC Newhaven's centenary season. That match events were part of a fundraising scheme to benefit both football club and their adopted charity, Newhaven Lifeboat Association. George Best team won 3 to 1.  

george best testimonial 1988 calum windsor park
George Best testimonial 1988 (August): On 8th August, a testimonial match was held for George Best. It was played between George Best XI vs International XI. Match was played at Windsor Park. About 25 000 fans came to visit this match. Best was wearing jersey with no 11. On this picture you can see him with his son Calum. George Best scored twice and his team won 7-6. 

george best devonport ken morton tasmania
Devonport 1989 (July): Over 1800 people came to see George Best. He was invited there by his ex United teammate from early days Ken Morton. George played for Devonport and Morton was their coach at that time. They played against Tasmanian XI. Match finished 2-2. 



Panini International All Stars 1989 (September): In 1989 Best played for Panini selection against Arsenal/Spurs selection. It was in some Dreamflight Charity Cup. Arsenal/Spurs were better 6-5. On the picture you can see all other players who played for Panini. 

george best crewe united dundalk
Crewe United 1989 (December): His first match with Crewe was in 1989 in aid of the Lisburn branch of Action Cancer to help raise funds. Match was played against Dundalk. 


Martin O'Neill International XI 1990 (May): It was a match played between Wycombe Wanderers versus Martin O'Neill select. Match was played for Wycombe final goodbye to their Loakes Park stadium since they were moving to a new Adams Park stadium. Martin O'Neill was recently appointed as Wycombe coach (recently before the match). About 4000 fans came to this match. Before the kick off O'Neill team was introduced to the crowd with the biggest cheer to the master George Best. In 25 minute stadium saw memorable flash of magic from Best. In a dribble reminiscent of his Manchester United days, George, swearing in from the left wing, nutmegged the bewildered Matt Crossley, and took the ball across Granville and the six yard line. With Granville floundering on the ground, Best beat him again and chipped the ball into the corner of the empty net. It was a goal which gave two goals lead to O'Neill's team (2-4). Thorpe scored his second goal just on half time, easily heading home a cross from McDonald after brilliant wing play and a back heel from Best. George left pitch in 57 min with a big applause from the crowd. Till the end there was 6 more goals with a final win of 4-8 to Martin O'Neill and his teammates.  Martin was pleased that his former Nothern Ireland teammate came to the match: “We were delighted George turned up. He did very well for us. The day was really about the fans, and on the last day a game was played at Loakes Park, they had a world class player to watch.”
While George Best added: ”I’ve known Martin for quite a while, from playing in the Irish squad together. I never even thought about it. As soon as he asked me, I agreed to play. If I’m free to play, it’s no problem. I only play around a hundred of these games a year! The only problem is whenever I miss the one (game), they never stop talking about it. They never talk about the other 99. It’s terrific, when you think that a little club like this can pull in a crowd of 4,000 for a fun game. I don’t know much about Wycombe Wanderers. I didn’t even know where Loakes Park was!”

As well as being the Loakes Park finale, this match was also held to raise money for Wycombe General Hospital’s Scannappeal, and O’Neill said he was very happy that he and his firends could help with playing this match.

george best matt busby testimonial ireland
Sir Matt Busby testimonial 1991 (August): Match played on Old Trafford between Manchester United and Republic of Ireland XI. The result was draw 1-1. 

george best qpr
QPR year is 1990 or 1992. He played for QPR in Alan McDonald or Mick Leach testimonial match. Not shure which one of them was. There is no much info on net. 

george best crewe united 1995 
Crewe United 1995 (September): His second match with Crewe. They played against Showbiz Select to raise funds for Down's Syndrome.


Here are some other matches from which I don't have any picture. 
George Best played in another NSAL club Detroit Express but only in friendly matches on their tour in Austria. He played two matches in September 1978.
He played for Hibs in First and Second Division but he came back in 1984 to play testimonial match for Jackie McNamara. Hibs faced Newcastle. 
In the same year he played match in Stonehaven. It was a match between Skean Shu Select and Northsound Select.
Les Berry testimonial. Best played for Charlton in a match vs Arsenal. Match was played on 16 May 1984.
George Dunlop Testimonial: Linfield vs George Best's All Stars, February 1986. 
You can also read that he played for Motherwell. According to those infos when he was in Europe with San Jose Earthquakes they played friendly match vs Motherwell. You can read that Best played one half for each club.
I am sure that I miss some matches and any further help is welcomed. 

                             
Few words for the end. Of course I never had chance to watch him play. Now we can only enjoy in his videos, movies, books, stories that we can find on net. I started to like George several years ago. I even have a facebook profile named under him. This summer I came up to an idea and I started to collect pictures of George in all clubs in which he played at least one match. And I wanted to make this for him or in his legacy. I am very happy about it and proud. What to say about Best career. He will always be remembered for his football and great talent but at one point we all can be sad. Why? Because he achieved everything till his 22. He won all that he could at such a young age. England league title, European Cup and Ballon d'Or. We can say that he was professional for about 6 years. After he won everything he started to drink and his later career was „marked“ with alcohol. Have you ever asked yourself how much he could achieve that he didn't started to drink. Much much more. He is and will be considered as one of the best players in history of football but what could happen that he didn't drinked so much? He would probobly become the greates footballer in history, with no doubt. Maradona good, Pele better, George BEST. We all know what his surname means. Best simple as that, BEST. Thank you Bestie. Lucky are those who had chance to watch him play. 

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