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True Genius: George Best

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George Best must have been aware that his days were extremely numbered when he wrote this book - was it meant as a cathartic sort of apology to those around him? For all fans of the Belfast Boy Wonder, this book is what we've all been waiting for - a detailed account of George Best's playing career. People were transfixed, bewitched and delighted by the impish, cheeky skills of Best that invariably brought a smile to all except the defenders who had to face him. On 29 October 1984, Best played as a special guest for Reading against the New Zealand national team in a friendly game, alongside 1966 World Cup winner Martin Peters. That same season, Best captained the Manchester United side that won the 1964 FA Youth Cup, the sixth FA Youth Cup won under the management of Jimmy Murphy, and the first since the 1958 Munich air disaster.

In George Best: A Memoir, Michael Parkinson draws upon decades of award-winning journalistic experience to re-evaluate a remarkable footballer and a damaged friend. Best continued to be selected for Northern Ireland throughout the 1970s, despite his fluctuating form and off pitch problems. This meant that he had won the three major honours in club football at the age of just 22 (the league title, European Cup, and European Player of the Year award). I enjoyed the football descriptions as well as the relationship ones and thought it was a brilliant though sad read.Close friends in the game visited his bedside to make their farewells, including Rodney Marsh, and the two other members of the "United Trinity", Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. Every match from his first appearances at junior level through to his last testimonial and charity appearances are listed along with other interesting facts and figures. A panel of seven academics, journalists and historians named Best among the group of people in the UK "whose actions during the reign of Elizabeth II have had a significant impact on lives in these islands and given the age its character". After failing to agree terms with Bolton Wanderers in 1981, he was invited as a guest player and played three matches for two Hong Kong First Division teams ( Sea Bee and Rangers) in 1982.

Best then announced his retirement from football, but nevertheless turned up for pre-season training, and continued to play. The rising star of English football, Best was catapulted to superstar status at the age of 19 when he scored two goals in a European Cup quarter-final match against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz on 9 March 1966. His brilliance was simply dazzling – player after player from the New Zealand national team queued up to try to tackle him and he gave them all dancing lessons. Best made his First Division debut, aged 17, on 14 September 1963 against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in a 1–0 victory. Best's son Calum and former teammates, surviving members from the West Brom team which he played against in his debut, all joined the current United squad on the pitch for a minute's silence, during which fans in every seat held aloft pictures of Best, which were given out before the match.George Best was blessed with an extraordinary gift; he brought beauty and grace to soccer never before seen.

I remember thinking George was going to go one way, but he dropped his shoulder and went the other, and by then I was already on the deck. You could saw his legs away and he still wouldn't fall because his balance was uncanny, almost supernatural. His time with the "Cottagers" is particularly remembered for a match against Hereford United on 25 September 1976 in which he jokingly tackled his own teammate, and old drinking mate, Rodney Marsh.Afterwards, Best was interred beside his mother Annie Mary Best in a private ceremony at the hill-top Roselawn Cemetery, overlooking east Belfast. When entering your personalisation, please note that accents, emojis and other symbols can’t be used as our system doesn’t support these.

In 1999, he was voted 11th at the IFFHS European Player of the Century election, and 16th in the World Player of the Century election. It turned out that the gentleman Roy Collins who was on his way to report on an Arsenal match in Turkey , he mentioned in passing that he had ghost written Georgie Bests latest autobiography . The victory was not only the pinnacle of Best's career, but arguably Manchester United's greatest achievement, considering the Munich air disaster had wiped out most of the Busby Babes just ten years previously. His grace, agility and ball skills were only eclipsed by his unselfish passing – many love to remark on his goal scoring but he was prodigious as the set-up man. When asked what happened to the money he had earned, Best quipped: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds (women) and fast cars.On 27 October, newspapers stated that Best was close to death and had sent a farewell message to his loved ones.

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