What The Papers Said
"Manchester's rain extinguished the candles lit in the shrine to George Best on Sir Matt Busby Way, soaking all the scarves and shirts left in tribute, even staining cards with their inky scribbles, but it couldn't wash away the memories of those gathered in the cathedral of Old Trafford last night. As the rain finally ceased, as the tears rolled down the faces of fans and former players, as a haunting hush fell across the arena Best once filled with cheers, one club stood united in their grief for a legend."
Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph
Five days after his tragic death, George Best was given a haunting send-off by a tearful Old Trafford on 30 November 2005...
The Background: "Maradona good. Pele better. George Best," goes the saying. Regularly acknowledged as the greatest player ever to pull on a United shirt, the Northern Irish winger characterised the Reds' swagger and flamboyance and captured the imagination of supporters around the globe, regardless of allegiance or generation, during his 11-year United career. A football maverick with an uncontrollable joie de vivre, George died aged 59 on 25 November 2005 after illness derived from drink-related issues. Over the following days, football supporters across the country paid tribute with rousing applause before matches, including United's 2-1 win at West Ham, but Old Trafford reserved a suitably sombre show for hosting its first game after Best's tragically premature passing.
The Occasion: Within minutes of George's death, shirts, scarves and flowers adorned Old Trafford's forecourt in a catalogue of respect. By matchday, scores of tributes lay soaked by the December snow and rain. The spectacle's poignancy was further heightened by the opposition - West Brom, against whom Best had made his eye-catching debut in 1963. In the subplot of