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George Best Memorial Trophy Goes To Manchester

May 25th, 2010

Manchester United Foundation team scoops trophy

After many months of preparation and excitement, it was a very proud moment to watch the teams representing the George Best Foundation and the Manchester United Foundation walk on to the pitch on Saturday 22nd May at the H & W Welders Football Club.

As the Citybeat Road show team blasted out “Georgie the Belfast Boy”, the players lined up to watch 64 young children each release a George Best Foundation balloon to mark what would have been George’s 64th birthday.

The inaugural George Best Memorial Trophy football match was won by the Manchester United Foundation team following a very tense penalty shootout.

It was equal footing after ten penalties, which led to a sudden death situation. It was a nail biting situation for everyone, but it was the Manchester team who clinched the winning goal.

It was a disappointed George Best Foundation team which left the pitch, but as John Shiels chief Executive from the Manchester United Foundation said, “Everyone was a winner on the day”.

The spirit in which the game was played was outstanding and each and every player is to be congratulated. Norman and I would like to extend our personal thanks to these young men who were outstanding ambassadors not just for both charities, but most importantly for the memory of George Best.

During the 1st leg the Northern Ireland teenagers had a great time in Manchester, whose people have always been supportive of George and now the George Best Foundation. It was a privilege hosting the return leg in George’s native city of Belfast and we are confident that this will become an annual event.

Following the match, the teams and representatives from both charities attended a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Castlereagh Cllr Lawrence Walker. The young players were presented with medals which were specially commissioned by the council to celebrate George Best becoming a Freeman of the Borough in 2002. The room was awash with red and green and following a super meal, a huge’ football pitch’ cake, complete with footballer was carried into the room to the song “When I’m 64”

John Shiels said. “It is a privilege for us to help keep alive the memory of one of the greatest football players who ever lived. All the teenagers entered into the spirit of the event. For the Manchester United Foundation players, the visit to George’s home city is a dream come true”.

What sums it up for me is the sentiment which was expressed by one of the Manchester lads. “Being involved in this has changed my life and I feel honoured to be a part of it”

Both charities work towards motivating and inspiring young people who may not otherwise get the chance to build a better life for themselves. Through initiatives such as the George Best Memorial Trophy, which delivers football and other sports events, these young people are provided with experiences which will hopefully change their lives for the better.

George said. Remember me for my football and that is exactly what we did on 17th March in Manchester and 22nd May in Belfast.

Barbara McNarry
Company Secretary; George Best Foundation