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Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 13:04 GMT
Football mourns George Best
George Best
George was not only a fantastic player, to me he was also a fantastic bloke
Pat Jennings
The football world is in mourning after the death of ex-Manchester United and Northern Ireland star George Best.

Best, 59, died in a west London hospital after multiple organ failure followed eight weeks of ill health.

Drugs needed after his liver transplant in 2002 had made the former alcoholic more susceptible to infection.

"He was a fantastic player. Everybody at United regarded George as being one of the greatest of all time," said Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United manager added: "It's very sad because he was a wonderful person, who was very likeable."

Sir Bobby Charlton, who played alongside Best at his peak but was never close as a friend, said: "He was on a par, at least, with anyone you can name.

1946: Born 22 May
Man Utd 1963-73: 466 games 178 goals
Stockport County 1975: 3 games 2 goals
Cork Celtic 1975-76: 3 games 0 goals
LA Aztecs 1976: 24 games 15 goals
Fulham 1976-77: 37 games 8 goals
LA Aztecs 1977: 25 games 13 goals
Fulham 1977: 10 games 2 goals
LA Aztecs 1978: 12 games 1 goal
Fort Lauderdale 1979: 14 games 5 goals
Hibernian 1979-80: 16 games 3 goals
Fort Lauderdale 1980: 19 games 2 goals
Hibernian 1980: 6 games 0 goals
San Jose 1981-82: 56 games 21 goals
AFC Bournemouth 1983: 5 games 0 goals
Brisbane Lions 1983: 4 games 0 goals

"We at Manchester United have learned from our experience with Eric Cantona, we had to treat him differently, make allowances. If, instead of being hostile to George, which I was, we had leaned a bit his way and tried to help him, who knows?"

Denis Law, who spent Thursday evening at Best's bedside, said: "From 1964 to 1969 he was the best player in the country.

"It's sad as hell but I don't think we saw the best of him. He went on the blink at a time when he could have got even better."

Former Northern Ireland team and room-mate Pat Jennings, who made his international debut in 1964 alongside Best, said: "He was not only a fantastic player, to me he was also a fantastic bloke.

"The George Best I met then is the same George Best I knew later."

Republic of Ireland and Leeds midfielder Johnny Giles described Best as "the most naturally gifted player I have ever seen.

"He had the lot: balance, pace, two good feet, he was brave, strong and a good header of the ball.

"Pele wasn't as gifted as George Best and I would definitely put George above Johan Cruyff because he had more heart," said Giles.


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