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United's unlikely globetrotter

Pin Best played 474 times for Manchester United. Twitter
Best played 474 times for Manchester United. Twitter

United's unlikely globetrotter

After an illustrious 13-year career at Manchester United, George Best dribbled his way across the globe. From South Africa to the United States, Hong Kong to Australia, Best travelled the world the way he knew best: with a ball at his feet.

George Best will always be remembered for his time in a United shirt. With his slaloming runs, phenomenal pace, and impressive goal return (181 in 474 appearances), Best quickly became a Red Devil’s icon and remains a key figure in the legacy of the club’s No. 7 jersey.

Whilst his personal life is well documented, many people remain in the dark about what became of the Northern Irishman after his exit from Old Trafford. In fact, Manchester United is just one of 17 clubs on the winger’s extensive CV. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more unusual stints of Best's journeyman career. 

In 1974, Best flew to Johannesburg for a short-lived loan move with Jewish Guild. After playing five games, he returned to England where he joined Dunstable Town on loan before moving to Stockport County.

In search of a more low-profile lifestyle, he then jetted stateside, joining the Los Angeles Aztecs. Sandwiched between spells in LA were two seasons with Fulham where he scored 10 goals. Nevertheless, not content to settle down, Best then skipped around the North American Soccer League, playing for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Next up was a rather forgettable trip to Hong Kong in 1982 where he donned the jerseys of Sea Bee and the Hong Kong Rangers. Best failed to find the net on Asian soil and, with his tail between his legs, returned to England once again to link up with Bournemouth.

Without a goal in two years, Best decided to try his luck Down Under. He played four times for the Brisbane Lions without as much as a miaow and then moved on to Osborne Park Galeb where he bagged a perfect record. One game. One goal.

After making his debut for United at the age of 17, the Belfast boy played his final game back in his homeland with Tobermore United in 1984. 709 games, 253 goals, and some serious air miles later, Best put an end to his travels and hung up his boots.

Winner of the 1968 Ballon d’Or, George Best remains one of the most technically gifted players to ever grace the game. What people don’t know, however, is that he’s also one of the best travelled...

Thomas Davidson

Thomas Davidson

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