Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Belfast honors soccer great with Best Airport

AP , BELFAST

The late soccer legend George Best's sister, Barbara McNarry, and father, Dickie, attend the renaming of Belfast City Airport to the George Best Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland on Monday. The decision to rename the airport followed discussions with the legendary Northern Irish soccer player's family. The airport serves 18 destinations and was used by 2.2 million passengers last year.

PHOTO: AP

Belfast City Airport was on Monday renamed in honor of George Best, the city's most famous soccer star, on what would have been his 60th birthday.

Best's father, Dickie, officially unveiled the new entrance sign identifying George Best Belfast City Airport -- although workmen had to spend about 15 minutes cutting loose the tightly attached cover.

Best, who joined Manchester United at age 17, led the team to the 1968 Champions Cup and was named European Player of the Year. Graced with charm and good looks, he became one of soccer's first international superstars.

He died Nov. 25, three years after receiving a liver transplant, and received a state-style funeral in Belfast a week later.

About 200 people attended the airport ceremony, among them Best's sister Barbara McNarra, who said all the Bests were "delighted that the airport, situated close to the family home in east Belfast, will now act as a permanent memorial to honor George."

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