George Best

There were many different versions/interpretations of that song about a few footballers in the 70’s, but when I were a kid/round are way the version we did was about the above individual and his style of walking as well as a certain bit woman’s attire that he allegedly wore.

I thought that one was especially fitting since he look very like the subject of that musical – and because in my youth it was the long haired-Jesus bearded hard drinking-womaniser that I saw.

But that was only the later half of his heyday – Georgie boy had started his playing career in the 60’s and because he had a look that well…pretty much everybody had at the time, but because he was famous was sometimes named as an additional member of a popular beat combo around at the time:

Via Wikipedia:    …Best hit the headlines at the age of twenty when he scored two goals in a European Cup quarter-final match against Benfica in 1966, and his long hair prompted the Portuguese press to dub him “O Quinto Beatle”.

Best’s talent and showmanship made him a crowd and media favourite. Called “the fifth Beatle”, for his long hair, good looks and extravagant celebrity lifestyle, he even appeared on Top of the Pops in 1965.

» Unknown – I Love Georgie Best

– His footballing time in the 60’s at Man United:

Best was discovered in Belfast by scout Bob Bishop, whose telegram to United manager Matt Busby read: “I think I’ve found you a genius.” He was given a trial and signed up by chief scout Joe Armstrong.

He made his first team debut, aged 17, on 14 September 1963 against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in a 1–0 victory. He was too young to contend for a first-team place for much of the first half of the season. His second appearance came on 28 December against Burnley. This First Division match saw Best’s first goal for United in a 5–1 win. Matt Busby used Best much more after the New Year and by the end of the season, Best had made 26 appearances, scoring six goals. Manchester United finished second, four points behind Liverpool.

In his second season, Best and Manchester United claimed the league title.

The 1966–67 season was again successful, as Manchester United claimed the league title by four points. The following season, Best became a European Cup winner after scoring in the final against Benfica. United won 4–1 and Best was later crowned European Footballer of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year.

More in a moment, first a few words from our sponsors…

– In 1970, at the height of his fame, a documentary was made. It was called The World of Georgie Best and it followed the footballer’s story from Belfast to the dressing rooms of Old Trafford. The programme was written and narrated by the great sports journalist Hugh McIlvanney.

Years later in one of the other many documentaries George reflects on his time playing for Man U and about a house he had at the time which became a tourist attraction…

» George Best’s Dreamhouse

– In that programme was a song composed and sung by The Sorrows lead singer Don Fardon:

George Best
Don Fardon – Belfast Boy

– Additionally there’s this other track, which also has the title “Belfast Boy” but is a different song from the one above. This very strange one is sung by the possibly unfortunately named Chocolate Barry

» Chocolate Barry – George Best – Belfast Boy

After he left Man U there was a short period in the (footballing wilderness) before finding himself in the United States, first at the (Elton John partly-owned) Los Angeles Aztecs for a short period. But returning to the UK and playing for Fulham he enjoyed a bit of an Indian summer playing alongside his old drinking mate Rodney Marsh.

United States

Best played for three clubs in the United States: Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and later San Jose Earthquakes; he also played for the Detroit Express on a European tour. Best revelled in the anonymity United States afforded him after England and was a success on the field, too, scoring 15 goals in 24 games in his first season with the Aztecs and named as the NASL’s best midfielder in his second…

After another brief return to the UK, this time to play for Hibs:

…Best returned to the USA to play for San Jose Earthquakes in what was officially described as a “loan”, though he only managed a handful of appearances for Hibs in the First Division in the following season.

…In his third season in the States, Best scored only once in 12 appearances. His moves to Fort Lauderdale and San Jose were also unhappy, as his off-field demons began to take control of his life again.

Then by the time the 80’s rolled around the veteran once household name was a shadow of his former self. He was turning into a journeyman footballer who was pitching up at various football clubs anywhere in the world, looking for a game.

His last stand was in late 1982 when Bournemouth manager Don Megson signed the 36-year-old Best for the Third Division side, and he remained there until the end of the season, when he finally retired from football at the age of 37.

Best was still a well known personality after he stopped playing and could be seen regularly in the nightclubs as well as on the telly.

– In the 80’s along with his then girlfriend Mary Stavin (Miss World 1977) created a music and fitness program, released on record with a free booklet with photographs of Best and Stavin doing all the moves. It was called Shape Up and Dance.

Stavin was one of the many “dolly birds” that George went out with…

George Best quote

» George Best – My Ideal Woman

» Lucy – Georgie

» Her – Georgie You’ve Broken My Heart

The other quote that everybody remembers was the one with him in a hotel room with loads of cash on the table, bottles of champagne and a naked Miss World in the bed. Upon seeing all of this the room service waiter said to him: “George, where did it all go wrong…?”

Lastly for now and coming back to the bit at the beginning – As mentioned he had a resemblance to a biblical character with that long hair and beard…

» The Formbys – Jesus With A Football

With eternal and grateful thanks to Stu Davis,
without whom nearly everything posted here wouldn't have been possible.

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