New George Best mural in east Belfast estate where the Northern Ireland and Manchester United legend grew up

A new mural to George Best looks set to bring even more tourists to the estate where he grew up.

The mural, of the iconic footballer on international duty for Northern Ireland in 1969, has been getting rave reviews since it was unveiled.

It was painted on a gable wall in the Cregagh estate where Best grew up, and where fans of the player can also visit his childhood home.

Last summer, the Best family home was retro-refurbished as a tourist attraction to look as it would have in 1961 when a 15-year-old George Best left Belfast to follow his football dreams in Manchester.

New mural to Manchester United and Northern Ireland international legend George Best in the Cregagh estate, east Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The striking mural is the handiwork of Dee Craig from Belfast Mural Arts, who also recently painted a mural celebrating the history and heritage of Whitehead and another, in 2020, at Aldergrove Flying Station to mark Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday.

The mural overlooks Cregagh Green, the football pitch where Best’s talent first flourished as a schoolboy in the 1950s.

In 2017, Belfast City Council signed a legal document pledging to protect the green space “in perpetuity”.

Mr Craig was the first to share an image of the mural online saying: “George Best back at home, Cregagh Estate, Belfast.”

Our Wee Country shared the same image and got a very good reaction from Northern Ireland fans.

Ian Evans said: “That is absolutely fantastic, and thoroughly deserved – what a footballer.”

Andrew Topley commented: “Fantastic likeness to George ... it’s a pity they didn’t include this artist in the making of that disastrous statue at National Stadium.”

William Simpson said: “True likeness of George, beautiful painted.”

Norman McGladdery said that the artwork was befitting of the player who he said was “simply the best”.

Neil Dylan Caldwell wrote: “No shortage of Van (Morrison) and George Best murals to choose from in East Belfast. Incredible.”

A statue of George Best was unveiled on his birthday on May 22, 2019 at Olympia leisure centre, next to Windsor Park while in 2006 Belfast City Airport was renamed George Best City Airport in his honour.

Best was a prodigy who went on to become one of the world’s greatest footballers of all time, a marauding presence with Manchester United and the Northern Ireland international team.

He inspired the Old Trafford outfit to win two league titles and the European Cup in 1968 while still a young player.

But his career at United was cut short following a battle with alcohol, the pressures of stardom and global fame.

He died on November 25, 2005 aged 59.

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