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The 24 Oddest And Strangest Facts About George Best

The 24 Oddest And Strangest Facts About George Best

Today is the 50th anniversary of George Best's first game for United

Today is the 50th anniversary of Best's first game for Manchester United, and to mark the occasion, here are 24 nuggets of information that you may, or may not, know about the Belfast man.

1. Best grew up supporting Glentoran and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

2. He passed his 11 plus exam and went to rugby playing Grammar school for a short time.

best young

image: friendsreunited

3. Best was rejected by Glentoran for being too small and lightweight before being spotted by United.

4. He went for his trial at United with Eric McMordie, who would go on to play for Middlesborough and Northern Ireland.

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5. Best was homesick after two days with United and went home before eventually going back.

6. His debut was a 1-0 defeat of West Brom at Old Trafford, 50 years ago today.

best debut

image: bbc

7. During a Rolling Stones performance on Top of the Pops in 1965, Best appeared in the audience as a very shy looking teenage. (1:38)

8. Best scored twice in European Cup quarter-final in Lisbon against Benfica on March 9th 1966. The Portuguese media called him "O Quinto Beatle" or "the fifth Beatle".

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best beatle

image: 1001experiencias

9. By the age of 22, he had won the league championship, European Cup and the European footballer of the year award.

10. He scored six goals in one match for United, in a Cup tie with Northampton in 1970. A feat most widely remembered for his celebration of the sixth.

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11. Best played 37 times for Northern Ireland between 1964 and '77, scoring nine times, but his most famous goal was one that didn't even count, against England in 1971.

12. He was United's top scorer for six straight seasons from 1966 until 1972

13. In November 1972, he pulled out of an international against Spain because he had received death threats from the IRA.

best ni

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14. His final game for United came on New Years Day in 1974 against QPR, which was lost 3-0.

15. His first club after United was Jewish Guild in South Africa, a club now known for lawn bowling.

16. During the 60s and 70s, he starred in commercials for Cookstown sausages, the stuff of celebrity.

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17. While playing with Hibernian in Scotland in 1980 he was sacked after going on a massive drinking session with the French rugby team, who were in town to play Scotland

18. He played three matches for two Hong Kong First Division teams in 1982, Hong Kong Rangers and Sea Bee, who no longer exist.

19. On top of his numerous clubs from Britain, the US and around the world, in 1984 he even turned out for Ford Open Prison. Best had received a three-month prison sentence for drunk driving, assaulting a police officer and failing to answer bail.

20. In an 1990 interview with Terry Wogan on television, Best was visibly drunk when he was on the show, blurting out, "I like screwing".

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21. Following his death in 2005, United's next home game against West Brom, who incidentally Best had made his debut against, was met with a minute's applause. For the occasion figures from his debut in 1963 (from both teams) were present and placards of his face were held up around the stadium.

22. For the first anniversary of his death, in 2006, Ulster Bank issued one million commemorative five pound notes. The notes sold out in five days.

5 pounds

image: thesun

23. Memorable quotes from George include,

"I used to go missing a lot... Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World."

 

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

 

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

24. And finally, Georgie didn't always wear the iconic number seven shirt that he's so famous for, but rather he regularly wore the numbers eight, ten, eleven, and even nine when filling in for Bobby Charlton.

best11

image: ryanwohanlon

Eugene Fogarty
Article written by
Professional pint puller, backpacker extraordinaire and cynical football snob.