Is a Cregagh museum the ‘Best’ tribute for George?
A campaign is already brewing for Castlereagh Council to buy footballing legend George Best’s childhood home to transform it into a museum celebrating east Belfast’s most famous son.
The three-bedroom terrace at number 16 Burren Way in the Cregagh Estate, where arguably the world’s greatest footballer kicked his first ball, went up for sale Tuesday with a £165,000 price tag attached.
Already calls are being made for Castlereagh Council to snap up the home, where George spent his early years and where his funeral cortege left from after his death in 2005, and turn it into a museum celebrating the footballer’s life.
Irene Williamson, vice-president of the Cregagh Community Association, said it would be “wonderful” if the council bought the home of her former Lisnasharragh school pal George.
“There’s been lots of talk about it around here and it’s what the community here want. It would be wonderful. It’s something he deserves. I don’t think it would take mega bucks to turn it into a museum. It’s time we recognised the talent we have here, the way other countries do.
“It would be great if the council could buy it. Tourists already come down here to see the [George Best] mural and go to the house so it would be great to turn it into something fitting. There is so much memorabilia about George and people would travel from all over I think to see it.”
The Burren Way house was home to the Best family for the past 60 years and was lived in by George’s dad Dickie until his death in April this year. It is understood it was a stipulation of Dickie’s that the house be put up for sale.
Mrs Williamson, who was a neighbour to ‘wee Dickie’ for decades, said she thought the house being turned into a museum would act as an inspiration to football-mad youngsters and put east Belfast on the map.
“The mural already looks over the kids playing football and gives them inspiration, as George looks over them. I think this would also be an inspiration. It would also give employment to the local area and boost the morale of the community. It would really put east Belfast on the map as a tourist destination. It would be a great opportunity for the council,” she said.
Castlereagh councillor Michael Long said he would bring the idea up with council officers before next week’s council meeting.
“It would be interesting as a museum. There’s an awful lot of people coming through Cregagh already. I’ll raise it with council officials to see if it can be done,” he said.