Belfast Telegraph

Pele tribute to Best in new book

Pele's glowing tribute to the late George Best is one of many paid by footballers and fans alike collected in a new book about the star.

The Brazil legend, who famously declared the Manchester United ace as the best in the world, describes him as a "footballer without comparison" in the foreword to George Best Will Not Be Playing Today.

Another notable contributor is Bishop Desmond Tutu who revealed that stories of Best's derring-do on the field filled the corridors of Robben Island prison during the apartheid era.

The book, which has been years in the making, draws together thousands of messages written about the former European Player of the Year in the wake of his death in 2005.

Sixty books of condolences were filled in Manchester, Belfast and further afield while shirts, flowers and countless other mementoes formed temporary carpets outside Old Trafford, Belfast City Hall and Best's family home in the east of the city.

The new book was compiled by Mark Campbell and Jonathan Hamill from the Ulster Historical Foundation. The pair were given special access to all the tributes and spent years scanning them on to a digital record.

Best's sister, Barbara McNarry, said the end result was something special.

"I am delighted that so many famous people have paid tribute, but particularly touched that so many fans expressed their grief and how they missed George," said Mrs McNarry, who is secretary of the George Best Foundation.

"Without the fans, the book would never have happened."

George Best Will Not Be Playing Today, which was launched at Belfast City Hall, is published by the George Best Foundation and the Ulster Historical Foundation.

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