Remembering Dickie Best, father of footballing legend George Best

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In 2008, Dickie Best, father of Manchester United great George Best, died while grieving his son who had died a few years before.

Often described by loved ones as “Proud” Dickie, he was George’s best and biggest fan throughout the Northern Irishman’s football career and life.

The “tragic genius” died in 2006 at the age of 59 after a life which was spent battling alcohol addictions and various scandals including domestic violence.

George Best was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 22 May 1946 to Dickie and his wife, Anne. Dickie helped George identify his footballing talent from a young age, which also led to Manchester United noticing the young George’s talent and signing him to their academy.

Best, who was also blessed with good looks, made his debut at the age of 17 for United and became the first celebrity footballer. He was nicknamed “The Beatle” as he had charisma comparable to the famous band, The Beatles.

Dickie attended every of his son’s games while he played for Manchester United from 1963 to 1974. Dickie continued to support his son after he left in 1974. However, life was never the same for George as the first lifestyle took over and his football began to suffer.

George had an alcohol addiction for most of his life. He had a liver transplant in 2002 and later died on 25 November 2005 in London’s Cromwell Hospital from multiple organ failure, aged 59.

Dickie stood by his son through all of his trying times, maintaining his “Proud” persona which fans of his son as well as his loved ones knew him by.

Three years later, at the age of 88, Dickie died of a broken heart.

Loved ones say that Dickie never really got over George’s death a few years ago.

A close friend of his said after his death was announced: “Dickie was never able to fully come to terms with losing him.

“The doctors will record a physical reason for his death, but I have no doubt he died of a broken heart.

“He lost his wife Annie to an alcoholism-related illness in 1978 when she was just 55 and then he had to watch as the same illness claimed the life of his son. It was just simply too much for him.”

His family said in a statement after his death: “Over the years, as everyone knows, Dad had his sorrows to bear but he faced them always with courage and dignity.

“He was a man who took great joy and pride in his family.

“He was an irreplaceable father whose bravery, integrity, wisdom and above all love shaped our lives.”

Dickie was surrounded by his family as he passed away in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald in July 2008. He left behind five children.

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