In memory of George Best, on the first anniversary of his death

Words do not do justice to the genius of the man who passed away on the 25th November last year. But we tried. Below are the poems written at the time of his death and some written since.
For a full list, experiment with the search box on the home page : try typing in ‘George Best’, ‘Belfast Boy’, ‘Georgie’, ‘5th Beatle’ etc

Links to just some of the poems on the site :
The Best Years of Our Lives Crispin Thomas
The Belfast Boy Sammy Sparkle
Simply The Best Mark Merriman
Remember The Football Andy Lockett
Georgie Best Steve Wickham
Fizz in Heaven Alan McKean
Wizard of the worldly game Alan McKean
The George Best Rhapsody Jason Grant
A Match Made In Heaven Janet Clare
George Best Brendan O’Hare
Passing Time Mike Dunne
Belfast boy Thomas Jones
Ballad for the Belfast Boy Patrick B. Osada
To George, with love Clik the mouse

A link to :
The George Best Foundation

And a selection below :

To George, with love

I cried for you last night

At this anniversary time, your loss is heightened
And I wept again
As your father choked back the tears, when prefacing the closing credits:
“I’d love to see him come running in through that door”.
Amen to that.

There was no dignity in your decline
And for many
You were a sober reminder
Of which way not to turn

But it was your turns out on the pitch
That mesmerised
And that we all tried to memorise
For it didn’t matter which team we supported –
We all wanted to be Pelé or Bestie
No-one else
Not really …
Local heroes of course …
But when it came to the big moment
The time to really impress
There’d be 10 Georgie Bests
And another wannabe, stuck complainingly in a keepers jersey
There’d be choppers dumped behind the goal
Guarded by a pile of discarded Parkas
And out on the pitch, in a game of copycat, replicated everywhere –
Studded Stylo boots, twisting and turning
Those were the days –
And you were the epitomé

It’s obvious how proud your family are
Likewise your native city
With the George Best Belfast City Airport –
But not one aircraft, could take off as quick as you
And not even Concorde
Could drown out the ovations
On any matchday, nor the day of your funeral
As you took that last runway to the sky.

Last night I bet we all cried at the memory of you.

On watching a documentary of the same name last night on Channel 4.
George Best died on November 25th 2005.

I was very impressed with the dignity of George’s family.
They have set up The George Best Foundation : to provide charitable funds for research into liver disease and alcoholism as well as supporting the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among young people through participation in soccer.

Some notable witticisms credited to George :

“If I had been born ugly, you never would have heard of Pelé”.

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

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

“I used to go missing a lot…Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World…”

“Pelé called me the greatest footballer in the world. That is the ultimate salute to my life.”

“Remember me for the football.”

Bags I be Bestie

“Bags I be Bestie!” the cry would resound,
As impromptu goalposts were flung on the ground.
And twenty young lads would chase after the ball
Without much positional foresight at all.
And Greavesie and Hurley would go chin to chin
Over whether the ball hit the post or went in.
But Bestie would show what the game was about,
Swiv’lling those hips with his shirt hanging out,
Actually hearing the thund’ring acclaim
Reserved for the few who had mastered the game.
For Charlton piledrivers showed consummate skill,
But rounding poor Banksie was more of a thrill,
And even your Mam was aware of George Best,
The long-haired magician who always impressed,
Selling the dummy with effortless ease,
A drop of the shoulder and shake of the knees.
And then the bell sounded, like shattering glass,
And red-faced and sweaty we trooped back to class.
Oh, wonderful times that flew by in a blur,
Bags I be Bestie – but none of us were.

© Peter Goulding 25th November 2005

Thanks George

Still, They Talk Of Him.

In the betting shops and workmans clubs
Still, they talk of him
In the paper shops and match day pubs
Still, they talk of him

A spindly looking young fella
Who tore yer team apart
Then and only then you knew
What you’d seen seen was art

Chopper thought he had him
It was but a dream
He tantalized us then chastized us
On that field of green

At Craven Cottage one Boxing Day morning
I saw and wanted more
Of what was then the best on show
Charlton, Best and Law

As I sat on a strangers shoulders
So I could see the match
The beauty of such stars on show
Was simply where its at

As a generation grew in confidance
Then lets its hair grow long
We took to taking new idols
Through football, films and song

No more short back and sides for us
We changed the way we dressed
We wanted to be just like he
The beautiful George Best

In the betting shops and workmans clubs
Still, they talk of him
In the paper shops and match day pubs
Still, they talk of him

© kjp raymond 2005

Goodnight George, may your God go with you.

George Best (1946-2005)

United had balding Englishman Bobby Charlton,
flaxen-haired Scot Dennis Law,
and later, mop-topped Welshman Mark Hughes.
All three served United steadfastly and well.
–But there’ll be only one wee Georgie Best,
the dark Belfast boyo,
a wizard of the game,
simply the Best.

© Christopher T. George 2005

George Best R.I.P.

One world
One game
One man

Just one man, mourned like no other
Mourned, as father, son, brother
Mourned, as husband, cousin, lover

Mourned, by millions ….. as football genius

And mourned already and often
For the all-too-early retirement
The alcoholic abuse, the wasted years

But George celebrated life
And we celebrated his talent
So from here on in – we’ll cherish the memories
For anyone who was ever privileged enough to see him play – was privileged indeed

Georgie porgie, kissed the girls and made them ….
And we sighed too, oh, to be like him, onfield and off
For every touch of the ball, was like a lover’s kiss
Tender and tempting
Followed by an exhilarating flourish
Each shimmy, a tantalising tango
Each drop of the shoulder, a champagne moment

We celebrate the fifth Beatle
The first football megastar –
Unfortunately, too fond of a jar
But blissfully – he put the beauty, into the Beautiful Game
And as for the name?
So appropriate

God bless you, George –
You brought so much pleasure and inspiration

© Clik the mouse

note :

George Best helped Manchester United win the First Division title in 1965 and 1967 and the European Cup in 1968. His role in the team’s success was recognised by his becoming the European Footballer of the Year in 1968.

Best made 466 appearances for the Old Trafford club, scoring a total of 178 goals.

He also won 37 caps – scoring nine goals – for Northern Ireland.

He once quipped: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered!”

George Best 1946-2005.

Final Goal.

You danced around
in your prime,
but even you
could never hope to

© barrie haughton

Oh Georgie

Oh Georgie, you were the wizard of the ball,
What happened to the magic that you conjured for us all,
A drop of the shoulder, taking your man,
Scoring goals like only you can.

Oh Georgie, it was all too short,
And you never learned the lessons you were taught,
You lived a life of celebrity,
Discarding the gift God gave to thee.

Oh Georgie, the stunning goal, the perfect pass,
Are blurred remembrances at the bottom of a glass,
Wine, women, whiskey and more wine,
Meant more to you than earthly time.

Oh Georgie, where have you gone,
Be it Heaven or Hell, it’s done, my son,
You cheated death with more lives than a cat,
But you raise your glass and drink to that.

Oh Georgie, it’s time for goodbye,
We will miss you, we will, but who will cry,
The tears that roll down will be for lost talent at rest,
That superstar talent, rest in peace Georgie Best.

© Glenn

Remember The Football

Prince of players, dark-haired Red Devil –
Ladies’ man, but none could compete with
The lure of a drink…He never won the Cup,
Never graced the World Cup; always on the
Edge, a pop idol who personified the era of
Style with a supreme confidence, when the
Ball was at his feet – Man about Town, with
Looks for the girls, and skills for the guys.

He blazed a trail for the maverick generation –
Stars all – but none shone brighter than Georgie.
Fifth Beatle, hot wheels, Miss Worlds – lived his
Life to the full; fame was a burden, and a boon.
It brought untold wealth to a lonely Belfast boy
Who held court every Majorcan summer, and
Found solace in the sauce when things got bad.
And there was always another bird on hand…

Sir Matt failed to tame him; a child of his time,
Of vodka and wine; when it got too much he
Ran for cover – Was it a tragedy, a waste ?
Well, the memories were sweet – of marvellous
moments on the Old Trafford stage, when life
stood still, and George did the biz. Even later,
A swansong at Fulham, and in L.A. – the flawed
Genius as self-parody, once the booze took over.

Jailbird, briefly – in stir at Christmas, how the
Tabloids delighted in his downfall; a shabby
Pathetic existence, culminating in ‘Wogan’, say
No more – but then, a revival – of sorts – playing
Gigs with Marsh and Greaves; tales of old days
Enacted for new audiences – plus the odd book,
Or two. And as he made his way off the big pitch,
We remembered the football – the Best thing of all.

© Andy Lockett 2006

Georgie Best

Gifted Player
Eternal Gift
Ordinary man
Genius on the pitch
Incredible skill
Extraordinary man

Belfast Boy
East Belfast
The Best Irish Footballer

© Steve Wickham

Fizz in Heaven

Memo to The Boss:
Get out the bottle of fizz,
Georgie’s come to play.
Lifestyle choices can’t hurt now,
Just remember the football.

© Alan McKean November 2005

Wizard of the worldly game


The World’s game
Lay at your feet,
And you treated it mercilessly
The field of green was yours.

Champagne Georgie.
A character
A charmer
A prat.

You made your choices,
For better, for worse.

Was the life worth price?
Only you can judge.
Now your name joins the list
Of players gone, but not forgotten.

But remember George,

Wizards never die.

© Alan McKean November 2005

See you George
There’ll be some Fizz waiting for you in heaven.

The George Best Rhapsody

Another bright new day,
Boy kicking a ball down Burren Way
Who was this boy, just watch him run and play
Time to cross the sea and make a brand new start
The family wave goodbye and tears from a mother’s loving heart.

He played with feet of gold
Just like a wizard from days of old
Go Georgie Go and score that goal
For the glory of United heart & soul.

A new dawn arrived at Old Trafford in 63
Playing the game he loved for all to see
A football king in red better than all the rest
To the Stretford End, the Messiah they called Best.

The crowning glory came in 68 down Wembley way
European champions in the greatest game he ever played
Up the 39 Steps, 100,000 fans sang his name
Holding the Cup up high, heroes are born not made.

Back in Belfast now time to come back home
The greatest footballer the world has ever known
Forever Georgie Boy the eternal number eleven
Playing the beautiful game up above in heaven.

© Jason Grant
“George Best was the greatest footballer to ever grace the beautiful game. His memory and legacy will live in the hearts and minds of football fans forever. The words and later song came out of the heartfelt loss and sorrow that millions felt at his passing, this is to say thanks and God Bless you George.”

A Match Made In Heaven

A shining light went out today.
Bright defiant light that lost its way.
Heavenly imp, touched by angels.
Blessed are we who saw him play.

Red and blue, Orange and Green.
All colours are blended by tears.
United now in loss and regret,
For so many wasted years.

Dream of every would-be star.
Much the best we’d ever seen.
We shall not think of you as dead.
You’ve just been capped for Heaven’s team.

Think of the line-up of that team!
Matthews, Violet and the rest.
What great games can be imagined
Now they can select the best.

No sad lament to bring him home,
Its ‘Belfast Boy’ the angels sing.
A heavenly chorus joins the chant,
Now Georgie Best is on the wing.

© Janet Clare

George Best

When once a league of mourners had gathered all around,
Their purpose and their reason to recall their most profound.
With all the preparations for Goodbye’s to life’s sweet guest,
That certain league of mourners were grieved to lose The Best.

At home in Northern Ireland, George’s vacant body lay…
His memory is legend, and his Spirit ‘Shone’ that day.
So when you feel downhearted and nothing seems the same,
Remember George is listening; he will speak with you again.
The Spirit lives forever, and is there for you and me,
With a Spirit such as Georgie’s – He will bless you … wait and see.

You touched our world with Genius, as only you could do,
It was your zest and flavour though – that brought the world to You!

Time ‘is’ a mighty healer – although I dare to say…
That as time slowly passes bye, we’ll still think of you and pray!

To your special friends and family, the loss is Heaven’s gain,
The links that God has broken will be
Will be mended once again.

Shining up in heaven, is sure to bring you Joy,
‘Cause heaven is forever, and Home to Georgie Boy.

Memories are precious – though sometimes often raw,
How special are those memories for the Best the world had saw.
I had never met you Georgie, but hope to one fine day,
When you meet my family though, please tell them we’re ‘Okay.’

Now banquet in the splendour, that God’s prepared for you,
And know on earth that you were loved by everyone you knew.
For those who never got to meet you, I have only this to say,
I had never met you either George, Trust God we will one day.

© Brendan O’Hare

Inspired by the beauty of George’s genius, I wrote these words. Also having lost my sister in a similar way made me want to do everything I could to help ease the burden of George’s family and glossary of friends. This poem connects George to us and offers assurance to everyone – Brendan O’Hare (Author)

Passing Time

I lived in Chorlton as a kid
near Busby’s rising stars –
we’d try to catch a glimpse of them
and bagsy their fast cars.

One summer evening cycling home
from dad’s allotment I
saw Georgie Best in his white Jag
and shirtsleeves driving by;

over the hill by Chorlton Baths
he swept, not hurriedly
and quickly disappeared from view
quite unaware of me.

I stood transfixed then looked around
for someone I could share
this moment with but I was all alone
except for birdsong in the air.

© mike dunne 2005

I grew up in Old Trafford but this was the first time I ever saw George Best, before ever going to see him play, which I did many times later.

George Best

George Best was an artist of a footballer who’s canvas was the grass,
For there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do with the ball and with a shimmy of his hips he’d put defenders on their ass,
He was perhaps the most gifted player of all time yes georgie had it all,
For he was a genius a maverick and a legend he was that and so much more.

he was born in belfast on 22nd may 1946 and made his utd debut in 1963,
And it was against the albion that this teenager terrorised their defence for the special 1 had arrived for everyone to see,
The swinging 60’s were in full flow and with his film star looks he didnt seem out of place,
Couple that with his charm and he was a beacon for every journalist as he filled columns of newspaper space.

He was European player of the year in 1968 when utd were the 1st English side to win the European cup
But it wasnt just what he did it was the way that he did it that made the football world sit up
I guess George played and lived life in the fast lane it may have been his downfall but he was different from the rest
Oh if only he could have gone past nightclubs like he could defenders but that was Georgie Best.

Folke law has it on entrance to heaven a young utd fan had to take the impossible test because St.Peter wouldn’t let him in,
He was to either put the Atlantic ocean in a bucket or stop George drinking, gambling and womenising that choice was up to him,
He paused for a moment, thought about it, how bigs the bucket? he replied it seemed the easier of the two,
for no one could ever change bestie, if scores of females including a string of miss worlds couldn’t how could me or you.

Many believed George Best wasted his talent in fact a porter once said to him, Mr Best where did it all go wrong,
The fact was George attained so much more than others during his shortened career and it was a joy to watch when bestie was on song,
Perhaps he could of gone on for longer however he didn’t but what he gave us was special and never to be forgot,
For this boy from belfast maywell of been touched by the devil but he was blessed by God because he gave George Best the lot.

© paul collins

Belfast boy

Georgie they called him the Belfast boy
He gave the Stretford end so much joy
Pele said he was the best
We’re just glad he was so blessed

Busby brought him from the emerald isle
He left the defenders in a pile
He was just a skinny cocky kid
He would get into any team Milan, Benfica or Real Madrid
He had so much talent he could use either foot or his head
But he drank too much and got many women into bed

He lost his life to the drink
And let’s just take a moment to think
Of that team we used to adore
With three legends Charlton Best and Law.

© Thomas Jones, aged 15, 13/12/05

Ballad for the Belfast Boy

The first time we saw Georgie
He was just a skinny kid
Brought in for the missing Babes
We remember what he did –

He was the man…

His footwork was audacious –
He could leave a team for dead –
Defenders were bamboozled
As he scored with foot or head –

Played like a dream…

He soon became top scorer
And the Player of the Year,
When he’d turned just twenty-two
He was better than his peers –

He was the Best!

He found a lot of new friends
And the ladies loved his eyes –
He built himself a new home
But there was no where he could hide –

He was a star…

He started missing training
And the press were on his case :
Reporting on his love life,
All that clubbing , such a waste –

He did it all…

So he found himself a secret
Way to keep on feeling high –
He did n’t need a dentist’s chair,
George was rarely ever dry –

Drink was his friend…

His fame brought many changes
And the vultures came to call,
Like Greavesie he hit benders
But he did n’t need a ball –

Life was a blur…

The King grew fat in Vegas
While the Beatles came undone –
All those swinging days were ending
And the end had just begun –

George walked away…

He tried to stop his drinking
And to be his charming self;
The wagon left without him –
Found a bottle on the shelf –

Bringing him down…

Last place we saw Georgie
Was a tabloid photograph :
Look and see what drink has done
As it stole away my life…

Shankley was right!

Pundits replayed his talents,
Critics remembered the booze,
Fans recalled a complex man
Who always hated to lose…

Hated to lose…

And how the fans applauded
As they crowded his home ground,
Tribute to a genius,
On a banner, written down :

Simply the Best …
Georgie was Best.

© Patrick B. Osada 02/12/05

I don’t often write poems about sport, but felt compelled to write this one.
For more about my work please visit my website at :

Source: https://footballpoets.org/news/2006/11/28/in-memory-of-george-best-on-the-first-anniversary-of-his-death/