09/12/2002

George Best honoured for lifetime achievement

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland football star, George Best, has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year show.

Best plied his trade at a time when football first started to appear regularly on the nation's television screens, and when British football was at the centre of the world game. His performances during his time with Manchester United led to him being dubbed the "Fifth Beetle" in a career that saw him voted European Player of the Year in 1968 – the year that the Manchester United team lifted the European Cup.

Receiving his latest award, George said: "It's lovely to be recognised in this manner so long after having finished my football career."

He added that he had achieved everything he had dreamed of as a child and had played for the best team in Europe and with some of the finest players in the world. He paid tribute to his father, and to the former Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby whom he said had been instrumental in shaping his career.

Although his career was blighted by alcohol addiction, as a player his talents were undeniable. He earned 37 international caps for Northern Ireland and he picked up two championship medals and one European Cup win with Manchester United.

Recovering from a recent liver transplant, Best looked frail as he received the award from television presenter, and former England Captain, Gary Lineker, who said he was delighted to present the award to "one of the greatest footballers of all time".

(SP)

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