Before the roaring crowds and showstopping goals, you could have found a young George Best on Cregagh Green.
Stepping back to in time to the 1950s, Cregagh Green Estate’s local football pitch was where it all began.
It was here that the raw, undiscovered talent of the Belfast Boy began to blossom.
And today, the iconic area is continually treasured by dedicated fans and new generations of locals.
Cregagh Green and George Best
As of 2017, the open space will be protected forever, keeping the legacy of George Best alive.
The space is legally protected “in perpetuity” after a legal deed of dedication between Belfast City Council and Fields in Trust.
Part of the Active Spaces Forever programme, Cregagh Green will be preserved to promote physical activity and community participation.
Belfast City councillor Tommy Sanford told the BBC that Fields in Trust visited the site and had a “marvellous day”.
“They actually want to preserve this field so that in future years we might find another George Best”.
Speaking of the striking mural overlooking the pitch, Sandford said:
“He’s actually looking over, watching the kids play.”
It seems only fitting that the mural overlooks budding stars and Belfast boys with the same passion for football.
George Best was discovered by Manchester United’s chief scout for Northern Ireland, Bob Bishop.
Famously, Bishop sent a short telegram to Manchester United manager Matt Busby.
The life-changing telegram simply read:
“I think I’ve found you a genius.”
George Best’s Childhood Home
George Best’s childhood home is just around the corner from Cregagh Estate, situated in Burren Way.
Today, fans from all around the world have the chance to pay tribute to the star with a special stay at number 16 Burren Way.
Offering guests an authentic experience, George’s former bedroom has been recreated to feature 1950s decor and memorabilia.
The brownstone post-war terraced house also features family portraits, Best’s original wardrobe and a transistor radio.
In keeping with the community spirit surrounding Best’s legacy, profits from the B&B are channelled back into the local community.
The house was purchased by East Belfast Partnership. Sarah Douglas, who runs the venture for the housing co-operative told the press:
“Every time I come in here there are cars passing down the street to stop and look at the place where George Best used to live. They (the locals) have had to deal with that throuhg the years so the people say to themselves that we might as well benefit from it as the money goes back into urban regeneration for east Belfast. They have been in overwhelming favour of the B&B idea.”
Though George Best travelled around the globe, his childhood home near Cregagh Estate remained close to heart.
It was here that Best started his final journey to be laid to rest next to his mother Ann Best.
The George Best Hotel
The George Best Hotel is set to celebrate and pay tribute to the life and legacy of the one and only George Best.
The themed hotel will be situated within the former Scottish Mutual Building.
The spectacular building is set to be transformed into an 80-bedroom hotel, offering guests a luxury stay.
Those visiting the hotel will also be able to enjoy an array of fascinating memorabilia within an extensive museum.
Following a similar format to Liverpool’s Shankly Hotel, this Signature Living project will attract visitors from around the world.
Belfast is a city filled with history, character and culture. Also the birth place of George Best himself, it is the perfect location.
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