Thursday, 8 April 2010

WW2 Peoples War - Wartime Butcher's Boy-Folkestone

This is the 2nd part of Ivor Bail's wartime memoir. The 1st part, entitled "A Good Prospect" deals with his experience as an evacuee in Tintern.
These memoirs were typed by Fiona McNeill of the Folkestone Heritage Team and added to the site with the author's permission.

My return to my home at 88 Guildhall Street after evacuation to South Wales was brought about because I had reached the school leaving age of 14, and it was time to seek employment in Folkestone.
I had no idea what job I wanted to do, as opportunities were not great due to the wartime conditions existing in the town.
After some enquiries my mother found me a job with a local butcher who needed a delivery boy, and so it was I went to work for 'F.R. Hills Family Butcher', 31 Cheriton Road Telephone - 3436, for the weekly wage of twelve shillings and six pence (62.5p)
My job entailed delivering peoples' meat rations to their homes, mostly on Fridays and Saturdays. The meat ration being rather meagre it was only families who, using all their rations could expect a joint of meat for 'Sunday roast' a person living alone usually finished up with a small chump end of lamb.
Rations could be supplemented with liver or other items of offal, but this was always in short supply, sausages however were a food source more readily available. The sausages manufactured at 'Dick Hills' butcher shop and other butcher shops, due to shortages - contained a lot more rusk than meat, as opposed to today’s product containing more meat than rusk!
I was introduced to the art of sausage making, mixing meat trimmings rusk and seasoning, and operating a large mincer which needed turning by hand.
Meanwhile, all was not quiet in and around Folkestone, German aircraft made regular visits to town, flying in from France acros the Channel, keeeping low to the sea. Then suddenly swooping above the rooftops to drop their bombs on us. Often no air raid warnings sounded because the low and swift approach avoided prior detection.
These became known as 'Tip and Run' raids and it was believed the pilots were newly trained and sent across to gain experience on their first mission.
One morning in April, soon after the shop opened I witnessed my first 'Tip and Run' raid.
As I was arranging meat packages in my delivery basket, I heard the sound of air craft over head. Within seconds, several loud explosions occured.
Everyone in the shop ran to the doorway, and we could see a dense black, wide column of smoke incorporating red and orange tongues of flames, rising rapidly above the houses in the direction of the Foord Road area.
It wasn't long before we learned that the gas holder behind Bradstone Avenue in the 'Brickfields' was the seat of the fire, water escaping from the holder flooded people's houses in the avenue, regretfully one person was killed in this raid. It was a dramatic start to my days work!
Sundays saw me at Christ Church, singing in the choir along with other lads under the direction of the organist and Choir Master, Mr Jenner. I remained in the choir serving as Head Choir Boy until the fateful day on which the church suffered from one of the Lufftwaffe's 'Tip and Run' raids.
Sunday morning May 17th 1942, I was just setting out from home to attend church when the raiders swept in and dropped several bombs. After the explosions, the sky in the direction of Christ Church was filled with smoke and dust and hundreds of little white objects all fluttering in mid air. I didn't realise it at that moment but these were pages from the hymn and prayer books.
Reaching the church, I was confronted with a scene of grim devastation, the main body of the church was totally destroyed. Only the tower at the Western end was left standing.
Gravestones in the church yard having been uprooted, lay midst piles of rubble in the roads nearby, some hymn and prayer book pages still hung in the air above the ruins drifting gently along, never to be sung or prayed from again.
I met other members of the choir, and as we surveyed the dreadful scene we discussed how lucky it was the raiders visit did not come 20 minutes later, when the service would have been in progress and we and all the soldiers on church parade would have been inside.
Sadly the Verger Mrs Ansell, and an early worshiper lost their lives.
The tower has been preserved and remains as a monument on the site which is now a Garden of Remembrance". At the Eastern end of the garden an indentation in the lawn reminds me where the underground vestry we so often attended used to be.
The church services were transferred to Holy Trinity Church just up the road but were never quite the same for us choir boys.
Meanwhile, I was making steady progress in my role as butcher's boy learning a good deal about the trade and Mr Hills seemed well pleased, so pleased in fact that I decided having been in his employ about twelve months, I might be justified in seeking a rise for my efforts.
My request came as a bit of a shock to Mr. Hills and it took him two weeks before reaching a decision. After some deliberation with his wife, who managed the cash office, he awarded me a 2/- (10p) increase, bringing my wage to the princely sum of 14/6d (72.5p) per week - I went forth rejoicing!
I did not benefit from this wage increase for long because I was offered another job elsewhere and I left F.R. Hills to go to work at 'Worsells' the butchers No 3, The Old High Streeet Tel. - 3101.
'Worsells' was owned by the firm J. H. Dewhurst and my starting wage in their employ was a fabulous almost unbelievable 23 shillings (£1.15) per week. The manager Mr Arthur Matthews was a great boss and through his guidance and tuition I eventually reached the celebrated status of 'butcher's cutter'.
I learned, among other things, how to use the scales, which were balance scales, complete with highly polished brass weights. These ranged from 7lbs down to the tiny 0.5 ounce that hung on a piece of string to avoid loss. This little weight was flicked onto the scale pan using the attached string, just as the balance was on the turn consequently slightly increasing the price.
I also learnt butchers back slang, a away of conversing used in the trade in order to convey information on the shop floor without customers being aware of the topic.
The price of meat in those days was quite reasonable, leg of lamb 2d-3d per lb, though these were mostly boned out and used with pork to make sausage meat.
Talking of sausage meat reminds me of an embarrassing moment when I was sent to deliver 6lb of it to the Queens hotel just up the road.
On the delivery cycle where the basket fitted, were two wooden slats. Instead of using the basket for the short delivery I placed the sausage meat on these slats. Unfortunately, just as I approached the traffic lights at the top of the road they changed to red. Applying the brakes to slow down and stop caused my parcel to shoot forward onto the roadway and I neatly divided the contents into two separate 3 pounds of sausage meat having sliced it with the cycles front wheel.
Filled with dismay I hastily retrieved the damaged goods and continued the journey to the hotel. Descending the steps leading down to the kitchen, I made a half way stop in order to examine the two portions. Some sausage meat I discarded as it had suffered Dunlop tyre rash! Then uniting the two halves into 6 pound less about 3 ounces and roughly rewrapping the whole, I entered the kitchen trying my best to appear the innocent butcher’s lad. The chief Mr Sprenger greeted me with open arms as he desperately awaited this order. I returned to the shop bearing a feeling of guilt.
My delivery round took me about two miles out and around the Cheriton area of Folkestone, often through the duration of air raid warnings. But his didn't worry me a great deal as I subscribed to the general attitude existing at that time - 'If your names on it you'll get it where ever you are!'
The policy of J. H. Dewhurst during wartime was; goods must be paid for, cash on delivery, this rule to be strictly adhered to, and so I had to collect the money from every customer. Weekly or monthly accounts were no longer an option, just in case your name was on it, and you got it, and the firm didn't!
One Saturday afternoon, in August 1942 a number of enemy aircraft raided the town, dropping several bombs, one of which fell a few doors along the road from my home in Guildhall Street.
This bomb hit 'Funnels' Butcher shop and a dairy next door known as 'Gammons'. The dairyman Mr Fisher who was resting in the back room was unfortunately killed.
On the opposite side of the road 'Franklin’s' grocer shop suffered considerable damage. My mother, who worked in this shop, was at the time serving her own mother, they and others in the shop had a lucky escape but the luckiest escape of all was by a baby outside the shop in its pram. The blast from the bomb brought down the shops canvas blind, which enveloped the pram protecting the child from the flying glass and falling masonry.
Hearing the news I left my work place to visit the scene. Reaching my home, I found the front windows all smashed and, going inside, discovered my grandmother, the only occupant at the time busy clearing up the fallen kitchen ceiling. For a 92 year old she was coping very well, her comments on the situation and reference to 'Herr Hitler' I best not print!
On November 9th 1942 the enemy decided to operate their long range guns. Newly installed along the French coast, they opened fire about 8 pm. and bombarded the town causing considerable damage and casualties. Shells fell in the lower part of the town and around the harbour some exploding in mid air. This part of town became known locally as 'The Shelling Area'.
Shelling of Dover and Folkestone became a regular occurrence. Gun duels took place between our long range guns at St Margaret’s at Cliff and the Germans in the Calais area.
Once an engagement started it was impossible to know when it might finish. Even though there were 'shelling warnings' activated when the first shell landed, and the 'all clear' sounding if nothing fell after one hour.
The German gunnery officer was obviously wise to this procedure, and would fire another shell after about 1 hour 15 mins. So a lethal game of cat and mouse developed, similar to a heated argument when each person seeks the last word, except this was who fires the last shell.
Eventually, after the 'D Day' invasion by the allies, our troops overran the gun emplacements situated on the French coast, the enemy gun crews did their best to fire off their stock of shells before capture. Dover and Folkestone bore the brunt of this action.
The shelling on this final occasion started in the early hours of the morning and I was awakened by the first explosion but remained in bed, our dog 'Monty' took cover with me under my blanket. We were not to stay like this for long because a shell landed in the grounds of the clinic (Old Harvey Grammar School) next to our back garden. It demolished our large garden shed. At the same time, blast from the shell blew out my bedroom window depositing glass over the bed and into the room. 'Monty' fled, and I decided I ought to get up. I left my bed just in time to the sound of a second shell, which fell in almost the same crater caused by the first. Blast from this one, blew the complete window frame out of its setting and onto the bed, plus dirt dust and masonry.
I went downstairs to join my parents and sister and we all retreated to a large cupboard under the stairs, as this was considered to be the safest place in any house.
The shelling continued until first light and extensive damage was caused around the town. 88 Guildhall street suffered damage to the rear of the house, also ceilings inside came down.
Our neighbours next door, Mr and Mrs Saunders, inspecting damage to their property discovered a piece of shrapnel embedded in the walnut veneer on the front of their much cherished radiogram. They left it in place as a souvenir from 'Jerry'.
The next day Wednesday (D-Day + one in military terms) in the afternoon after work, I visited the seafront. Standing on the Leas promenade and looking across the Channel I beheld a most impressive sight.
Far out at sea were two aircraft flying parallel to the French coast, each in turn laying down a thick smoke screen. Close to our shoreline, a huge convoy of ships was underway. As far as the eye could see in either direction, there were cargo ships, escorted by warships, three and four abreast, many of these vessels flying barrage balloons.
This was a wartime scene of historic importance which I will never forget.
Having endured bombing and shelling up to this stage in the War, Folkestone now looked very much in a knocked about condition, with bomb sites and shell damage all over town. Adding to this the fact that many businesses had closed and moved when invasion threatened, leaving their premises boarded up, the picture was rather bleak to say the least.
However, in spite of the situation the townsfolk remained steadfast, and spirits stayed high.
There were many troops of all nationalities stationed in the town, the Navy had headquarters in the Royal Pavilion and Princess Hotels known as 'H M. S Allenby' under the command of Vice Admiral Round Turner. The Army, with British and American troops, occupied other hotels and houses vacated by the greatly reduced civilian population.
Two doors from my workplace at 'Worsells' above 'Burtons' the tailors the Americans ran a club for their troops entitled 'Do Nut Dug Out.' We supplied them with sausages and in return sampled their delicious 'Dough Nuts'.
On top of Burton's roof a group of our soldiers manned a machine gun, its purpose to shoot down low flying raiders. Although they fired once or twice, they never managed to fulfil their purpose, maybe other emplacements had more success.
Late one evening when I was at home, the air raid sirens sounded a warning, and plenty of activity soon took place.
Anti aircraft fire from guns on the hills and search lights sweeping the sky, caused my sister and I to go and observe events from her bedroom window at the top of our house, where we had a good view towards the hills behind the town. We saw what we thought were enemy aircraft under fire, and receiving direct hits setting them on fire. We assumed they were bombers heading for targets in land.
Next morning, the radio and newspaper gave vivid accounts to explain the nights action. What we had witnessed was the first attack by Hitlers V1 (Vengence One) pilotless planes, not only pilotless but minus a propeller to draw them along.
Their means of propulsion was a crude jet engine bolted to the rear of the fuselage, flames spurted from this unit and misled us when watching into believing our gunners had scored hits.
These weapons carried a nasty lethal pay load of explosives and were intended for London. When reaching the city, the engine would cut out due to fuel starvation, resulting in a descent to ground, sometimes in an acrobatic fashion, ending with a terrific explosion causing damage and destruction in all directions.
This travelling bomb became known as 'Fly Bomb', 'Buzz Bomb' or more popularly the 'Doodlebug'.
Although aimed at, and intended for London, hundreds were shot down overland and into the sea along the coast, particularly in the Folkestone area.
The 'V1' was followed later by the 'V2' a rocket propelled bomb also directed towards London. Having greater accuracy than the 'Doodle Bug'. Fortunately for us, Folkestone never received any, the nearest falling in the Maidstone area.
One afternoon I was on the Leas with a friend when approaching 'Doodlebugs' came under fire from American Anti-Aircraft guns and British 'Bofor’s’ guns.
We watched as the V1s flew into a box barrage, the air being peppered with bursting shells, shrapnel from the shells appeared to float down like feathers and land with a tinkley sound all around us. We took cover under the Leas Cliff Hall Balcony because we knew this red hot metal could give us nasty injuries.
As the barrage continued, the V1's flew through it and went on their way unscathed. Shells from 'Bofor's' guns had little effect on this aircraft, but American shells with higher explosive often scored direct hits bringing many down, mostly in the sea. Unfortunately, some American shells missing their target failed to detonate, returning to earth unexploded. One such shell from this barrage hurtled back, landing with a whooshing noise close to one of the gun emplacements. Burying itself deep in the lawn leaving a neat round hole marking its entry. As far as I know it remains to this day in the area of the Leas Bandstand.
My experiences as a working lad during these War years included many unpleasant events, too numerous to mention, unless writing a book, but I have put down some of the more outstanding in this short account.
At last, on May 28th 1945, hostilities came to an end, the day to be named V.E. Day (Victory in Europe.) Great celebrations took place, especially in the evening when troops and civilians gathered on the Leas. The Leas Cliff Hall was soon packed to capacity and the doors shut, but enterprising para troops secured a rope over the balcony and many more entered the hall by means of the rope, making the hall packed to over capacity.
High spirits in this rejoicing crowd led to cups, saucers, glasses and even seats being thrown over the balcony onto the lower seafront as everyone went wild.
Bonfires were lit along the Leas Promenade, bench seats and anything wooden were used to fuel them.
Returning home with friends, we picked up a life size effigy of 'Adolf Hitler' which I had constructed earlier in the day. We conveyed the 'Fuhrer' through the streets to the Leas and cast him onto the biggest of the bonfires there.
Huge cheers filled the smokey night air as the defeated dictator burned.
On August the 14th 1945 the Japanese in the Far East War surrendered.
This was as a result of an Atomic bomb the Americans dropped on the city of 'Nagasaki' on August 8th causing catastrophic destruction as great as the first Atomic bomb dropped two days before on 'Hiroshima'.
The 15th of August was declared 'V.J. Day (Victory in Japan) and once again the whole country celebrated.
Having survived these momentous Wartime events I had reached the age of 17.5 years which meant I was approaching 'Call Up' into the armed forces.
I decided to join the Navy in preference to waiting to be conscripted in to the Army, or possibly being selected as a 'Bevan Boy' (conscription into the coal mines) when I reached 18 years.
As it turned out, the Navy had no vacancies, but vacancies existed in 'The Royal Marines,' an important part of the 'Royal Navy'.
I applied and passed the necessary tests and medical for H.M. Royal Marines. On October 2nd 1945 I travelled to London and reported for final enlistment at 'Alhambra House' in Charing Cross Road.
The Manager of ‘Worsells’ (J H Dewhurst) at the end of the War, left to open his own butchers shop in Hythe which became a well known and successful business, before leaving he wrote me the following reference dated 12th September 1945;
[Telephone No 3101 3, High Street Folkestone, 12/9/1945W. Worsell Family ButcherProprietors: J.H. Dewhurst LtdPickled TonguesScotch and Southdown MuttonEnglish and Scotch BeefFamilies supplied with the very best quality on the most reasonable terms]
Ivor Bail has been employed by me during the past three years, during which time I have found him to be an honest, sober, willing and industrious worker, his character is of the highest integrity and his success in life regarded as certain. Arthur H Matthews (Manager).

Kent Libraries-Shepway District
Peoples War

I Guess The Sleigh Broke Down


Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.
The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy (divination).
Scotland, Ireland, and England have produced a number of practitioners and authors on the subject, and English potteries have crafted many beautiful tea cup sets specially designed and decorated to aid in fortune-telling. Cultures of the Middle East that practice divination in this fashion usually use left-over coffee grounds from Turkish coffee turned over onto a plate.
Method of tea-leaf reading
The Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Fifth Edition, Vol. 2 edited by J. Gordon Melton, notes:
After a cup of tea has been poured, without using a tea strainer, the tea is drunk or poured away. The cup should then be shaken well and any remaining liquid drained off in the saucer. The diviner now looks at the pattern of tea leaves in the cup and allows the imagination to play around the shapes suggested by them. They might look like a letter, a heart shape, or a ring. These shapes are then interpreted intuitively or by means of a fairly standard system of symbolism, such as: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey of hindrance), or house (change, success).
Melton's described methods of pouring away the tea and shaking the cup are rarely seen; most readers ask the querent to drink the tea off, then swirl the cup. Likewise, his notion that readers give intuitive interpretations reflects his unfamiliarity with teacup reading; most readers use the standard symbols that have been handed down through several generations. There are, however, many who prefer to read by feel and intuition, as stated by Melton.
It is traditional to read a cup from the present to the future by starting along the rim at the handle of the cup and following the symbols downward in a spiral manner, until the bottom is reached, which symbolizes the far future. Most readers see images only in the dark tea leaves against a white or neutral background; some will also read the reverse images formed by seeing the symbols that form in the white negative spaces, with a clump of dark leaves forming the background.
Some people consider it ill-advised for one to attempt tasseography using tea from a cut-open tea bag or to use a symbol dictionary. The reasons for these prohibitions are practical: tea-bag tea is cut too finely to form recognizable figures in the cup and tea-leaf reading has its own historic system of symbolism that does not correspond exacty with other systems, such as symbolic dream divination.
Fortune telling tea cups
Although many people prefer a simple white cup for tea leaf reading, there are also traditions concerning the positional placement of the leaves in the cup, and some find it easier to work with marked cups. Beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the present, English and American potteries have produced specially decorated cup and saucer sets for the use of tea-leaf readers. Many of these designs are patented and come with instructions explaining their mode of use. Some of the most common were those that were given away with purchases of bulk tea.
There are dozens of individual designs of fortune tellers' cups, but the three most common types are zodiac cups, playing card cups, and symbol cups.
Zodiac cups
These sets contain zodiacal and planetary symbols. Typically the interior of the cup contains the planetary symbols, while the saucer has the astrological sign symbols, but there are many variations and exceptions to this common pattern. The placement of these symbols allows the reader to combine astrology with tasseography.
Playing card cups
These cups carry within their interiors tiny images of a deck of scattered cards, either 52 cards plus a joker, as in a poker deck, or 32 cards, as in a euchre deck. Some sets also have a few cards imprinted on the saucers, or the saucers may contain brief written card interpretations. The playing cards permit the reader to creatively relate cartomancy to tasseography.
Symbol cups
These sets are decorated with between a dozen and fifty of the most common visual cues that can be found in tea leaves, often numbered for easy reference and supplied with an explanatory booklet. The symbols are generally displayed inside the cups, but there are also sets in which they decorate the outside or appear in the cups and on the saucers.
Coffee reading
Traditionally, coffee readers use Turkish coffee, or any coffee that has grinds that sit at the bottom of the cup. Most of the liquid in the coffee is drunk, but the sediment at the bottom is left behind. It is often believed that the drinker of the coffee should not read their own cup.
There are at least two forms of coffee reading. Both require that the cup be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. Some traditions, such as in Romania, require that the sediments in the cup be swirled around the inside of the cup until they cover the majority of the cup's inside surface. Other traditions, such as Turkish and Middle Eastern, do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards yourself for showing your own fortune. The coffee grounds are given time to settle and dry against the cup before a reading begins.
Many interpretations for symbols exist, but one common thread is the color of the symbols. Since most cups used are white or ivory and the grounds are dark, strong contrast exists for the symbols. White is considered a "good" symbol foretelling of generally positive things for the drinker, while the grounds themselves are considered to form "bad" symbols.
Symbols can be many things, including people, animals, and inanimate objects. Usually, the fortune teller will group nearby symbols together for a prediction.
After a reading, the drinker will be asked to "open the heart". This is done by placing the right thumb at the inside bottom of the cup and twisting clockwise slightly. This will leave an impression behind that the fortune teller will interpret as the drinker's inner thoughts or emotions.
Some symbols and their meanings include:
achieving knowledge, completing school, getting diploma
Flying birds
good news
a deceitful friend or relative
loyal friend or relative
wishes will come true
death or bad news
In 2007, a coffee-reading fortune teller from Israel was charged with practicing magic, a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. The fortune teller in question was acquitted of the charges after the Israeli Gov. deemed it too hard to prove she was knowingly 'faking it'.

The New Uri Geller? Yeah Right!

The Legend That Was George Best

George Best (22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005) was a Northern Irish professional football player, best known for his years with Manchester United. He was a winger whose game combined pace, acceleration, balance, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to beat defenders. In 1968, his annus mirabilis, he won the European Cup with Manchester United, and was named the European Footballer of the Year. When fit, he was an automatic choice for the Northern Ireland team, but he was unable to lead them to the World Cup qualification, despite being capped 37 times and scoring nine goals.
In 1999, he was voted 11th at the IFFHS European Player of the Century election, and 16th in the World Player of the Century election. Pele named him as one of the 125 best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list and Best was named 19th, behind Gerd Muller, at the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. In his native Northern Ireland, the admiration for him is summed up by the local saying: "Maradona good; Pele better; George Best."
He was one of the first celebrity footballers, but his extravagant lifestyle led to problems with alcoholism which curtailed his playing career and eventually led to his death in November 2005 at the age of 59. His cause of death was multiple organ failure brought on by a kidney infection, a side-effect of the immuno-suppressive drugs he was required to take after a liver transplant. In 2007, GQ named him as one of the 50 most stylish men of the past 50 years.

Early years and family
George Best was the first child of Dickie Best (1920-2008) and Anne Best (née Withers) (1923-1978), and grew up in Cregagh, Belfast. Best had four sisters, Carol, Barbara, Julie and Grace, and a brother, Ian. Best's father Dickie died on 16 April 2008, in the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Northern Ireland. He had been admitted to hospital four weeks earlier. Best's mother Anne died from an alcoholism-related illness in 1978, aged 55.
In 1957, at the age of 11, the academically gifted Best won a scholarship to Grosvenor High
School, but he soon played truant as the school specialised in rugby. Best then moved to Lisnasharragh Secondary School, reuniting him with friends from primary school and allowing him to focus on football.

Club career
Manchester United (1963-1974)
At the age of 15, Best was discovered in Belfast by Manchester United scout Bob Bishop, whose telegram to United manager Matt Busby read: "I think I've found you a genius." His local club Glentoran had previously rejected him for being "too small and light". Best was subsequently given a trial and signed up by chief scout Joe Armstrong.
Best made his Manchester United debut, aged 17, on 14 September 1963 against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford in a 1-0 victory. He was too young to contend for a first team place for much of the first half of the season. His second appearance came on 28 December against Burnley. This First Division match saw Best's first goal for United in a 5 - 1 win. Matt Busby used Best much more after the New Year and by the end of the season, Best had made 26 appearances, scoring six goals. Manchester United finished second, four points behind Liverpool.
In his second season, Best and Manchester United claimed the league title.
Best hit the headlines at the age of twenty when he scored two goals in a European Cup quarter-final match against Benfica in 1966, and his long hair prompted the Portuguese press to dub him "El Beatle".
Best's talent and showmanship made him a crowd and media favourite. Called "the fifth Beatle", for his long hair, good looks and extravagant celebrity lifestyle, he even appeared on Top of the Pops in 196
5. Other nicknames included the "Belfast Boy" and he was often referred to as Georgie, or Geordie in his native Belfast. (Pictured left: The Cregagh Estate honoured George Best by unveilling a mural on what would have been his 60th birthday).
The 1966-67 season was again successful, as Manchester United claimed the league title by four points. The following season, Best became a European Cup winner after scoring in the final against Benfica. United won 4-1 and Best was later crowned European Footballer of the Year and Football Writers' Association Player of the Year. After this, his steady decline began.
Best opened two nightclubs in Manchester, in the late 1960s, Oscar's and the other called Slack Alice's (which later became 42nd Street Nightclub). He also owned fashion boutiques, in partnership with Mike Summerbee of Manchester City. However, he developed problems with gambling, womanising and alcoholism.
Best played at United when shirt numbers were assigned to positions, in the traditional English way, and not the player. When Best played at right wing, as he famously did during the later stages of the 1966 and 1968 European Cups, he donned the number 7. As a left winger, where he played exclusively in his debut season and nearly all of the 1971-72, he wore the number 11. Best wore the number 8 shirt at inside right on occasion throughout the 1960s, but for more than half of his matches during 1970-71. He was playing at inside left (wearing the number 10) in 1972 when he famously walked out on United the first time but was back in the number 11 for the autumn of 1973 before leaving for good. Best even wore the number 9 jersey once for United, with Bobby Charlton injured, on 22 March 1969 at Old Trafford, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Sheffield wednesday..
In 1974, aged 27, Best quit United for good. His last competitive game for the club was on 1 January 1974 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. In total Best made 470 appearances for Manchester United in all competitions from 1963 to 1974, and scored 179 goals (including six in one game against fourth division Northampton Town). He was the club's top scorer for six consecutive seasons, and was the First Division's top scorer in the 1967-68 season. Over the next decade he went into an increasingly rapid decline, drifting between several clubs, including spells in South Africa, Ireland, America, Scotland, and Australia.

Jewish Guild (1974)
Playing only five competitive matches for Jewish Guild in South Africa, Best endured criticism for missing several training sessions. During his short time there, he was the main draw attracting thousands of spectators to the matches.
Fulham (1976-1977)
Best had a brief resurgence in form with Fulham in 1976-77, showing that, although he had lost some of his pace, he retained his skills. His time with the Cottagers is particularly remembered for an FA Cup game against second division outfit Hereford United in which he tackled his former teammate, and old drinking mate, Rodney Marsh. Best stated later in life that he enjoyed his time most while at Fulham, despite not winning any honours.
United States (1976-79)
Best played for three clubs in the United States: Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Laurderdale Strikers and later San Jose Earthquakes; he also played for the Detroit Express on a European tour. Best revelled in the anonymity America afforded him after England and was a success on the field, too, scoring 15 goals in 24 games in his first season with the Aztecs and named as the NASL's best midfielder in his second. He and manager Ken Adam opened "Bestie's Beach Club" (now called "The Underground" after the London subway system) in Hermosa Beach, California in the 1970s, and continued to operate it until the 1990s.
Hibernian (1979-81)
Best caused a stir in when he returned to the UK to play for Scottish club Hibernian. Hibs, who were suffering a decline in fortunes and were heading for relegation from the Premier Division, signed Best on a "pay per play" basis after the club chairman, Tom Hart, received a tip-off from an Edinburgh Evening News reporter that he was available. Even though Best failed to save Hibs from relegation, gates increased dramatically, as Hibs' attendance quadrupled for his first match at Easter Road. One infamous incident saw Best initially sacked by Hibs after he went on a massive drinking session with the French rugby team, who were in Edinburgh to play Scotland. He was brought back a week later.
Best returned to the USA to play for San Jose Earthquakes in what was officially described as a 'loan', though he only managed a handful of appearances for Hibs in the First Division in the following season. He returned one last time to Easter Road in 1984, for jackie McNamara's testimonial match against Newcastle. In his third season in the States, Best scored only once in 12 appearances. His moves to Fort Lauderdale and San Jose were also unhappy, as his off-field demons began to take control of his life again. After failing to agree terms with Bolton
Wanderers in 1981, he was invited as a guest player and played three matches for two Hong Kong First Division teams (Sea Bees and Rangers) in 1982.
Bournemouth (1982-1983)
In late 1982, Bournemouth manager Don Megson signed the 36-year-old Best for the Football League Third Division side, and he remained there until the end of the season, when he finally retired from football at the age of 37. The following season Malcolm Allison apparently persuaded him to sign for Middlesborough but he never made a League appearance for them.
Brisbane Lions (1983-1984)
Best played in a friendly for Newry Town F.C
. against Shamrock Rovers F.C.. in August 1983 before ending his professional career exactly 20 years after joining Manchester United with a brief four match stint playing for the Brisbane Lions in the Australian national Soccer League during the 1983/84 season.
Testimonial (1988)
On 8 August 1988, a testimonial match was held for Best at Windsor Park. Among the crowd were Sir Matt Busby and Bob Bishop, the scout who discovered Best, while those playing included Ossie Ardiles, Pat Jennings and Liam Brady. Best scored twice, one goal from outside the box, the other from the penalty spot.

International career
He was capped 37 times for Northern Ireland, scoring nine goals. Of his nine international goals four were scored against Cyprus and one each against Albania, England, Scotland, Switzerland and Turkey.
On 15 May 1971, Best scored possibly the most famous "goal" of his career at Windsor Park in Belfast
t against England. As Gordon Banks, the English goalkeeper, released the ball in the air in order to kick the ball downfield, Best managed to kick the ball first, which sent the ball high over their heads and heading towards the open goal. Best outpaced Banks and headed the ball into the empty goal, but the goal was disallowed by referee Alistair Mackenzie.
Best continued to be selected for Northern Ireland throughout the 1970s, despite his fluctuating form and off pitch problems. There were still glimpses of his genius; in 1976, Northern Ireland were drawn against Holland in Rotterdam as one of their group qualifying matches for the 1978
FIFA World Cup. Holland - midway between successive World Cup final appearances - and Johan Cruyff were at their peak at the time. Five minutes into the game Best received the ball wide on the left. Instead of heading towards goal he turned directly infield, weaved his way past at least three Dutchmen and found his way to Cruyff who was wide right. Best took the ball to his opponent, dipped a shoulder twice and slipped it between Cruyff's feet - nutmegging arguably the best player in the world at that time.
Best was considered briefly by manager Billy BIngham for the 1982 World Cup. However, at 36 and with his football skills dulled by age and drink, he was not selected in the Northern Ireland squad.