Belfast Telegraph

George Best statue: What do fans say of tribute to Belfast boy

Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

The artist behind the new statue of George Best said he thinks he's "done him proud" after the sculpture was unveiled at Windsor Park yesterday.

Despite unfavourable online comments, Tony Currie, from Downpatrick-based Lecale Bronze, said Best was "instantly recognisable".

"We think we've done him justice and done him proud," the sculptor told the BBC.

"We studied various movie clips, books and just went through different images until we'd settled on an image that was iconic and instantly recognisable."

However, the new statue of the football legend attracted unfavourable comments on social media.

Mooreso1981 wrote: "They should have tried to make it look like him. Would have been better."

Others, including Wendy Hamilton, said the new statue looked more like the Northern Ireland international goalkeeping legend who performed the ceremony: "Did the sculptor work off a photo of Pat Jennings?" she asked.

Craig McGhee suggested: "Get the dragon from GOT [Game of Thrones] to melt it, it's horrible looking, looks nothing like the man."

There were even comparisons to a Hollywood actor. Silvergellar quipped: "Think you've put one up of Kevin Bacon rather than George Best!"

The headline in the Manchester Evening News doesn't read any better. "A statue of George Best has been unveiled - but it looks absolutely ridiculous," the newspaper declared.

Pat Jennings and Gerry Armstrong at George Best statue unveiling. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Pat Jennings and Gerry Armstrong at George Best statue unveiling. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled by Pat Jennings and Barbara McNarry, George Best's sister.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings and Gerry Armstrong former Northern Irish footballers. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
At the unveiling of the statue are Pat Jennings, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Peter McReynolds, Georges sister, Barbara McNarry and artist Tony Currie from Lecale Bronze.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer unveils the statue. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer, Barbara McNarry George Best's sister and football fan Robert Kennedy unveil the statue. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer, Barbara McNarry George Best's sister and football fan Robert Kennedy unveil the statue. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer, Barbara McNarry George Best's sister and football fan Robert Kennedy unveil the statue. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer, Barbara McNarry George Best's sister and football fan Robert Kennedy unveil the statue. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Pictured at the unveiling Pat Jennings former Northern Irish footballer, Barbara McNarry George Best's sister and football fan Robert Kennedy unveil the statue. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/05/2019: George Best statue unveiled in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A bronze statue of football legend George Best has been unveiled. Funded by the public, the statue was created by Belfast sculptor Tony Currie of the Lecale Bronze art group. The life sized statue sits outside the Olympia Leisure Centre - just yards away from Windsor Park where Best played many games for Northern Ireland. Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
George Best (PA)

It even drew comparisons to the infamous statue (left) of another Manchester United number 7, Cristiano Ronaldo.

ARathcoole tweeted: "Did they use the same guy who done the Ronaldo statue?"

The Portuguese star's disastrous sculpture was placed at the airport on his home island of Madeira which, like Belfast City Airport, has been renamed after its football star.

Argentina icon Diego Maradona also had a questionable monument erected in his name, with the face likened to Britain's Got Talent star Susan Boyle.

Perhaps the most bizarre football statue of all, though, was the one of Michael Jackson at Fulham's Craven Cottage stadium, later moved to the National Football Museum in Manchester.

The infamous Ronaldo statue
The infamous Ronaldo statue

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