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George Best - Belfast's Greatest Ever Soccer Icon
In past or current history relevant to the Island of Ireland, only one famous Son of Ireland connected to all citizens (male and female) of the 32 counties in an identity which eluded all politicians and noble men from all walks of life. Soccer icon, George Best achieved unprecedented warmth and affection from all divides of Irish life and the ‘Belfast Boy’ was greatly welcomed in towns and villages all over Ireland as the Countries greatest sporting son ever born to an Irish mother and father.
His sport was soccer and he made his iconic name at the famed Manchester United club from 1963 to 1974. George played 466 games for United and scored 178 goals. At just twenty eight years of age he left Old Trafford behind when matters outside football interfered with his dazzling skills.
In the green international shirt of Northern Ireland, he won 37 caps and scored 9 goals. Despite his unprecedented skills taking centre stage for over a decade, football fans the world over felt cheated, because they had no other equal to thrill them with such deftness and grace, exclusive to their Belfast idol.
As a sporting icon George Best laid down a symbol of excellence for all Irish boys crossing the Irish Sea in persuit of football fame and whilst many achieved fame and fortune in English soccer, no Irish player has emulated the universal sanction of their skills amongst Irish people, North and South. George Best was adored and loved on and off the pitch by children, parents and grandparents, and his mischievous smile and warm personality melted millions of hearts.
The legacy George Best left to all Irish schoolboys dreaming of football stardom, is to rise to the summit of your natural ability and appreciate to the core, the talents at your disposal.
· 1963-1974 Manchester United -466 games – scored 178 goals
· 1974-1975 Dunstable Town
· 1975-1976 Cork Celtic – 3 games – no goals
· 1976 Los Angeles Aztecs – 24 games – scored 15 goals
· 1976-1977 Fulham – 47 goals – scored 10 goals
· 1977- 1978 Los Angeles Aztecs – 37 games- scored 14 goals
· 1978 - 1979 Fort Lauderdale – 33 games – scored 7 goals
· 1979 - 1980 Hibernian – 22 gamed – scored 3 goals
· 1980 - 1981 San Jose – 56 games – scored 21 goals
· 1982 Golden Bay
· 1983 - 1983 Bournemouth – 5 games – no goals
· 1984 - 1984 Tobermore – 1 game – no goals
· 1964 - 1978 Northern Ireland – 37 games – 9 goals
ROLL OF HONOUR
· 1965 English 1st Division Championship
· 1967 English 1st Division Championship
· 1968 European Cup
· 1968 European Footballer of the Year
· 2002 BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Derry JF Doody