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George best seller at Manchester football museum gift shop

By Jill Goligher

Manchester is renowned for sporting heros who fans have idolised for years.

The Belfast-born star is scoring high in Manchester where his memorabilia outsells all others in a museum shop.

Best, who shot to fame playing for the Red Devils, went on to become one of the greatest footballing stars of all-time.

At the National Football Museum in the north west city, it isn't current stars such as Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney who had the tills ringing this Christmas period.

Instead, Best memorabilia was by far the most popular when it came to festive gifts sold at the museum's shop.

The winger, who became a poster boy off the pitch as well as on it in the 1960s, outsold all others - including 1966 World Cup replica trophies and retro shirts.

Paul Evans, head of retail at the museum, said: "It's amazing that after all these years George Best is still revered by football fans."

Among the top-selling Best products were framed pictures.

An abstract of the star by Manchester artist Fanny Gogh has proved a popular item.

Also included in the memorabilia at the museum is a framed George Best signed boot, priced at £2,000.

Evans added: "Football has come a long way since George Best graced the pitch, but for many his on-pitch talent and off-pitch personality mean he is still hugely popular today."

In 13 years, Best only played 37 times for Northern Ireland, scoring nine goals.

After making his debut for Manchester United aged 17, he scored 179 goals from 470 appearances over 11 years, and was the club's top goalscorer in the league for five consecutive seasons.

Best was one of the first celebrity footballers, famously earning the nickname 'El Beatle' in 1966.

But his subsequent extravagant lifestyle led to various problems, most notably alcoholism, which he suffered from for the rest of his life.

He died aged just 59 on November 25, 2005.

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