Another league title win gave Busby a further crack at the European Cup, which meant so much to the club and they progressed to meet Benfica at Wembley in the final. His talent was obvious from the beginning and he was seldom without a ball at his feet, honing his skills.
He returned briefly to the reserves before being recalled to play against Burnley in December and the youngster scored his first goal for the club in a comprehensive victory.
Hamburg v Eintracht Frankfurt 01.12.1979 (Keegan) One man who disagreed however was Manchester United scout Bob Bishop, who, after watching George play, sent a telegram to Manchester United's manager Matt Busby. George’s career at Hibs came to an end in October 1980 after just four First Division appearances. George Best at Hibernian. “The marriage between George Best and Hibernian is over,” announced Tom Hart, who emphasised the point by sweeping his hand across a table of glasses to send them crashing to the ground. In a home match against Rangers in December, Best played a blinder. Despite his wayward tendencies, George was still 'box office' and his team-mates sympathised with his 'goldfish bowl' existence.
In 2006, Belfast International Airport was renamed the George Best International Airport in his honour and his signature was incorporated into the logo. Although he did play the game and was a useful player, he left after a short period and went to the football playing Lisnasharragh Secondary alongside his close friends. Best’s career had taken a major nosedive but his celebrity was as potent as ever.
George played in a further eight games, including a Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic which culminated with Eddie Turnbull being replaced by Willie Ormond. On a glorious evening in London, United won 4-1 although the 90 minutes ended with the teams level at one apiece. After leaving Manchester United in 1974 he turned out for a number of clubs and enjoyed a productive period in the USA. His last game was a 2-0 win against Falkirk and Hibs made him captain for the day. Best’s struggles with alcohol would go on to plague him for years to come, ultimately resulting in his death at the age of 59 in 2005. February was a disastrous month for both George and the club. With time hanging heavy on his hands whilst staying at the North British Hotel (Now the Balmoral), George turned to drink.
This website and its associated newspaper are members of Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). George Best departs.
He made his debut in the green and white jersey at Love Street against St Mirren on 24 November 1979, and Paisley had never witnessed so many press photographers behind the goal.
He then starred in the pre-Christmas game against Rangers which Hibs won 2-1 thanks to goals from Tony Higgins and Colin Campbell. It almost did, but the Dons, under Alex Ferguson and Pat Stanton pipped Celtic, winning the championship with a 5-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road.
His talent was obvious from the beginning and he was seldom without a ball at his feet, honing his skills. If you can add to any historical article, perhaps with special memories, a favourite story or the results of your original research, the Hibernian Historical Trust would love to hear from you. It’s season 1979/1980, and with just one win from their opening 14 league fixtures, Hibernian are rooted to the foot of the Scottish Premier Division.
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