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Was Northern Ireland's greatest sportsman George Best actually a Cypriot?

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 31/12/2015

Football legend George Best
Football legend George Best
Norman McNarry, the husband of George’s sister

Incredible claims that George Best was actually the love child of a Cypriot couple have been dismissed as "baloney" by the footballer's family in Belfast.

Publications in Cyprus have reported that the late Manchester United legend was the son of a Greek Cypriot woman and a Turkish Cypriot man who shared forbidden love.

Best's family in Northern Ireland last night totally rejected the suggestion that 'The Belfast Boy' was not the biological son of the late Dickie and Anne Best.

Norman McNarry, husband of George's sister Barbara, told the Belfast Telegraph: "The writer of the story would be better sticking to fairytales that are believable rather than this sort of baloney."

The newspaper Kibris referenced sources claiming that Best was the child of a Turkish Cypriot from Lefke and a Greek Cypriot from Limassol but was given up for adoption following his birth in 1946.

Kibris journalist Serhat Incirli told the Cyprus Mail the claims about Best were made by sources after a joke he made on-camera about the footballer playing on a now derelict stadium in the north of the country.

"It all began on Monday when my story on a football stadium in Lysi was aired on Kibris TV," Incirli said.

Incirli has so far declined to reveal his sources. "I was talking about the sorry state the stadium is in today and I joked that George Best and Gordon Banks played on this ground," he said.

"After I made this comment, I received several messages on Facebook from people in Lefke telling me that George Best was in fact Cypriot."

He added: "Best, according to my sources, had a Turkish Cypriot father and a Greek Cypriot mother. She was 16 at the time.

"Neither one of the young couple's families wanted a marriage so they sent the girl to the UK where she gave birth, and the baby was given up for adoption," Incirli said.

In the article it is claimed Best had travelled to Lefke to meet his alleged biological father. According to Best's birth certificate he was born in Belfast on May 22, 1946 and his parents were Richard and Anne Best.

Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph tracked down a copy of the official pink document, hand-written in a barely legible scrawl.

It indicates the name 'Ronald Samuel Best' was initially registered on May 27, five days after his birth, but subsequently changed to one single name, 'George'.

At the time, Mr McNarry said: "It's a grey area as far as we're concerned."

"We can only assume that it was a misprint, or that a mistake has been made and later rectified.

"Maybe the registrar of births got it slightly wrong and changed it after Barbara's dad pointed it out and said he was called George."

Best died in 2005 at the age of 59 following his well documented struggle with alcohol addiction.

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