George Best memorabilia to go on display at £15m hotel in his name

A Northern Ireland football jersey signed by Sir Alex Ferguson will be among a range of George Best memorabilia on display at a new hotel.

The £15 million George Best Hotel Belfast opens this December.

The Manchester United legend’s sister and brother-in-law Barbara and Norman McNarry agreed to lend the memorabilia.

The collection will include a bespoke painting of Best; the Northern Ireland jersey signed by Sir Alex, Northern Irish broadcaster Eamonn Holmes, snooker champion Alex Higgins and many others; the first George Best Ulster Bank £5 note; pieces of his most famous clothing; his personal book collection; awards; diaries; trophies, and unseen photos.

George Best immortalised on commemorative bank note
George Best immortalised on commemorative bank note

The hotel’s general manager Damian Gilvary and head of sales Gareth Milligan travelled to a secret location to view the items and personal effects of the legendary player that will be on display.

Mr Gilvary said: “It was a very surreal and amazing experience to see all of these incredible items that Barbara and Norman have agreed to share with the hotel and guests.

“It was very overwhelming to meet the people who knew George so well and being able to discuss and touch George’s personal effects, possessions, clothes and diaries.

“This just merely enhances the exciting prospect and vision of what the George Best Hotel will be, simply the best.”

Mr Gilvary added: “George Best was the David Beckham of his day.

“Even back then he was a worldwide brand that defined the celebrity status of a footballer renowned for his good looks, sense of fashion and style.

Soccer – George Best
Soccer – George Best

“But most of all he left a legacy in football that will never be forgotten, even Pelé described him as ‘the greatest player in the world’.”

The £15 million project is a joint venture between Lawrence and Katie Kenwright’s Liverpool-based Signature Living Hotel Group and the family of George Best.

The group’s football-themed hotel portfolio includes the Shankly Hotel Liverpool – conceived as a tribute to former manager Bill Shankly, the £12 million development of the Dixie Dean Hotel Liverpool in tribute to Everton and England player Dixie Dean and the £15 million development of the Shankly Hotel in Preston, where he spent most of his playing career at Preston North End FC.