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Manchester United legend George Best: hundreds of unseen pictures discovered

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One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.

One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.

One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.Mike Preston starred in an advert with the footballing legend

One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.Mike Preston starred in an advert with the footballing legend

One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.

One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.

Manchester United and Northern Ireland football legend George Best

Manchester United and Northern Ireland football legend George Best

George Best, ex-Manchester United footballer, smiling with bruised eye

George Best, ex-Manchester United footballer, smiling with bruised eye

Football legend George Best pictured in 1990

Football legend George Best pictured in 1990

George Best and his mother Annie

George Best and his mother Annie

George Best has a drink in a Belfast bar

George Best has a drink in a Belfast bar

George Best, during the Northern Ireland v England match in October 1966

George Best, during the Northern Ireland v England match in October 1966

Football legend George Best pictured in January 1964

Football legend George Best pictured in January 1964

Football legend George Best pictured in January 1964

Football legend George Best pictured in January 1964

Manchester United legend George Best

Manchester United legend George Best

Benfica's Goalkeeper Jose Henrique (left) races back to his goal in a vain attempt to stop George Best (right) of Manchester United from scoring his team's second goal in the the European Cup final at Wembley, 29th May 1968. United eventually won 4-3 after extra time.

Benfica's Goalkeeper Jose Henrique (left) races back to his goal in a vain attempt to stop George Best (right) of Manchester United from scoring his team's second goal in the the European Cup final at Wembley, 29th May 1968. United eventually won 4-3 after extra time.

George Best pictured with Pat Jennings

George Best pictured with Pat Jennings

Football legend George Best pictured at Windsor Park

Football legend George Best pictured at Windsor Park

George Best in training for Manchester United

George Best in training for Manchester United

Football legend George Best

Football legend George Best

George Best advertising Cookstown Sausages

George Best advertising Cookstown Sausages

George Best relaxes with a cup of coffee as he waits for the action in Bulgaria to begin

George Best relaxes with a cup of coffee as he waits for the action in Bulgaria to begin

George Best footballer in Manchester United kit

George Best footballer in Manchester United kit

George Best in action for Manchester United

George Best in action for Manchester United

George Best: Manchester United and Northern Ireland Legend

George Best: Manchester United and Northern Ireland Legend

George Best puts pressure on Gordon Banks as he prepares to clear the ball from the England penalty area in the 1971 international at Windsor Park.

George Best puts pressure on Gordon Banks as he prepares to clear the ball from the England penalty area in the 1971 international at Windsor Park.

George Best with Lawrie Sanchez

George Best with Lawrie Sanchez

George Best

George Best

One of the images from a collection of George Best memorabilia which has been found in a bedroom wardrobe at a house in Worsley, Greater Manchester.

Mike Preston was just seven years old when he met George Best. The once-in-a-lifetime moment came about when his father Derek, a Manchester-based photographer who had built a friendship with the legendary footballer, needed a young boy to pose in an advertisement.

At the time he was not aware of the significance of that day. It is only now, after he discovered hundreds of never-before-seen pictures of the former Manchester United star, that the father-of-two says he fully appreciates how special it was.

Mike says the discovery has inspired him to set up a website — The Best Photographs of the 60s — featuring his father’s work with the Belfast Boy because it brought up that wonderful childhood memory.

He also said he wanted to share that memory as well as dozens of other moments with the Best family so they could have more keepsakes of the man revered by millions of football fans around the world.

Mike said: “Dad took pictures of George with the family and I think they would absolutely love them if they don’t already have copies.

“We knew my father had kept a few pictures of George but nothing to the extent we found. There is such a vast quantity.

“There are literally hundreds of photographs and negatives.

“I think they (the Best family) would absolutely love them.”

The precious images were unearthed following the death of Mike’s father in October. They had lay hidden in a wardrobe at the family’s Worsley home for more than three decades.

The 45-year-old, who lives in Astley, also uncovered a number 11 Northern Ireland football shirt worn by Best during the 1970s which he plans to auction.

Mike said he knew his father had a friendship with Best but never realised the level of trust that must have existed to allow him to take such candid shots.

“There was some really special pictures among the ones we found,” he said.

“There are some which you normally would not see — a professional footballer playing in the streets with kids. They (the kids) must have just shouted at him to kick a ball and he must have just gone across and done it.

“That’s just the sort of lad he was, he was such a genuine person. I think my father and George formed quite a good relationship. I think George obviously trusted him.”

It was this trust which led to Derek being chosen by Best to be the official photographer on a number of commercial shoots.

Derek photographed a 1970s ad campaign called Best Crisps and also shot all the pictures for Best’s clothing boutique in Manchester. He also shot the advert for Stylo footballing products which featured a young Mike.

Belfast Telegraph