Player Pages - a tribute to great players from the period
1965/66 to 1979/80, particularly highlighting their appearance in football
1965/66 Reddish Maid
International Footballers of Today, card 17.
Best was born in Belfast on May 22nd, 1946. He developed into undoubtedly
the greatest individual player in England in the modern era. One of the best
George Best internet tribute pages is
George made his debut for Manchester United against West Bromwich on September 14th, 1963, aged 17 years and 4 months. Six months later he made his debut for Northern Ireland, being still under 18 years of age.
His entry into football cards during the period covered by this website occurred in 1965 when he was selected as one of 25 world players to be featured in an excellent set produced by Reddish Maid.
In the period from 1963 to 1968 George Best was considered to have been at his peak as a football player. Sadly his 'decline' is dated by some to begin when he was aged only 22.
In 1967/68 A&BC Gum issued their Star Players set of 55, now better known as 'Black backs'. While George had appeared in the black and white photographs of the 1966/67 A&BC collection of Footballers (set size of 220) the black backs showed George in full colour.
In the same year his Typhoo Tea card states 'Signed a professional for his present club on his 17th birthday in 1963, George Best played an important role in his team's 5-1 win over Benfica (Lisbon) in February 1966 and the press christened him 'El Beatle'. Voted third in the 'Footballer of the Year' Award in May 1966, he already has 13 full Northern Ireland caps to his credit and is hailed as one of the outstanding World-class footballers of the future'.
Two years later his Typhoo Tea card states 'George Best joined Manchester United in May 1963 and is now one of the world's most famous footballers. With 13 full caps to his credit he has often played a decisive role in many important matches. After his third place in the 1966 'Footballer of the Year' Award he won the award in 1968. His versatile and individual style of play has now put him in the front rank of 'all-time greats' in the game.'
In the 1967-68 season George Best actually won both the Footballer of the Year and the European Player of the Year trophies. In 1969/70 his picture graced the front cover of the FKS Wonderful World of Soccer Stars in Action album.
He was a staunch supported of the Manchester United side. He is quoted in Shoot's London Football No.1 Special as saying "All I know is that London hasn't had a League title look-in for quite a few years. The game isn't, well... so dedicated down there". Did he actually say these words? He is also quoted as saying "I get a fair deal from London crowds, I must admit. That's why I love playing in London. But your teams don't seem to get real encouragement from the fans. Seems the crowds get despondent if their side is a goal down, especially to us - yet that's when the cheering and urging should get even louder".
The 1970/71 Lyons Maid card sings his praises "George is one of the greatest all-round players in the world. A genius of dribble, his shooting also matches the best. United signed him when he was 15, giving him his senior chance in 1963/64. In six seasons he has 100 goals, his 28 in 1967/68 making him top-level League scorer. Now he's a fixture in the Northern Ireland team".
By the early 1970s Best was reportedly becoming disinterested in the game. His 1971/72 IPC Magazine card states 'A brilliant and exciting entertainer with a football and scorer of fantastic goals for United and Ireland. Born in Belfast, the wee lad joined United as an apprentice in 1960 and won his first Irish cap before his 18th birthday. He's now a No. 1 personality.'
The 1971/72 Top Sellers card states 'Perhaps the most brilliant ball player in Britain, with 'Pele-type' following. Can weave his way past the tightest defences, but is inclined to be termperamental... First made name in Belfast schoolboy football".
The 1972/73 Barratt card states 'Perhaps the greatest footballer in the game. Has magic in both feet, and is the biggest draw in Britain today. Has allied his skill to getting goals now. Temperamental, gets into trouble often, but is often the victim of vicious tackling. Voted the No. 1 player in the world by most sports journalists'.
In January 1974 George Best left Manchester United, aged only 27 years. His final League match for United was against Queens Park Rangers on New Year's Day 1974. In total, he made 361 League appearances for United scoring 136 goals.
After leaving Manchester United he played a small number of games for a number of clubs for many years, including in the United States in the late 70s.
The 1977/78 Topps card of Best in Fulham strip states 'George proved that, unlike boxers, you can make a comeback as a footballer. The biggest box-office draw in soccer looked as if his career in the League was finished until Fulham gave him a contract in 1976. A world-class player'. George ended up making 42 appearances for Fulham in the 1976/77 and 1977/78 seasons.
In a set of cards issued in 1977/78, purporting to be Bobby Charlton's selections of World Cup Aces, Best is described as having 'The best ball control of any British player with an eye for goals. Premature departure from big time football didn't hide the fact he had a period when he was uncatchable in the box'.
George Best died on November 25th, 2005 and will be sadly missed by all those who remember him and those who have become aware of the contribution he made to the great game of football. Thanks George, and farewell!
1967/68 A&BC Gum
Star Players (black backs), card 13.
featuring George Best, issued in the period 1965/66 to 1979/80
(note: this is an incomplete list, and will updated as new information is obtained).
|1965/66||Reddish Maid||International Footballers of Today||Northern Ireland||17 of 25|
|1966/67||A&BC Gum||Footballers, Series 2 (111-220)||Manchester United||147 of 220|
|1967/68||A&BC Gum||Star Players||Manchester United||13 of 55|
|1967/68||Carrs Biscuits||Soccer cards||Manchester United||12 of 20|
|1967/68||FKS Publishers||The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||152 of 330|
|1967/68||IPC Magazines / Fleetway||Lion & Champion Album of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||18 of 110|
|1967/68||Typhoo Tea||International Football Stars, 1st series||Manchester United||4|
|1967/68||Typhoo Tea||International Football Stars, Premium Issue||Manchester United||4 of 24|
|1968/69||A&BC Gum||Footballers, Yellow backs, Series 1 (001-054)||Manchester United||44 of 54|
|1968/69||FKS Publishers||The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||152 of 330|
|1968/69||Longacre Press||Charles Buchan World Stars||Northern Ireland||16|
|1969/70||Anglo Confectionery||Football Quiz||Manchester United||70 of 84|
|1969/70||FKS Publishers||The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||167 of 330|
|1969/70||IPC Magazines / Fleetway||My Favourite Soccer Stars (Blue backs), Lion||Manchester United||7 of 32|
|1969/70||Typhoo Tea||International Football Stars, Premium Issue||Manchester United|
|1969/70||Typhoo Tea||International Football Stars, 2nd series||Manchester United||3|
|1970/71||Anglo Confectionery||World Cup / Learn the Game||Northern Ireland||15|
|1970/71||B.A.B. Products||Shooting Stars||Manchester United|
|1970/71||Barratt & Co||Goldflake Famous Sportsmen||Manchester United||38|
|1970/71||FKS Publishers||The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||197 of 420|
|1970/71||Lyons Maid||Soccer Stars||Manchester United||6 of 40|
|1970/71||Nabisco||Footballers||Manchester United||1 of 24|
|1970/71||Thomson, D.C.||World Cup Stars (Hotspur and Hornet)||Manchester United||66 of 72|
|1971/72||Cadbury / Hartley||Football Stars 1971/72 (Jam Jar lids)||Manchester United|
|1971/72||Cleveland Petrol||Joe Mercer's Great Britain Soccer Squad||Manchester United|
|1971/72||FKS Publishers||The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||181 of 330|
|1971/72||IPC Magazines / Fleetway||My Favourite Soccer Stars (Red backs), Scorcher/Score||Manchester United||31 of 32|
|1971/72||Lyons Maid||International Footballers||Northern Ireland||25 of 40|
|1971/72||Marshall Cavendish||Book of Football Top Teams||Manchester United||177, 331|
|1972/73||Americana||Soccer parade||Manchester United||194 of 340|
|1972/73||Barratt & Co||Soccer Stars||Manchester United||42 of 50|
|1972/73||FKS Publishers||The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars||Manchester United||182 of 330|
|1972/73||The Sun||Gallery of Football Stars, 3D||Manchester United|
|1972/73||Top Sellers||Football 72||Manchester United||216 of 420|
|1973/74||Top Sellers||Football 73||Manchester United||216 of 420|
|1973/74||Typhoo Tea||Football Stars, Premium Issue||Manchester United|
|1973/74||Typhoo Tea||Football Stars||Manchester United||4 of 24|
|1977/78||Americana||Football Special 1977/78||Northern Ireland||364 of 368|
|1977/78||FKS Publishers||Euro Stars||Fulham||69 of 135|
|1977/78||FKS Publishers||Soccer Stars Trump Card game, 1st series (Red)||Manchester United||8 of 32|
|1977/78||Topps Chewing Gum||Footballers - Red back||Fulham||1 of 330|
|1977/78||Topps Chewing Gum||Footballers - Red back||Northern Ireland||243 of|
|1979/80||Ace Sporting Aces||Bobby Charlton's World Cup Aces||Manchester United||E1 of 32|
|1979/80||Sigma Sport Silhouettes||Action Portraits of Famous Footballers||Fulham||4|
|1979/80||The Sun||Soccercards||Manchester United||214 of 1000|
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