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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 11:51 GMT
Fans pay tribute to legend Best
George Best tributes
Fans' tributes to George Best piled up at Old Trafford
Football fans are continuing to pay tribute to former Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend George Best who died on Friday aged 59.

A minute's silence is being held before the start of each of the weekend's Football League matches in his honour.

And books of condolence have been opened at Belfast City Hall and at United's Old Trafford ground.

Fans have been travelling to the ground to honour their hero, leaving messages flowers, scarves, and shirts.

Best, who had a liver transplant in 2002, died in hospital after suffering multiple organ failure, eight weeks after being admitted with flu-like symptoms.

London's Cromwell Hospital said his death ended "a long and very valiant fight".

He is to be buried in Belfast beside his mother, Ann, late next week.

Speaking on Friday, Best's sister, Barbara McNarry, thanked the "thousands upon thousands of people" who had sent cards and e-mails to the family, which had given them "great comfort".

Many flowers and messages were also left by fans outside Cromwell Hospital.

A message on one bunch of flowers read: "Dear George, thanks for giving me so much joy, you were my hero as a child and as an adult. You will never be forgotten."

He was the most wonderful player, he could do things that no-one else could do
Greg Dyke

Prime Minister Tony Blair joined tributes to the man he called "probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation, one of the greatest footballers the UK has ever produced".

"Anyone who has seen him as a football fan will never forget it," Mr Blair said from the Commonwealth Head of Governments meeting in Malta.

Republic of Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said: "George should be remembered as the very best at what he did. He was quite simply a football genius."

England captain David Beckham spoke of his pride at following in Best's footsteps to don the celebrated number seven shirt for Manchester United.

He said: "As a Manchester United fan I always saw George Best as a football legend and it was a proud moment for me when I wore the same number seven shirt as him.

"He is one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game and a great person as well."

Best had been in hospital since entering with flu-like symptoms on 1 October, later suffering a kidney infection.

His condition deteriorated sharply last Friday with the development of a lung infection that led to internal bleeding.

Best, a recovering alcoholic, was particularly susceptible to infection because of medicines he needed after his liver transplant.

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