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Gary Neville signs autographs at the George Best Memorial Tournament

Putting their best foot forward

Young people from Manchester and Belfast join together at Carrington in memory of a true football icon.

| by Daniel Boylan

Putting their best foot forward

A wise man once said: “If man does his best what else is there?” A quotation no more befitting than of our own Belfast boy George Best. Bestie won the hearts of people on both sides of the Irish Sea and it was clear from the turn out for the George Best Memorial Trophy at United’s Carrington Training Ground that his name still draws a crowd.

George's former team mates and present day heroes were out in force to see youngsters from the Belfast-based George Best Foundation take on players from the Manchester United Foundation’s Kickz programme. United legends Alex Stepney, Paddy Crerand and recently retired skipper Gary Neville were all in attendance.

“George Best is part of Old Trafford folklore," said Gary Neville. "It doesn’t matter if you never even saw him play, his name is synonymous with football genius. Manchester United is built on a history of incredible players and Bestie is one of the all-time greats.”

The tournament, now in its second year, aims to give young people involved with both Foundations a life-changing experience. With players from diverse backgrounds making up the sides, the impeccable behaviour and professionalism was a shining example to any team wishing to compete in the name of a true football icon. “This tournament epitomises the spirit of George – lads from the streets of Manchester and Belfast, displaying their passion for football and hopefully building a better future for themselves through their involvement with the Manchester United and George Best Foundations” added Gary.

The George Best Foundation, set up by George’s sister Barbara McNarry, runs workshops on issues such as alcohol and drug abuse.

When speaking of the impact of Best, Manchester United Foundation Chief Executive John Shiels said, “Every match day when fans walk down Sir Matt Busby Way and pass the ‘United Trinity’ you can feel the affection we still have for George Best and I feel in this tournament Bestie’s spirit truly lives on”

Going on to discuss the partnership he said “Both the Manchester United Foundation and George Best Foundation are in the business of inspiring potential and fulfilling dreams and this wonderful tournament allows us to give teenagers from Manchester and Belfast an experience they will never forget.”

With the final score standing at a free flowing 4-4, the stage is certainly set for a hotly anticipated second leg in Belfast in September.

See more images on the Foundation's Facebook page.